Annabel Fanning is an Australian based author and editor, who loves supporting the expansion of sexual freedom and empowerment and who does so through the medium of her bestselling novels. It is her passion to write stories that inspire, uplift and remind people of their unlimited potential for love, worthiness and creativity.
The Western world is full of unattainable beauty ideals. On purpose? Maybe. Unhappy people spend a lot of money to get happy. And capitalism rules the world.
But capitalism wouldn’t be capitalism if it wouldn’t have a solution for the problem it created. Surgery! Surgery for your butt, face, tummy, pussy, penis, eyes.. yes. There’s something for everybody (.. who got money!)
In this article though I want to show you that all those beauty ideals created by the Western World are man-made.
Beauty is defined differently in every part of the world. Some beauty ideals may even seem surreal to our western minds. Beauty though has many faces, bodies, shapes and sizes. And most of all true beauty comes from the inside out.
Get ready to be wowed with these 9 crazy beauty traditions from different corners of the world!
#1 White Skin – The Beauty Ideal in Asia
We all know that tanning is big business in the US and Europe, with both spray-on tans and tanning salons making huge money. Why? Well, some believe that the sought after bronzed body that’s prevalent in the western world is a sign of wealth and health.
However, in several countries throughout Asia, the opposite is true. In China, Thailand and Japan it’s pale, white skin that is considered the height of attractiveness and affluence.
All you bronzed babes out there might be interested to know that in this area of the world, a tanned complexion gives the undesirable appearance of being a poor and lowly farmer!
In fact, in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, pale skin is so sought after that locals even wear face masks to protect their skin from tanning. (Looks a little scary to me!)
I’m not going to lie, for me the unibrow has always been a massive no-no.
It’s something that I can’t help but stare at whenever I see one, and I don’t mean stare in a good way.
However, in Tajikistan, it’s me and my two non-touching eyebrows who are the odd ones out! There’s no tweezing or waxing of any kind going on there, because the unibrow (which is infamous in western culture) is found appealing on both men and women. True!
Women especially, let their unibrow grow thick because it depicts feminine beauty and is considered highly attractive.
Fake unibrow, anyone?
Yes, they even fill in weak or incomplete unibrows with liners and pens, and there’s a herbal remedy to fake it – Usma, which is a leafy green herb, and is sold in all Tajik markets for about six cents.
#3 Voluptuousness – The Beauty Ideal In Tonga & Mauritius
Thin, skinny, skinny, thin…that’s what most of our western fashion and “beauty” magazines push as being “normal”, but in Tonga and Mauritius a different standard takes precedence.
These two island nations may be miles apart, but they are entirely united about one thing and that is: the bigger the woman, the better.
In these countries, larger women are more desirable as wives, because the “chub” that western women work tirelessly to lose is actually a sign of affluence and prosperity. In fact, they love the plump so much, that parents have even put their daughters on high-calorie diets to increase their weight!
In recent years this “fat farm” tradition has diminished, and young women nowadays are neither pushed to be skinny or fat, but rather encouraged to be their natural healthy selves.
P.s. in these cultures, if you’re skinny, you are to be pitied! Take that Hollywood 🙂
#4 Makeup For Men – Beauty Ideal In Central Africa
Beauty competitions are for girls, right?
That maybe what we in the west have been lead to believe, but for one tribe throughout central Africa, the tables are turned. For the Wodaabe it’s the young women who critique and judge the men for their beauty, in an engagement ritual.
Every year at the end of the wet season, tribes come together and the young Wodaabe men decorate themselves with makeup, feathers and other elaborate adornments.
They perform dances and songs, and because the Wodaabe also think white teeth and eyes are the pinnacle of attractiveness, the men keep their eyes open wide and show off their teeth as they perform, in an attempt to impress and woo their potential future-wife.
#5 Teeth Sharpening – Beauty Ideal In Mentawai, Indonesia
“Your smile is your greatest fashion accessory.” — Ever heard that before?
In the US and Europe, it’s straight, white teeth that is the most sought after accessory, with people spending (again) millions of dollars to achieve the perfect smile. In West Sumatra there is a tribe who also think teeth are super important when it comes to beauty, however their methods don’t involve dentists or bleach.
The people of the Mentawai tribe sharpen their teeth into points and they do it with a chisel. Yup! They believe that grinding their teeth into sharp points makes them more appealing and beautiful to the opposite sex. A drastic measure perhaps, but such is the price of beauty within their culture.
(I bet going to the dentist doesn’t seem so bad now!)
#6 Big Feet — Beauty Ideal In North Sumatra, Indonesia
Cinderella was praised for her dainty, small feet. In the west it seems that smaller feet on women are considered more feminine and therefore more desirable, and perhaps this fairytale was a contributing factor in that trend?
However the Karo Batak people of North Sumatra couldn’t care less about Cinderella!
In their remote Indonesian society large-footed women are more considered the most attractive.
This is because they believe that bigger feet make a woman “stronger and more productive in the rice fields”, which would suggest that productivity and a strong work ethic are sought after qualities too.
“Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”
The anti-aging industry is another multi-billion dollar enterprise, with individuals (particularly in western society) spending big money on treatments to keep them looking young and wrinkle-free.
Yet, if you look at almost every indigenous culture on earth, they hold their elders in the highest regard. They are deeply revered, respected and admired, but guess what? You won’t reach the status of become an elder without gaining a few wrinkles along the way.
So laugh to your heart’s content and keep in mind the old saying: the more wrinkles you have, the wiser you are.
So there you have it – nine unusual beauty traditions from around the world.
They serve as a reminder that there really is no such thing as the “perfect body”, so let’s stop promoting the unhealthy notion that there is one. Let’s love and celebrate our bodies, embrace all shapes and sizes, and always remember that true beauty does, and always will, come from the inside.