Most of us think of leggy supermodels with shiny hair and perfectly perky breasts when someone asks us “What does a beautiful woman look like?” Turns out though, around the world every culture and country has a different idea of what beautiful really means.
From crooked teeth to stretched earlobes here are just a few of the wacky and wonderful ways the world sees beauty.
While you might have seen images of the infamous Maasai tribe of Kenya because of their extremely stretched earlobes, you probably didn’t realize it was considered extremely attractive.
For the Maasai men and women, the more stretched the better! It is a symbol of power and strength and also indicates how long that person has been part of the tribe for. That sure is a stretch just to look beautiful!
The Kayan Women of Thailand have become somewhat world famous after images of their elongated necks surfaced. It might seem strange to an outsider but these women pride themselves on how many brass rings they have around their necks.
From the age of five they start training their backs and shoulders for a lifetime of wearing rings that can weigh up to 25 pounds. In this culture, a stretched neck is truly a symbol of femininity and beauty. And Americans complain about Spanx being too tight?
Much like the tribes in Kenya, lip plates are an ancient and revered tradition in the Amazon. Once a woman hits puberty she enters into a somewhat scary world of lip plates, once her bottom two teeth are removed to make way for the plate she will then spend the rest of her life increasing the size of the plate.
Much like the booty in The United States, the bigger the plate the more desirable the woman is. They say beauty is pain right?
Even though the practice of foot binding was banned by the Chinese government in 1912, the lasting effects of it still haven’t yet worn off. For centuries little girls as young as five were forced to have their toes bent underneath their feet and bound so that their feet would stay child-like.
It was a symbol of wealth and also meant you couldn’t work so obviously you had money. So, if you were poor and had to work on your feet all day, sorry you’re not beautiful in Imperialist China.
While most families in the United States and other Western cultures spend thousands on braces each year to try and achieve a picture perfect smile, a new craze has swept across Japan that encourages people to have crooked teeth. The more snaggle tooth the better!
Yaeba is the process of adding on caps to your teeth to make them appear to be doubled up, apparently it makes women look more youthful and cute which to the Japanese is beauty.
Staying in Japan for a moment, the Gyaru look is another puzzling trend that has reached peak popularity in Tokyo.
Somewhere between Brigette Bardot and a Barbie doll the Gyaru look focuses on big blonde wigs, fake eyelashes and false tan. Sounds like any average California girl doesn’t it?
We have Kim Kardashian and Beyonce to thank for this one. Unless you are living in a cave somewhere you have probably seen the rise of the big booty phenomenon.
While in the 90’s the waif like figure was admired, today the bigger the bum the better. From implants, padded underwear and even injecting silicone into the cheeks, it really is incredible how far some will go just to have the perfect bum.
While the rest of the world cakes on so much make up you can’t even see a single pore, French women choose instead to embrace their natural appearance. They tend to steer clear of heavy eye make-up and spend their money on creams, serums and lotions to help their skin stay youthful and clear.
While it might sound insane if you live in the States, French women aim to look as subtle and natural as possible, even going to great lengths to let their body hair grow. Oui Oui in need!
Feeling beautiful is all about working to your strengths and down playing your not so great points. So, if you can only show off your eyes you better make them pop, right?
That is exactly what women in Saudi Arabia do. Enhancing their eyes with thick black eye liner and mascara means that even when they are covered up, they still feel beautiful.
Iran has recently been named the rhinoplasty capital of the world with a staggering number of young women opting to alter their noses to something more western. It has become such a sought after procedure that some women are actually leaving the bandages on after surgery to show off the fact they have had their noses done.
As a sort of symbol that they are affluent enough to afford plastic surgery. Just remember ladies, it’s all fun and games until you’re onto your third nose job, second face lift and monthly botox fillers.
Mauritania is home to voluptuous, curvaceous women who live by the motto “Bigger is always better”. However, in order to get that plump body a lot of young women are forced to eat up to 16,000 calories a day at designated fat camps. In this West African nation stretch marks are seen as beautiful and a bloated belly will definitely help you find a husband.
It might seem strange to westerners but having a fuller figure is often a sign of strength and health, especially in Mauritania. In recent years the government has started campaigning against childhood obesity in an attempt to stop a health epidemic but these traditional roots are firmly in place, for now.
Tibetan women have long been known for what is called Plateau Redness. Essentially, since they live in such a high altitude their cheeks naturally go a vibrant shade of red. Although with the continuous rise of make up and cosmetic industry has meant that some Tibetan women are choosing to whiten their infamous pink cheeks, this unique standard of beauty is still alive today.
Some fashion magazines have even tried to recreate the look but that didn’t go down too well with the Tibetan people. Who needs blush when you could just live atop a freezing mountain?
The Karo Tribe in Ethiopia take body modifications to the next level. Once a young woman starts to reach puberty her body will be subjected to a ritual of scarification.
Elaborate patterns of swirls and circles will be etched into her skin, sometimes these designs will be done by the wearer herself. In this tribe, scars are a symbol of maturity and hints that the woman might be ready to start a family. That sure is a painful way to land a lover.
Maori Facial Tattoos (Ta moko) are something that have fascinated the world for decades. The practice has been around for centuries so the Maori’s have managed to master the art of tattooing and is a way of solidifying the culture for all to see. While some men especially those in powerful positions go for a full face tattoo, young women are more likely to tattoo their chin and mouth region.
During the 18th and 19th century the tattoos were actually more like carvings and were raised enough that you could actually feel the indents! You have to give it to them, suffering in the name of your culture is pretty admirable!
Japan is one of the most advanced societies in the world but is also home to some pretty unrealistic standards of beauty! Women will spend hundreds of dollars on skin whitening treatments and go to great lengths to cover their skin up while out and about.
Ever wondered why the Japanese love walking around with umbrellas even in the middle of summer? Well, they are protecting their pale skin from developing moles, freckles and sun damage. So, if you’re ready to throw out your fake tan and embrace your natural paleness why not head on over to Tokyo or Osaka!
The ideal face shape for women in South Korea is a V shape, with a longer and more pointed jaw that creates the illusion of less face fat. Don’t worry if you’re not born with one though there are plenty of creams, serums, wraps and massages that apparently help you in your quest for the perfect shaped face.
If all else fail’s you could instead opt for plastic surgery which has become increasingly popular in South Korea. Who knew having a pointed chin was a sign of beauty?