The definition of beauty

What is beauty? The definition of beauty as the dictionary describes it:

beauty (byo͞o′tē)

noun. plural. beauties


A quality or combination of qualities that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is often associated with properties such as harmony of form or color, proportion, authenticity, and originality.


Here we have 31 words describing six letters, but somehow the question still wasn’t answered. This is because we live in a multicultural world and for each and every culture the word beauty means something different. For some of these cultures the definition of beauty means something that the most of use wouldn’t even think as acceptable, none the less beautiful. The following word: stretched lips, face tattoos, long earlobes, surgery bandages, super-sized bodies, long necks and body scars are considered as something repulsive as in for others these are the most attractive qualities in a women. As strange as it may sound in some cultures women possessing these physical qualities have the possibility to enjoy the courtship of several men. There is the phrase: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, well if that is the case then the cultures that will be presented have a very different eye for beauty. There are the women of the Kayan tribe in Thailand who from a very early age start to wear brass rings around their necks and as time passes they add more and more rings to elongate their neck. A long neck is indeed beautiful but these women take it to the extreme having necks as long as 30cm. In this region a long neck symbolizes beauty and grace. However to achieve this look these women have to endure quite a big amount of pain and the risk of breaking their fragile necks, if the rings wear to be removed. In New Zealand the Maori people considered women with face tattoos beautiful. Tattooed lips and chins here are seen as very sexy and attractive. The more tattoos the more desirable a women is.

Scars, now these are something nobody would like to possess. However most of the population has at least on, from falling of a bike as a child or cutting your hand with a sharp knife. In Ethiopia’s Kiro tribe women who do not have scars are considered ugly and unattractive. In this culture the practice of scaring is a form of adornment. The more scars a women has the more attractive she is to man.If we go to Southern Ethiopia to the Mursi women we find that another self-mutilation of the body is considered as very attractive. These women insert clay plates inside their lower lips to stretch them out. They increase the size of the plates periodically in order to make their mouths as big as possible. This symbol is a sign of sexual maturity; this way man can see that the women are ready for marriage.Stretched earlobes and pierced ears aren’t something uncommon. Many teenagers practice this throughout the world, symbolizing rebellious behavior or a certain belonging to a specific group. However along the women of Masai in Kenya stretched earlobes is a beauty ideal. They use stones and pieces of elephant trunk to enlarge their earhole and pierce it using several little marbles as earrings. The more starched an earlobe and the more earrings a woman possesses makes her more attractive. Mauritian women are the contrary of the super skinny top-models that the Western culture considers as beautiful. Here young girls are forced to eat up to 15,000 calories a day. Parents even send their children to eating camps just to “fatten them up”. Girl that are skinny not only are considers as undesirable but also not suitable for “marriage material”. Here being skinny means that the woman is unable to bear children. A fat wife here is seen as a status symbol of the husband if she is skinny that means they aren’t wealthy and not likely to have a large family.

The perception of beauty wearies in cultures however there are some cultures who want to look beautiful but without the additional pain. Believe it or not Iran is the rhinoplasty capital of the world, here nose jobs are very common and a sort of a status symbol. But some women go to extremes and wear post-surgical bandages longer then needed or even use them without having the actual surgery in order to be referred to as beautiful. So as a conclusion there is no straight forward definition of beauty in such a multicultural world as ours, but one thing is definitely sure, no matter how fat a women is or how starched her earlobes are and how many ring are on her neck, every person is beautiful in its own unique way.

long necklarge earlobeindexUntitled

References:                                                       

Cosmopolitan: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/g3279/weird-beauty/?slide=1

Douglife – Zambia: http://www.douglife.ca/zambia-glp/2013/06/the-perception-of-beauty-in-different-cultures/

By Széplaki Zita

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