The environment in which you live affects what you perceive to be beautiful. Often times, we as westerners, look at Kenyan women that value a long neck and wonder why someone would think a long neck is attractive. Those women add brass rings around their neck- this negatively affects their health as the rings push down on their collarbone and could be fatal if they decided to take the rings off. The women in the Karo tribe in Ethiopia wear scars on their stomach- that is considered attractive. In Mauritania, a bulky woman is said to be beautiful. Often, women of that tribe send their daughters to camps where they are fed around 16,000 calories a day so they can gain weight and live up to Mauritania's standards.
After reading this the typical American would ponder why women do such ridiculous things. In our culture so many women starve themselves, go through plastic surgery, whiten and straighten their teeth, wear cosmetics, go to tanning salons-- all this is in attempt to look beautiful. In any other culture this wouldn't be prized. Depending on where you live you may be beautiful; you could be looked down upon. This struck me as it illustrates how differently cultures perceive beauty. Our textbook states that most people across cultures can agree on who is beautiful and who isn't as attractive- but I wonder how this phenomenon fits into that.