Growing up, we always learned that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This widely used quote implies that perceptions of beauty are subjectively defined and culture plays a large role in this. Different countries appreciate attractiveness in different ways, creating a broad array of interesting viewpoints.
For instance, East Asian women (China, Japan and Korea) hold their skin and complexion to the highest regard. It is very important to them that their skin is blemish-free, smooth and clear. Complexions should embody the perfection of porcelain, and to achieve this Asian women strive to eat foods high in collagen. Fair skin is also seen as more beautiful, and this mainly dates back to days when dark skin was associated with working outside under the sun (implying low social status). Another aspect of beauty is having large eyes. Because of this, many Asian women have undergone double-lid surgeries or purchased circle-lenses to make their eyes appear larger.
In India, attractiveness is based on long dark hair, wheat-colored skin, doe eyes, curvy physiques and shorter height. Dark black hair is an important indication of beauty because it allows colorful hair ornaments to stand out more. Eyes should also be large and expressive, with high-arched eyebrows to accentuate this.
In African countries such as Ethiopia, beauty is seen in the large lip plates worn by women and girls. Bottom teeth are removed at puberty so that females can receive a lower lip piercing that will later house a clay plate. The clay plat stretches the bottom lips to a very long and desirable length. In other parts of Ethiopia, scars on a woman’s stomach are seen as elegant and attracts young men. Placing scars on the stomach and chest indicates sensuality and appeal.
In the Middle East beauty is sometimes not measured by what one sees, but by what one doesn’t see. Middle Eastern women wear long cloaks called Abaya, that usually only reveal their eyes. This modesty creates a lure for men, and enhances the beauty of eye shape and make-up. It is more appealing to reveal only small glimpses of beauty than to display everything all at once.