Our preoccupation with beauty is an international obsession, but how we define beauty across the globe couldn’t be more different. In an effort to break down beauty barriers, we're taking a look at what being "beautiful" means at home – and beyond our borders.
The Western View
In the West, popular consensus, and a quick flip through Vogue, will tell you that the majority still values the aesthetic of a tall, slender but busty woman with delicate features. To top off this already intimidating list: a small waist paired atop a perky bum. Unrealistic to the majority of "real women" as it may seem, these are some of the most sought after traits for women in Western culture.
In France, jolie laide is the motto, loosely translated to describe unconventional beauty. Here, those distinct and quirky physical traits that you work so hard to conceal are exactly what French women find most appealing.
The Korean Way
One of the most coveted traits in Korea is their much sought-after porcelain skin. Long admired by women across the globe, the market for Korean skin care and face masks products has surged dramatically in recent years in a bid for women of the West to combat aging and achieve that perfect complexion.
Present-day standards of beauty in India have taken a turn towards Western ideals, now putting pressure on women to lighten their skin and slim down in a bid to hold court with the women of the West. One of the most enviable traits of the modern-day Indian woman is their lustrous hair. One of the most commonly used tricks of the trade Indian woman uses to maintain their trademark locks is none other than coconut oil.
Brazilian and South American Standard
In Brazil, beauty has a lot to do with what’s going on down south. Large breasts and a waif-like figure are less of a concern than a toned and curvy bottom half. Thicker, more muscular legs and hips are the focus here, with particular attention being paid to, the booty. Here, if exercise and diet won’t cut it, many women are willing to go under the knife for implants designed to perk up those trademarks South American assets. According to beauty enthusiasts from PassionRoamer, beyond the physical, Brazilian women are notorious for their free-spiritedness. Beauty is more than just an outward appearance. Despite the work that goes into those enviable beach bodies, there’s something inherently confident about these South American stunners.
No Rest for the Russians
Never caught on a "sweats" day and seemingly dripping with sexuality, Russian women may have coined the phrase "more is more."Contrary to the French, Russian women see more value in putting added effort (and funds) into their appearance.
Over in Thailand
The pursuit of perfection in Thailand is no laughing matter and many women have paid the ultimate price in their quest for beauty. The ideal Thai woman is in almost comical contrast to the natural traits so many local women are born with. The value here is placed on pale skin, a narrow frame and pronounced eyes and nose. One valuable and attainable, beauty regimen to take away from Thailand is their emphasis on protecting their skin from the sun. While their motivations may have more to do with maintaining a lighter complexion than sparing themselves from harmful rays, there’s no denying the benefits of always seeking out skin care products that boast SPF all year 'round.
Some rituals of beauty have more to do with tradition than anything else. As in the case among the Kayan tribe of Burma, where, from early childhood, women stack brass coils around their neck for the illusion of length. Over time, as coils are added, the shoulders are pushed down and the neck is in fact lengthened, something that is seen as a tool to attract men of the tribe.
Contrary to Western pressures, many African countries such as Mauritania and Nigeria view overweight women as the most sought after, while the slimmer few are considered undesirable and encouraged to gain weight. Try giving yourself a pass every now and then and indulging in whatever it is you’re craving.
No matter your culture or where you come from, remember that what makes a woman especially beautiful and attractive is her ability to be her unique and special self. No man can resist a woman who is comfortable and confident in her own skin, so embrace who you are, both inside and out, and your place in the world.