Defining Pretty

Beautiful woman

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in magazines. She was beautiful,
for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes
when she talked about something she loved.
She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile ever is she was sad.
No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.
She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.”

| Source: F. Scott Fitzgerald |

The mass media and skeptical society that make up the greater American population today have a demeaning way of making women feel less than beautiful. It’s this same society that brainwashes young girls into believing that if they aren’t pop-culture’s definition of pretty, they aren’t good enough. What often goes unacknowledged when defining beauty is that America is a melting pot; its citizens from all over the world. The likelihood that two people have the same definition of beauty is slim, although, for many reasons, one reason may be owed to each individual’s culture. That’s right, each culture defines beauty differently from the next.

Of course, you already know America’s typical perspective of beauty: For one to be pretty she should wide hips but an itty bitty waist. America believes that in order for a woman to be pretty she should have a round booty paired with a pair of full and perky breasts. It’s okay for an American woman to be toned, but if she woman is too toned her looks may come off as too masculine. Now, these are the American beauty standards, next are the beauty standards that define pretty in other countries around the globe.

In Mauritania, a country in Africa it is traditionally thought that larger, heavier women are beautiful. In fact, if young girls – around seven or eight years old – aren’t large enough yet, they will be taken out of school and sent to “fat-farms” where they are forced to high-calorie, fattening foods all day. As Larger women are ideal in Mauritania, parents are naturally doing this in hopes of making their daughter more appealing; Although the custom is dying out, it is still highly practiced.

In Thailand, a golden tan is the last thing a woman wants, in fact, it is the exact opposite of beautiful. The cultural belief is that women who have pale, white skin are both more attractive and wealthy. Women go to extreme lengths in hopes of achieving perfectly pale skin, methods include everything from topical creams to laser treatments.

The Kayan tribe – which is made up of refugees from Burma –  located in Thailand places a high beauty-value on elongated necks. Girls are expected to begin wearing the accessory at a young age, as time goes on they add more coils to their neck in order to weigh down the shoulders and elongate the neck. In the past, it was believed that the coils around the neck would ward off rivals, but today the culture simply believes that longer neck a woman has, the more beautiful she is.

 

Lionesse

By Lionesse

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