8 Different Ideas of Beauty around the World ...


8 Different Ideas of Beauty around the World ...
8 Different Ideas of Beauty around the World ...

In the West, we have a very fixed idea of what beauty comprises. To have a chance of being considered beautiful, women must be slim, youthful and have long hair. Things are very different in other countries and cultures though. It might surprise you just how different …

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Please subscribe for your personalized newsletter:


Long Necks

Long Necks Photo Credit: grebberg

For the Pa Dong tribe, who live along the Thai/Burmese border, beauty is a long, long neck. This effect is produced by circling the neck with brass rings, starting at the age of 6, and gradually adding more and more. The only time they are removed is on the girl’s wedding night.


Blue Tattoo

Blue Tattoo Photo Credit: shimmertje

Tattoos are common around the world. For Maori women in New Zealand, the tattoos are placed on their lips and chins. The ultimate beauty is to have full blue lips.



Scars Photo Credit: witoldosko

Scars are considered ugly in the west, but for Karo girls in southern Ethiopia it will help them get a husband. As young girls, the skin on their stomach is cut to create scars, and when they have enough they are considered ready for marriage.


The Bigger the Better

The western media might push thinness as desirable, but in many other cultures, big is most definitely beautiful. In many African countries, such as Mauritania and Nigeria, a skinny woman would be pitied. In fact, women are fed as much as possible to make them more beautiful (in the west, this is known as feeding and considered an extreme fetish).


In these societies, voluptuousness signifies wellbeing, fertility, and prosperity. Cultural ceremonies often celebrate the attainment of this idealized figure, with so-called "fattening rooms" in places like Calabar in Nigeria, where brides-to-be gain weight as a symbol of their families' wealth and status. This practice shouts of a beauty standard that's deeply rooted in tradition. While the western world may extol the virtues of a slim physique, it's essential to recognize the rich tapestry of diverse aesthetic values that celebrate the full spectrum of the human form.


Not Just for Girls

Not Just for Girls Photo Credit: Ferdinand Reus

This Central African tribe prize hold beauty contests – but this time, it’s the men on display! During festivals, the men compete to attract a wife, and are judged on their beauty and singing and dancing skills. As you can see from the picture, the guys go to a lot of effort!


Lip Plate

Lip Plate Photo Credit: Eric Lafforgue

We like to accentuate our lips with lipstick, but some African and Amazonian tribes consider that beauty is achieved by stretching the lip. They make a hole, which is gradually increased by inserting larger plates. As if that wasn’t painful enough, they may need some teeth removed to accommodate the plate. Ouch.


Teeth Filing

Teeth Filing Photo Credit: rowteight

Most of us will avoid going near a dentist unless we really have to, but Balinese people willingly submit to a rather extreme treatment. They have some of their teeth filed, which is meant to remove vices like arrogance. It was also practiced among the Upoto tribe in Africa, and among Aborigines.


Bound Feet

Bound Feet Photo Credit: Okinawa Soba (In Asia and Africa until August)

While respecting other cultures is good, this is one ‘beauty feature’ that we can be glad has died out. In China, to achieve the effect of tiny feet, the bones were broken before binding, thus causing the woman lifelong pain and making it difficult for her to walk.

So, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder! Some of these practices may seem strange, even unattractive to us, but I wonder what the people who do them would think of our ideas of beauty. Would we seem ugly to them?

Top Photo Credit: La Mariposa

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Im from New Zealand and most Maoris dont even have one tatoo. Its only extreme people who do that,.

WOW ............ thanks for letting me know how paiful it can be to look beautiful! and I thought putting make up and keeping up with fashion is tough!

Anyone interested should watch Jessica Simpson's Price of Beauty. I only saw a couple of episodes but it's actually not that bad. She travels around the world to different countries reporting on different perceptions of beauty. I think it's on Vh1...I might be wrong, though.

a very interesting article.. and also insane ! what happens to the women of Pa Dong tribe neck's when they take the rings off on their wedding night.. surely such long necks can support themmselves and will just 'flop' ?


Hi Alison, #7 -'Teeth Filing...well, it isn't actually hurt as it may sound LOL I'm a Balinese. It's Balinese culture to do the teeth filing..this apply to men and women.It's been for centuries.It will be done in a special ceremony/occasion only - kinda religous thing instead of beauty thing, you know. The priest will just uhm sort of rubbing the file to the teeth - that's it. A symbol that they actually have their teeth filed. I havent had mine done but I've seen a lots of people including my family.

OMG this was on an oprah show!(:

Some of these look seriously painful! I've seen a few on Nat Geo's Taboo. I also remember this one tribe where girls breasts are not allowed to grow too big. So they use a hot metal/ wooden rod to flatten it out or something along those lines. Ouch!

Related Topics

i love new england amazing roller coasters give me seven spam museum admission cost places in salem uncommon festivals capital city names dying to visit weird places to meet toilet themed restaurant japan

Popular Now