It is a refreshing thought to believe that we have mentally created our own ideas of what beauty looks like to ourselves and to the world around us. This is in part true, for the simple matter that as human beings, we have a quenchless thirst for self-expression. With this self-expression, there also comes conformity to the illusion of what is considered normal and abnormal. The results that stem from these illusionary guidelines create propositions about beauty that are inherently vicious to the entire human psyche. How often are we fed certain ideas that have come from influences outside of ourselves? An even better question is: How does that make us feel?
To answer this question, we have to examine history, systematic brainwashing, and the cultural influences that contribute to our sometimes skewed perspective on what beholding beauty truly means.
Let’s start with America—a place that’s considered the great melting pot of the world, a place that supposedly embraces many different cultures, colors, and ethnicities. The truth is, America does not welcome everyone with open arms, and for all intents and purposes—in America, the beauty standards are pretty rigid.
Beauty Is Big Business
Turn on the television, radio, or browse the internet at your leisure and you’ll soon be bombarded with advertisements for products that are mostly geared to women. Anything from makeup to hair conditioners designed to make the hair gleam and grow can be found in electronic or print ads.
One of the questions that begs to be answered is: Are American standards of beauty unrealistic and biased towards certain features? The answer is a resounding, yes. Women tend to put themselves in categories of attractiveness based upon the ideals set forth by society. Either a woman is standing on the side of having a sense of indescribable reverence toward these standards, or she develops a sense of deepening discouragement because these ideas are unrealistic and opinionated at best.
Being that America is home to people of multi-ethnic and multi-racial groups, one would think that having just seven categories to classify a population is hardly enough. The United States uses a classification system based on these categories: White, African American, Native American, Alaskan Native, Pacific Islander, Asian, and Native Hawaiian. That leaves a whole lot of people out. Not only that, but the beauty industry’s advertisement campaigns are doused with an abundance of people who are classified in the white category, with sprinklings here and there of the other identified groups in our great big welcoming country.
When we step foot outside of America, we see that there are many other ideologies of what makes a woman beautiful. In fact, it varies quite drastically from what America has systematically force fed us for centuries. Let’s take a look at some of the perceptions of beauty in other countries.
Strong Mental Endowments And Mangled Delusions
In some Asian countries, having a perfectly straight smile isn’t as attractive as having a crooked one. There are women who undergo procedures to make their teeth appear jagged, to make themselves more attractive to the men who admire this look. This is far to the left from America’s belief that straight teeth are perfect…but perfect for who? Dental procedures designed to give you that gleaming, Colgate smile, are a multi-billion dollar business in America.
In some parts of Africa, thin women are deemed physically less attractive compared to women with more weight on them. In fact, the African country of Mauritania is known for practicing something they call, wife fattening, in which girls seeking to get married, are force-fed fatty foods that will result in their rapid weight gain. In America, heavier women are sometimes shunned and looked at as unhealthy based on height and weight standards—but where do these guidelines really come from aside from science?
Here in America, unsightly scars are shunned and attempts to cover them up or smooth them out, are readily practiced. On the flip side, in many countries across the world, scarification procedures are in place to increase female attractiveness with an emphasis on strength, fertility, and feminine energy. The scars also serve as a form of self-expression that helps the suitors of these women gauge not only their personality but their likes and interests as well.
Although tattoos are also deemed as art and a form of expression throughout the world, having one placed on ones face, is not a common practice, especially for women—unless you’re part of the Maori culture. The original Maori people are part of the Polynesian population from New Zealand. Their traditional body art is referred to as Moku and it varies in detail from person to person. According to the Australian Museum—Moku is worn by men and women, but women, depending on their ranking in a tribe, have more elaborate details intertwined into the artwork on their chins. The more detail, the more beautiful the woman is perceived.
The Common Conscience Of Attraction
All in all, example after example, we see how American standards of beauty have made a thoroughly sincere but unaffected effort in many parts of our vast world. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder—and although America is supposedly known to openly embrace cultural awareness and be open to the customs and traditions of others—there still lies a tone of exaggerated solicitude in the examples of what’s typical and atypical when it comes to beauty.
Together, women are a mighty force and it would serve each and every one of us to acknowledge that ideas about beauty that come from outside of ourselves are just opinions… Our own opinion is the strongest one of all. It’s best to showcase our beauty in individual ways anyhow because we are all living and breathing examples of what beauty means, afterall—women were simply born that way, we can’t help but to be beautiful.