The Perception of Beauty: How It Differs Around the World

Across the world, different beauty standards exist. Over the years, beauty standards have also changed immensely. Beauty is something people have been obsessed with for centuries, and for some, putting some effort and money to achieve the current beauty standard is a small price to pay.

Some employ the services of a plastic surgeon to achieve their standard of beauty. Others, on the other hand, spend hours in the gym to achieve that perfect body. But nowadays, is there really a specific standard of beauty that one must follow?

Beauty and History

The Greeks

According to recorded history, ancient Greeks believed that a beautiful woman must have perfect proportions.

However, Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York’s Greek and Roman department says that aside from physical appearance, ancient Greeks believed that a beautiful woman must have a good spirit, too. The ancient Greeks believed that beautiful women must be brave and honest.

Based on statues, relics, and different Greek artworks, historians tried to define what Greeks see as beautiful when it comes to appearance. They concluded that Greeks see beauty in a person with a straight nose, a low forehead, and eyebrows that join together. That latter feature, in particular, is one that people would not associate with beauty by today’s standards.

Similar to today’s standards, Greeks appreciated people with reddish lips, with the upper lip thinner and the lower lip fuller. Greeks also believed that a pretty face must be smooth and round and must not have any marks, including dimples. For the hair, the Greeks considered blond hair as the most essential feature to be considered beautiful.

The Romans

As years went on, the ancient Greeks turned to make up for beauty. The Romans followed the Greeks, with Ovid, a Roman poet, writing the first guide on being beautiful. Ovid wrote cosmetic formulas and upper-class Roman women followed his recommendations.

They used hair color when gray hair started to appear. They also used wax to cover their wrinkled skin. If their eyebrows were missing or lacking with hair, these upper-class women used fur to cover them.

The English

During the 16th century, English Women idolized Queen Elizabeth I. The queen has become their standard of beauty, and so they copied her features by dying their hair, plucking their eyebrows, and using different cosmetic products. Among these women, Venetian ceruse was a popular cosmetic; they used this to have a white, ghostly skin similar to Queen Elizabeth I.

The Elizabethan Era was also the period when people realized that rotting teeth makes one unattractive. Hence, they started to use a mix of crushed bones, honey, fruit peel, and sugar to cleanse their teeth.

The 21st Century Beauty Standards

As years went by, the beauty standards of women have changed drastically. Aside from the face, the body has also been an important feature of what is known to be beautiful. Around 23,000 to 25,000 years ago, Europeans considered voluptuous women with large breasts and pear-shaped bodies as beautiful; even Aphrodite was portrayed by Greeks as curvy.

Centuries after, however, this standard has changed. In the 80s and 90s, slim supermodels were treated as the standard of beauty, and curvy, full-figured women as obese.

But like fashion, what’s considered old becomes new and on-trend again when it comes to beauty. By the 21st century, plus-size models are dominating the world of fashion and beauty. These plus-size models include Ashley Graham and Tess Munster, both of which are very successful in the field.

At present, people are more and more becoming aware that beauty standards must embrace diversity. Going back to what the ancient Greeks believed, beauty transcends physical appearance. It also includes what is inside: the beautiful attributes of a person.

Why Must You Make an Effort to Be Beautiful?

Undeniably, being beautiful is something that people want to achieve no matter what period or era it is. Beauty is something that one will continuously covet because of several reasons. One is to be appreciated by society; another is to develop one’s self-esteem.

The most important part about being beautiful is making one appreciate himself. Beauty is not only limited to women; it is something that men want to achieve, too. No matter how one achieves this, whether through frequent trips to the gym or even plastic surgery, what is important is how it makes one feel.

As long as a person is happy and satisfied with himself, this contributes to a beautiful personality that everybody wants to see.

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