No pain, no beauty

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Beauty concept

Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive. Such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans and works of art. Beauty, together with art and taste, is the main subject of aesthetics, one of the major branches of philosophy.
No pain, no beauty

Victorian corset

The waists of women in Victorian Europe got unnatural treatment. Stiff, molded corsets fortified by curved steel were worn to achieve the ideal hour-glass figure. The tightness of these corsets caused some women to suffer from respiratory complications and the malfunction of some internal organs. In many ways, the corset represented the repressive, strict and structured European society during those times.




A tradition of binding the feet of young girls to prevent further growth took root in China. The “lotus” shape of bound feet was considered highly attractive by Chinese men. They made women appear dainty and feminine. The practice originated among upperclass court dancers in the Song dynasty but spread to all classes.



Neck rings

Wearing neck rings was a practice among women in tribes in Burma, Africa, Thailand and the Philippines. The weight of the rings pushed down the collarbone and ribs to elongate the neck. A long neck was considered the epitome of beauty. The rings were also a sign of wealth and status. In Africa, only married women were allowed to wear neck rings.
Zhou Guizhen, 86, says she regrets binding her feet. "But at the time, if you didn't bind your feet, no one would marry you," she says.
Louisa Lim, NPR
Legend has it that footbinding began during the Shang dynasty (1700-1027 B.C.), ordered by an empress who had a clubfoot. But historical records date the practice to a later dynasty: An emperor was captivated by a concubine, a talented dancer who bound her feet to suggest the shape of a new moon and performed a "lotus dance."
Wang Lifen no longer remembers the pain of breaking her bones, but admits that sometimes her feet still hurt so much she can't even put them down on the ground.
Louisa Lim, NPR
Suffering for beauty is a concept familiar to most women, who have dyed, plucked or shaved their hair, squeezed their feet into uncomfortable high heels or even surgically enhanced parts of their anatomy. Millions of Chinese women went even further — binding their feet to turn them into the prized "three-inch golden lotuses."


The concept of beauty is hard to define as beauty comes from within and we are often told beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. It becomes more challenging to define beauty when unravelling the diverse concepts of beauty according to different societies, beliefs and cultures. Though there are such differences between one culture and the other, one thing unites all this, every one of them has its rules to determine beauty and we discover some of the beauty standards in different cultures.


This name arrived from Myanmar and Thailand and local groups known as “long neck” or “Giraffe” still practise this trend. This practice starts from childhood, where the female will receive a brass spiral all around her neck, and every year, someone will send one or two rings to the females until they are adults. The mechanism is a visual illusion, the rings' weight puts pressure on the shoulders to make the shoulders drop and eventually stretches the neck. The belief here is that the longer the neck, the more beautiful you are. An adult woman can reach fifty-five rings in their neck and weigh up to a maximum of eleven kilograms.


In the Masai tribe and some other ethnics groups in Africa it is usually seen to have elongated earlobes. Thanks to heavy jowls made by rocks or elephant tusks this allows the earlobes to become more significant day by day. This practice, in the ethnic groups in Africa, permits a form of status for the woman, accentuated by the extent of the deformation/elongation with the earlobes covered with colourful pearls and jewels.


To some western cultures, the lip dilator can look like mutilation, but not for a young woman in Mursi o Suri in Ethiopia for them this means that that child becomes a woman. This practice is a sign that that woman is fertile and is no longer a child.

To dilate the lip, you need to remove the two lower front teeth, engrave the lip and insert a clay or wood disc to make the lip broaden. This does apply to the earlobes dilatation. Every year, another bigger disk will be added. This means the more mature the woman is, the more beautiful she is considered to be— this practice is also used in the indigenous tribes of South America.

Pure White Skin

It is not a secret that in most of the Oriental culture, there is this obsession for pale white skin. For instance, in Korea, there are lots of women that wear huge hats or sun visors to protect themselves from the sun and to avoid the possibility of getting tanned. Tanning in Oriental culture is not a symbol of sexy or beauty; but the opposite as it is refers to the poor people that work in agricultural fields, who are constantly exposed to the sun. Also, pale white skin is the standards of wealthy people. Korean ladies are known for spending a large amount of money to buy creams to lighten or bleach their skin just to achieve their cultural aspiration of beauty.

Larger Can Be Sexy

In many cultures, being overweight is not always seen as being beautiful, this can not be said in Mauritania culture where woman with curves and that are larger are accepted as being beautiful. In Mauritania culture it is believed to promote prosperity and beauty. It has been said that in the past, someone would train the girls to appear as attractive as possible. Now in the present day, this is not the only reason why men are attracted to a particular woman, but in the past, it was the main characteristic.

In India, it is part of the tradition to see women decorate themselves with jewels, nose rings and also, their arms and body with Henne’. This makes them appear more attractive for events, like weddings or parties. Although eyeliner, piercings, henna has determined beauty for ages, Bollywood showed us another face of Indian beauty; the side of the pop colours and brightness is customary.

Ta Moko Tattoos

In any culture, we have people that have tattoos, and they think that the tattoo is beautiful, for the reason why they made it or for the meaning that the tattoo has. But in the Maori culture, the woman with Maori’s tattoos is a symbol of beauty.

This tradition named Ta Moko consists of tattooing your chin to attract men. Any Moko is different from each other and describes specific ancestral information for who is wearing it.

This Tribal Moko describes that woman's status inside the ethnic group, apart from showing the family origins. Even if this practice has changed over the years, the Maori Tattoos still attract Maori’s Men. Today, these tattoos are made just as a trend and to state what you want to reach in your life and achieve as your personal goals.
Journeying through the diverse beauty cultures' and society’s beauty rules, shows just how much more we have to discover. With the changes in societies, it is now also possible for us to see the changes in beauty standards from country to country or culture to culture. Still, the most important thing to understand here is that no matter what culture you were born into, be yourself and be comfortable with yourself. You are beautiful just the way you are.
10 bizarre beauty standards from around the world
The phrase 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' is proven among different cultures
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder as is proven by the various beauty standards from all over the world.

Lip Plate Unusual beauty standards

In the evolving world, the notion that having a voluptuous shape and tanned skin is the epitome of beauty.

This however is achieved through plastic surgeries and modern products to make these body adjustments.

Some cultures from different parts of the world practiced weird beauty standards to define beauty and as a sign of identity..

By using natural body modification techniques,these tribes decided to create their own beauty standards.

Below is a list of unusual body standards set by societies from different parts of the world.

Lip Plates.

They are commonly worn by women in Ethiopia from the Mursi tribe. When girls get to their puberty, plates are inserted on their lower lip until it stretches to the desired size. The bigger it is the more beautiful it is considered to be.

Brass Neck

Its every girls dream from the Kayan Lahwi tribe in Burma and Thailand to have a long neck decorated with a series of metal rings. As early as five years old,girls are fitted with decorative rings and overtime women can have as many as 25 fitted rings stretching their necks longer.


This is the act of creating patterns on the body by the Karo tribe in Ethiopia and the Dinka People from South Sudan as a rite of passage. For the girls they are marked with beautiful patterns unlike boys who gets three parallel lines as a representation of manhood. Despite being painful, the boys and girls are forbidden from crying or even flinching to avoid bringing shame to the whole family.

For the Masai women in Kenya stretching their earlobes is considered beautiful as they believe that the more stretched your earlobe is the more beautiful you are. For them they use heavy objects to stretch their earlobes such as tusks,wood and even stones.

Open Dimples
During the 10 day vegetarian festival in Phuket,Thailand citizens celebrate the festival by piercing their cheeks as a way of chasing away evil spirits and [protecting themselves from bad luck.

Chiseled teeth

In Indonesia,most tribes consider pointed and sharp teeth similar to those of a shark as beauty standard. The procedure is done without numbing hence causing agony and pain however women are eager to undertake the procedure in order to fit in and look more attractive.

Skin Deep

Tattoos may be viewed as sign of rebellion by the western countries but to the Maori in New Zealand its an enormous cultural significance. For them, they decorate their skin, lips, and faces with distinctive black and blue patterns called Ta-Mako. This is especially practiced by ladies who will often tattoo their lips blue as a sign of beauty.

Crooked Teeth

Having crooked teeth in Japan is considered beautiful as most women pay to get extra tooth to fit in. Through a procedure called "yaeba" women pay to get a snuggled-tooth look as they believe that the look provides them a more youthful look.

Mono brows.

In Tajikistani,people believe that eyebrows that join together is considered a sign of beauty as well as are a promise for a fortunate life.

Nose plugs

In India,the Apatani tribe fitted bamboo strips as a rite of passage and also as a way of dismissing lovers from other tribes who had a habit of stealing women from their villages.However,the practice has not been carried out since 1970.

Overall, Korean beauty standards push for an overall innocent look: small face, big eyes, slim body, to recreate that youthful look.

Compared to the Western beauty standards, Koreans, in general, tend to pursue cuter and feminine looks, at least when it comes to faces.
Koreans prefer slim, young, and youthful faces with small facial features and pale skin.

Unlike the West, curvy shapes like Kim Kardashian or Rihanna are just too much in Korean beauty standards.

In this context, being girly, cute, thin, and even skinny is a beauty goal for Korean women, rather than fit and healthy.

Below are the 4 MAIN aspects Korean beauty standards are built on:

1. Slim Facial Feature
Surgery is Korean men’s weapon of choice to achieve smaller and slender facial features and a higher nose

2. Double Eyelids

Korean men recourse to cosmetic surgery to shift from monolids to double eyelids.

3. Fair Skin

Korean men invest in cosmetics and makeup that confer and maintain clear, smooth, and fair skin.

4. Dyed Hair

Darker hair is a sign of youth, and thus, over 95% of Korean men with white hair dye their hair regularly.

5. Androgynous body

Korean men try to achieve an androgynous body shape, staying away from looking too skinny, too fat, or too muscular.

6. Fashionable Outfits

Korean men wear androgynous clothing, Femboy outfits, or streetwear fashion brands that keep them stylish and trendy.
While expectations of female beauty usually outweigh male expectations, South Korea is notorious for its male beauty standards.

Compared to the Western culture, in which makeup for men could be interpreted as an act of rebellion against society, rather than a beauty standard, Korean male beauty standards are similar to female standards.

The current Korean beauty standard for men: cute, pretty figure, feminine, towards an androgynous look.

However, since the beginning of 2022, under the western media influence, more Korean men have started to emphasize fitness.

Nevertheless, even with a buffed-up body, it is still quite common for Korean men to wear moisturizing lotion, foundation, and makeup, even at the gym.

In fact, South Korea is recognized as one of the world’s beauty capitals on male beauty.
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