Page through any American women's magazine and you'll see what is considered "beautiful," at least by western standards. Tall and slim or curvy in all the "right" places. Sure, different images of women are now being embraced slightly more than before, but for the most part, there's a specific look that is coveted and we all know how to spot it.
But travel the world and this western "ideal" is far from what's considered a sign of attractiveness in other countries and cultures. Most Americans would not only find these standards of beauty odd, but probably the opposite of what they'd considered beautiful.
Take a peek at some of the more surprising beauty standards from different cultures. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but at what cost?
"Plus-size" bodies are certainly coveted by many here in the western world, but Mauritanian women of Western Africa take the pound-packing to the extreme. As per Cosmopolitan, Mauritanian women are "lauded for gaining weight." Young girls are sent to camps and are force-fed 15,000/day in order for them to get fatter. Why? A larger women is seen as a status symbol for men. That figures.
As per Total Beauty, "In various parts of Asia, pale, white skin is revered as a sign of affluence and attractiveness." Women walk the streets holding parasols over their heads and skincare products more often than not contain bleaching properties. That's a far cry from the coveted golden tans sought after in much of the western world.
Rhinoplasty (nose jobs) are no big deal for Americans, but you'd be surprised to find a recently chiseled gal walking up Rodeo Drive proudly donning her surgical bandage. But in Iran, nose jobs are very common – as per Total Beauty, "Iran is actually the rhinoplasty capital of the world." Women and men alike proudly wear their nose job bandages in public as a sign of wealth and social status.
According to Guiddoo, "Worn in the lower lip, the clay lip plate is the defining image of women across the Mursi and Surma tribes in Africa. Over time, once girls hit puberty, their lower lip is stretched and the lip plate increases in size. In fact, the girl's two lower front teeth are removed in order to accommodate the plates. The larger the lip and plate, the more beautiful the woman is considered to be. Western lip injections and plumping glosses are a far cry from this lip-altering practice.
Do you consider any of these beauty standards to be beautiful in your eyes? Think about them the next time you watch America's Next Top Model or tune into the Miss America pageant.