Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and yet many people still feel the societal pressure of keeping up with the latest beauty trends that arise in their part of the world. We here at Lifehack Lane would like to tell you all, no matter where you are on the planet, that you are beautiful but we will also be looking at the trends from across the globe that different cultures and people consider beautiful and attractive.
1. Foot Binding - China
A strange and torturous practice that took place in China from the 10th century onwards, it was seen as a status symbol for women to have small, elegant feet and so during childhood, women would have their toes broken and curled underneath the foot so that it would resemble something of a hoof. This was done by soaking the foot in a bath of urine and vinegar before folding all toes bar the big one, tightly underneath the sole and then wrapping it in horrendously tight bandages.
It was painful and detrimental to health but it still existed as a practice for 10 centuries despite constant pressure from reformists. It wasn't outlawed until 1911 although persisted for another 20 to 30 years in some regions and a few elderly women still live today with the effects of this ghastly practice.
2. Crooked Teeth - Japan
Whilst many cultures put an emphasis on straight and shiny teeth, a certain sub-culture of Japan goes out of its way to achieving crooked teeth and this phenomenon is called 'Yaeba'. Literally translating as 'double tooth' Yaeba is the practice of capping your front teeth to look more like those of a young adolescent and plays heavily on the Japanese culture of 'Kawai' or cute because a snaggle tooth apparently makes a woman look more youthful.
Each tooth can cost around $400 to be capped in a procedure called 'Tsuke Yaeba' and is a growing craze that has even spawned an all Yaeba girl group.
3. Ear Stretching - Kenya and Other Parts of Africa
Popular across several parts of Arica, members of the Masai tribe in Kenya are renowned for the practice where heavy jewelry often made of stones or elephants tusks, is used on ears which are gradually stretched out over time. The larger and more elongated the holes become, the better as this shows the length of time you have been in the tribe.
Often the earlobes are then adorned with brightly colored beads and jewels to attract attention to their impressive size.
4. V-Lined Face - South Korea
A prominent chin and law bones leading to a V-Lined face are extremely popular in South Korea where all sorts of products are sold in order to tone the face and trim down on jaw rounding face fat.
Surgery is also available and the procedure is advertised on metro systems and public transport and Korean celebrities are often photographed from an angle that will accentuate the V shape.
5. Lip Plates - Parts of Africa and South America
Like ear stretching, lip plates are the same principle but on the lower lip and is a practice used by certain tribes in Africa as well as Amazonian ones in South America. By removing the two lower front teeth, a piercing is then made in the lip where a heavy clay or wooden disc is slid into place. This is then replaced with larger discs over time to increase the stretching.
The larger the disc becomes, the greater the beauty as it signifies maturity as well as a woman's value in cattle.
6. Large Buttocks - North America and Europe
The buttocks have long been a sign of fertility throughout history and in certain cultures are prized. In Europe and North America, large buttocks are often prized with people getting implants or having fat from one area of the body taken and put into the behind. The erotic beauty of the behind was important to the Ancient Greeks and largely permeated throughout Europe from there.
Today, popular celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, and Niki Minaj have cemented and celebrated this look but other parts of the globe fail to see the appeal such as many in Asia who prize a slender and delicate figure.
7. Gyaru - Japan
'Gyaru' literally means girl and is a popular sub-culture that once again emphasizes the culture of cute within the country known as 'Kawai'. Gyaru has several sub-categories of its own but all strive to achieve the look of a wide-eyed, innocent schoolgirl that mostly includes bold or colorful hair with curls, heavy eyeliner, fake eyelashes and dramatic makeup that resemble something akin to a doll.
Some even go for over dramatic fake tan in order to resemble something reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot and various products and beauty items are on sale in the country in order to help achieve the image.
8. Au Naturel - France
Whilst many cultures layer on makeup or go to dramatic body alterations, some in France opt for the 'Au Naturel' look, which consists of little to no make-up and focuses on accentuating natural beauty through muted and warm tones. More money is spent on creams and moisturizers in order to hold onto and maintain a youthful yet natural appearance as opposed to make-up which covers up any blemishes.
Many French and Europeans also embrace their natural body hair rather than shaving or waxing it off like other Western cultures and will also quite often stay away from perfumes.
9. Accentuated Eyes - Middle East
Many Arabic and Middle Eastern women spend time and money accentuating their eyes on thick, black eyeliner and mascara that frames and highlights the eyes. This is because they are considered a highly attractive feature of the body and also because, in many Middle Eastern countries, women are required to be completely covered because of religious sensibilities.
As such, bold eye makeup is considered part of an exotic appeal and allure where little else is available to be on show.
10. Neck Rings - Africa and Asia
In certain African and Asian cultures, neck rings are associated with a beauty idea of a long elegant neck, often showing off a married or hierarchical status over others.
These tight coils deform the clavicle and push the vertebrae apart leading to a longer, stretched neck. In later life, these neck rings then have to be continually worn in order to support the neck after its stretching.
11. Face and Chin Tattoos - New Zealand
Whilst many cultures have tattoos, most avoid the face for fear it cannot be easily covered. In Maori culture, however, face tattoos are known as Ta moko and bestow a sign of respect and status onto the person with the tattoo.
Both men and women receive Ta moko (although men less so since around the 1860s) which is often accompanied by rites and rituals and many Maori women have blue tattoos on their chin and lips, with the full ideal being to have blue lips.
12. Scarification - Africa
In the West, much is done to avoid scars but in certain parts of Africa, they are considered a thing of beauty. For example, the Karo girls of Ethiopia will cut their stomachs from a young age in order to produce scars and is continually done throughout adulthood all over the body.
It is only when they have enough scars on their persons that they are considered ready for marriage. Some African cultures scar the face as a sort of identity marker and show of status but this practice is largely dying out.
13. The Bigger The Better - Africa and India
In many African, and some Indian cultures, larger women are considered more beautiful as it is a sign of wealth and power, having not to do any work and with plentiful food available to you.
Mauritanian women are lauded for being on the heavier side of the scales and it has been known for young girls to be sent to 'feeding camps' in order to fatten them up. If they get stretch marks from the process then even better.
14. Pointy and Stained Teeth - Bali, Africa, The Philippines and Australia
Some Balinese men will get their teeth filed in a practice that has also been found in parts of Africa, the Philippines, and Australian Aborigines. It is supposed to remove vices such as arrogance and has also been known as a decorative feature.
In the parts of the Phillippines, animals are considered to have white teeth and so people may stain or file their teeth as a sign of refinement.
15. Pale Skin - Southern Asia
Whilst most Western cultures treasure a tanned body as a sign of health and wealth, ability to be out in the sun, many Eastern cultures go the other way preferring light and pale skin.
This partly stems from the idea that you need not be out in the sun doing laborious manual tasks like working in the fields and has become more prevalent as Western media has proliferated through the region and a Western ideal is sought. As such, many beauty products contain a skin bleaching element to them to make people look paler.
16. Round Eyes - Asia
Another phenomenon that has come about due to Western media in Asia is eyelid surgery so that the 'doe-eyed' look can be achieved.
In places like Japan, this is also because of the 'Kawai' culture where cute is prized and it is felt it makes you more wide-eyed and innocent like a child.
17. Smaller Noses and Surgery Bandages - Iran
Many women in Iran feel that a smaller nose is the ideal of beauty and it has actually become the rhinoplasty capital of the world.
So much so, that bandages on your nose have now become a status symbol to show that you have the money and standing to get plastic surgery and so women will sometimes wear the bandages without getting the surgery in the first place.
18. Big Feet - Sumatra
Whilst most across the world feel that women with smaller feet give off a dainty air of grace and elegance, certain villages in Sumatra, Indonesia would opt for a woman with a larger foot, which largely comes down to the ability to work in the paddy fields.
Places like, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania also prefer ladies who wear bigger shoes.
19. Painfully Tall - China
A taller man is often seen as the ideal but people in China have taken this one step further with some getting surgery where bones in the legs are broken and then a metal rod is inserted between the break so that the leg is lengthened. Both men and women in the country are getting this procedure so as not to appear diminutive.
The practice was banned in 2006 but some less reputable surgeons will still perform it.
*Note. Chinese basketball player Yao Ming has not had surgery, he is just very tall.
20. Male Beauty Contests - Central Africa
Female beauty contests are prevalent across the globe but male ones aren't often seen as many consider them effeminate and unnecessary. However, in Central Africa, there is a tribe where men compete to attract a wife at festivals by dressing up, singing and dancing.