Is Beauty Universally Defined?

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According to this article...

"Beauty: Culture-Specific or Universally Defined?"

in some aspects, NO, but in some aspects, YES.

For example, most Americans would not find large lip plates very attractive, but in Ethiopia, this is a very beautiful look for the Surma and Mursi women. 1944941_f260.jpg

Another example of atypical beauty the article mentions is neck elongation that the Kareni and Padaung women of Myanmar value. 1954896_f520.jpg

So across different cultures, some different things are considered beautiful. However, even though some cultures value skinny women and others value larger women, there is still a universal preference toward the 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio. Also, squared jaws for men and high-chek bones for women are universally preferred. Even more examples are provided in the article if you'd like to read for more detail.

So can beauty be universally defined? In all aspects, of course not. But there are some general, natural features that most people could considered more appealing to the eyes. Culture to culture and generation to generation will vary in regard to what is considered the most attractive way for people to dress, wear their hair and makeup, and to adorn themselves with jewelry. However, the natural basic features (such as the ideal waist-to-hip ratio and the symmetry of a face) will probably remain the standard for beautiful women worldwide.


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Awesome article. The pictures really drew me in. I have heard of the elongated neck thing, but I have never heard of the lip plate. That thing is crazy! I wonder if it is more difficult to talk with that thing in? It almost has to be.

Really interesting topic! Like the person above me said, the pictures drew me to your article as well, so really good used of images. It is really interesting to think that what is actually considered beautiful in a person can vary so drastically depending on the country and culture. I am from Chile, so naturally, the majority of people have darker features. A lot of Chilean people though find those with lighter features more attractive as where here in the U.S. some people find men and women with darker more exotic features more attractive than those with lighter features. In the end, I think it all narrows down to personal preferences.

This was a great topic! The pictures really held the information together and gave good visual examples. It is interesting how features such as high cheekbones or a square jaw are considered universally beautiful. I wondering if features such as eye color or height have any sort of universal beauty standards.

This is a very interesting topic and I loved that you included photos. I agree completely with what you are saying. Obviously beauty is very different in cultures around the world. However, I'm sure there are some features that are considered universally beautiful. I remember watching a show on TLC about beauty around the world, and in one country, they fed their women lots of food to make them fatter because they found overweight women very attractive. So I guess beauty is really in the eye of the beholder.

Very interesting, concise blog. I think you hit all the major points. Different cultures have their own idea of beauty, but it doesn't stop there. Individuals within a certain culture vary in their opinions of beauty also. The .7 hip to waist ratio is very interesting. I wonder if men know they find that attractive, or if it's innate?

Your article was very interesting, I had never seen or heard of the lip plate or neck elongation things. I agree with you that in a lot of cases beauty cannot be universally defined, it is different across cultures and can even be different across people who share the same culture. I did not even realize that some features can be universal, such as hip to waist ratio and high cheek bones, I think this occurs without a lot of people knowing.

Super interesting! As said earlier the pictures drew me in. It's amazing how different beauty is from culture to culture. I think that we sometimes get stuck thinking that our ideas on what we consider to be beautiful are the only true opinions, it's hard to remember that some people may have very different backgrounds and different things to them may be just as beautiful as our ideals. Thanks for the insight!

This is very interesting and the pictures were super cool. It is intreguing to step out of our american views of beauty and try to see it through other cultures eyes. I would have liked to see some more strange views on beauty. Good job!

I think that it's kind of intriguing how the concept of beauty can present some ethical issues. How anyone could ever think it to be just to put social pressure on women to get those lip plates I will never understand. You would think that beauty would be such a harmless matter, but it has become so valued in today's day and age that society has pushed its expectations to unreasonable levels.

Great article! It's very interesting that different cultures have different standards of beauty. Most countries in the world have been westernized so we don't usually notice that different culture can affect different beauty standard. Great post and pictures!

I loved the pictures you used. They really bring the article together. I do think that beauty is so vastly different across countries. I think that as we progress we will see some of these similarities come together.

Excellent post! I think you did a very good job illustrating some of the slightly more extreme ways that women are perceived as being beautiful around the world. I personally beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. There may be tendencies, like the 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio, but everyone still has their own opinions.

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This page contains a single entry by and02471 published on April 8, 2012 5:00 PM.

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