While we’re used to curling our hair, slipping on some heels and putting on a red lip to feel fabulous, women in other cultures go to much more extremes to feel beautiful. Check out these interesting beauty trends from around the world that prove women go to great and sometimes painful lengths all for the sake of beauty.
Japan’s Yaeba Teeth
My parents shelled out thousands of dollars during two awkward high school years for me to have braces. I am grateful for that now, but I should’ve just moved to Japan; women here are paying for the opposite. According to The Huffington Post, Yaeba literally translates to “double tooth”. Women are going through expensive dental procedures just for these crooked teeth. The trend has become so popular that there is even a snaggle-toothed girl band in Japan called TYB48.
Thailand’s Long-Neck Women
Growing up as a ballerina, I was always told to keep a long neck. However, these Thai women take that to the extreme. They are part of the Kayan tribe on the northern Thai border. The women of this tribe have a custom where they wear stacks of rings to give the appearance of an elongated neck. The Kayan women begin to wear these rings during childhood and add more as they get older. Although the rings don’t actually make the neck longer, they do press down on the neck and shoulders. An ancient legend says that the rings protected women from tiger attacks.
France “Au Naturale” Look
Now this is my kind of beauty regimen. French women prefer to wear little makeup and air dried hair. This makes these women famous for their “au naturale” beauty. Which sounds particularly wonderful for girls like me who are looking to save a little time and money.
Iran’s Nose Jobs
Forget Hollywood, Iran is known as the nose job capital of the world. Girls as young as 14 are costing their families thousands of dollars to go under the knife. Iranian girls dream about a button nose, with over 200,000 signing up for rhinoplasty.
Japan’s Skin Lightening
While American girls go tanning for senior prom, Japanese girls are lightening their skin. The cosmetics industry in Japan markets products that give women’s skin a lighter appearance. This shows a person’s status in society, as someone with tan skin would be one who has been outside working all day.
Mauritania is an African country where the fatter women are, the more beautiful and desirable they are. Many female Mauritania citizens are force fed up to 16,000 calories a day- keep in mind the average amount of calories consumed per day for teenage girls is around 2,000. Girls as young as seven years old are sent to a camp to be force fed and limited physical activity every day. This relates back to the idea that being overweight meant being wealthy and prosperous because your man could afford to feed you. Want to learn more? Check out this Marie Claire article.
So what can we take from this? It is fascinating to see these trends as an American woman because they are so radically different than what we practice. I think this definitely raises the question of whether or not beauty is a universal concept or if it means different things to different people.