Beauty is in the eye of the beholder they say. Or more like beauty is in the eye of the border as we take a look into how aesthetics and standards of beauty for women differ from nation to nation:
America! Land of the gun, of Donald Trump and of unrealistic beauty standards. What more can we expect from the birthplace of Hollywood, the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant and the Kardashians? As the world’s leader in celebrity culture, Americans have idealized women’s appearances to be nigh-unattainable where they are expected to be thin and leggy but have big breasts. It’s almost like the same big-boobed thin-waisted video game girls that social justice warriors like to get offended about.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), over 15.6 million cosmetic procedures, including both minimally-invasive and surgical, were performed in the US in 2014, an increase of 3 percent since 2013. With Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner as their most prominent female icons this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Furthermore, while some other countries (discussed below) focus on trying to gain fair skin, Americans want to cook themselves off. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about a million people hit tanning beds each day in the US with nearly 70 percent of them being women ages 16 to 29. The market for sunless tanning products is hot business right now too with one industry report claiming an annual revenue in 2011 of $516 million.
Notoriously known to consistently produce world-class supermodels and soccer players, the largest country in South America also likes to produce plastic surgery particularly on butts. Big butts. Round butts. Anything butt. The Brazilian butt lift for short.
The Brazilian body style is more like a guitar than an hourglass: smaller breasts and bigger bottoms. Women have liposuction at age 18 and breast reduction between 16 and 22. Brazilian bikinis are designed to showcase every part of the body.
Interestingly enough, America isn’t the only place where a bigger focus is on western Caucasian features as European-looking Brazilians tend to get the favour over their African counterparts (even if they constitute over half the population) specifically when it comes to the runway. It speaks volumes their most famous models are Gisele Bundchen and Adriana Lima.
Half of Brazilian women have considered cosmetic surgery with 7% reporting having some kind of cosmetic surgery completed, the highest among all countries surveyed. In fact, Brazil accounted for 12.9% of all cosmetic operations performed in 2013 despite only having less than 3% of the world’s population. This included over 515,000 reshaped breasts and 63,000 butts augmented. The butt jobs nearly doubled in the past four years from 2013 to the point where almost one in five butt-boosting surgeries are performed in Brazil.
Bottom line is, Brazilians love ass. The rounder and perkier it is the better.
Brazil has their butts covered but in Venezuela it is all about the boobies. In some form of way, Venezuela is like an aesthetic rival to Brazil. In sports, Brazil kicks their butts, no problem but Venezuela has consistently dominated in beauty pageants for a reason.
Breast augmentation has become so widespread it has become a popular coming-of-age gift for quinceañeras or 15th-birthday celebrations. The late Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez (who passed away this year) derided the practice but it is reported over 81,000 surgical cosmetic procedures were performed in 2011 according to the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
A recent campaign aimed at Venezuelan girls to educate them about the dangers of liquid silicone butt injections before the age of 12 because parents tend to offer these injections as birthday presents.
It is no exaggeration then to suggest that Venezuela manufactures beautiful women. If you’re not born as one, you will be one. No ifs and butts. Err, buts.
It would be a bit of an insult to say the UK is just like the USA of Europe. But they both love football (two entirely different sports but whatever), speak English and love the fake tanning scene. UK weather has notoriously been known have long periods of cloudiness and that inspires artistic creativity (and why so many legendary musicians came from the UK) but that may be why tanning is such a big deal because the sun isn’t quite around often enough.
A survey revealed that UK women buy at least three bottles of fake tan per year on average with another poll in 2008 revealing Liverpool as the most tanned city in Britain with over 59% of women applying self-tan lotion at least five times a month or more.
In most western countries, being overweight or “chubby” or “big-boned” or whatever other politically correct term they enjoy using now is considered a taboo (not now as much as before but still a controversial topic) but in Jamaica big girls get the lovin’.
The “healthy body” girl is considered to weigh between 160 to 210 pounds and in the 1990s gaining weight became so dangerously popular that Jamaican women became desperate enough to take “chicken pills”. These are the same pills farmers feed chickens to make them grow faster. Yes, Jamaican women were fattening themselves up like livestock. All the McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme’s of the world weren’t enough then?
The pills are ingested to help them get broader hips and bigger bottoms and being a larger woman is usually seen as a sign of wealth. You have the means of feeding yourself hence why you’re big.
And like India, they have a focus on whitening themselves up but with illegally-sold bleach that is applied three times a day.
Valeria Lukyanova. That name may not ring a bell to most but google “real life Barbie” and there she is. She’s primarily an example, albeit a spooky and exaggerated one, of what Russian women aspire to have: long legs, thin waist, long straight hair, big lips and big breasts—the epitome of Russian women’s aesthetics.
It’s a bit of a stereotype that Russian women are flawless and they aspire to be. They are raised in an environment where there is a lack of eligible men and are taught to “dress to impress” in hopes of landing a man of their dreams anywhere. Even if it’s just a walk to the bread store they’ll be rocking the heels and makeup. Fancy.
Lip injections are also all the rage there now apparently. Cheeky.
Au, contraire! The French would say casse-toi! to all the examples above as they focus primarily on natural beauty or jolie laide – personality over physicality. This had to be on this list as a foil to all those plastic surgeries and augmentations.
But there’s a catch really. By au naturel, a lot of French women are actually starving themselves and were reported to be the most concerned about their weight. They have the highest proportion of underweight women throughout Europe and it’s become quite drastic to the point a bill had to be passed that banned “excessively thin” models.
Working out isn’t really a hot hobby like it is in North America but the French have a greater focus on healthy eating and eating slowly to enjoy the food. The women are also known to age very well. So while a lot of American and Brazilian women are adding stuff on, the French women are subtracting.
The country is in Asia but the beauty standards are definitely influenced by western standards. The Chinese value porcelain white skin and skin whitening products are all the rage not just in China but in many other Asian countries.
Chinese women generally have roundish faces but the oval “melon seed” face is a preference along with large round eyes, a pronounced nose bridge and an angular jawline with a small mouth. These are all very difficult to find naturally in most Chinese women. Double eyelid surgery is fairly common not unlike their South Korean neighbours.
If it’s one particular physical trait the Chinese can be proud of it’s their long thick black hair. Hair care products have started to slow down as of 2014 mainly due to oversaturation but in 2004 the industry catapulted from 25 million US dollars to over 6 billion US dollars in the span of 20 years. Long hair? Do care!
While the USA and the UK women tan themselves out, the Indian women are doing the opposite: bleaching their skin. It’s a bit of a social status thing as the same is known to happen in other nations like Mexico and the Philippines but darker skinned women have been known to be discriminated against while fairer skinned women are considered more attractive.
Sales of skin-whitening creams are estimated at over $432 million. It’s so popular it’s coined the “Snow White syndrome”. They’re mostly modern-day snake oils but in some cases, toxic products have led to serious, long-term damage and even death. You might as well do cocaine when it comes to white products that can potentially kill you. At least you get more fun with it (note: this is a joke. We do not condone drug abuse).
The good news is this outlook is considered outdated and the younger generations may be more open minded to different complexions and the standards of beauty are evolving to wear little-to-no makeup.
If Brazil is known for its butt jobs, Iran takes top spot for nose jobs (rhinoplasty). Over 70,000 people in this past year alone went under the knife to get a new nose. According to the official figures, up to 40,000 cosmetic surgeries are done each year with over 60 per cent being nose jobs.
In this middle-eastern country, nose-jobs are considered the ultimate status symbol. You can rock your Ferraris or your new pair of breasts in North America but you won’t ever be as cool as an Iranian with a nose bandage.
The strict dress code also makes women focus on kohl-lined eyes and perfectly threaded brows.