Beautiful. Beauty. To be beautiful. All of these are rather loaded terms. Many of us may think beauty standards have developed over recent years due to the modern-day social pressure to live up to them. However, beauty standards have always existed, though they've gone through many changes and developments over the centuries.
On September 9th, we celebrate International Beauty Day, or as some people may call it: the day of beauty. It's the perfect time to explore what is considered beautiful in different countries and cultures around the world.
“Surviving texts, artifacts, and images from Ancient Egypt showcases the immense amount of time and effort women invested toward the perfection of their bodies.”Watterson, 1991
What is beauty? To be considered beautiful, a person needs to have certain physical characteristics that society considers attractive.
Some of these beauty standards are in line with each other across the world, while others vary by region and culture. For example, it's pretty much a universal truth that a woman is considered more beautiful if she has a supermodel-like appearance: long, dark hair, a slender body, symmetrical features, and a flawless complexion.
Beauty standards have changed over the years, and at different times and in various cultures. In the Western world, people who are not white were once considered to be 'invisible'. There was a time when only pale-skinned women captured the attention of men. The general standard of beauty throughout history has been to have light skin and a small nose. This is a very long-standing standard that has permeated many countries including India, China, Egypt, Iran, and Greece.
In different cultures, it's also been considered attractive to have big eyes, bright lips, a high forehead, a straight nose bridge, a small chin or jawline, a round face shape, and an hourglass figure.
International Beauty Day reminds us that we are all uniquely beautiful and that we should celebrate this.
Beauty standards around the world have changed over time, but are there any that are especially influenced by Western culture?
Yes. The beauty ideal that has resulted from the need to look tanner and tauter is sweeping through different countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Asian adults are increasingly undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures to meet the beauty standard that reflects their cultural background, as well as the influence of Western culture. In Japan, for example, a high nose bridge and high cheekbones are considered attractive facial features, but many Japanese women have undergone a procedure to make them look more Caucasian.
In Thailand, young people who want plastic surgery procedures to look like Caucasians usually get double eyelid surgery, which is merely a cosmetic procedure to create a crease above the eyelid. This can be done in one hour, and results appear immediately, changing a person's entire expression.
In Korea, a small jawline is considered attractive because it represents youth, innocence, and beauty. To get this look without going under the knife, people have been getting their jawbones shaved since 2012.
“Children as young as 6 to 9 years old express body dissatisfaction and concerns about their weight.”.Flannery-Schroeder & Chrisler, 1996; Schur, Sanders & Steiner, 2000; Smolak & Levine, 1994
International Beauty Day matters because it reminds us that beauty standards vary around the world, and so do the procedures people use to alter their appearance. It gives people some perspective on what is considered beautiful in different countries and cultures, which can improve self-esteem and may even help with body image issues.
On International Beauty Day, it's important to stop and think about the beauty standard that has affected you most. For example, have you ever altered your appearance so that it reflected what is considered beautiful in your society? Have you changed your hair color or style, worn certain kinds of makeup, lost weight, exercised more regularly to achieve a certain body shape, or undergo plastic surgery?
On International Beauty Day, it's important to take some time to appreciate all types of beauty. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, but there are different ways of looking beautiful around the world. One isn't better than another; all that matters is that people feel good about themselves and love who they are!
We hope you enjoyed this article, and we also hope that you'll share it with your family and friends.