Beauty Looks Different Around the World

Studying in Oxford and seeing museums with figures from around the world opened my eyes to how unique beauty is to each culture. For centuries, ancient peoples saw rounder bodies as gorgeous signs of childbirth and new life. Being as pale as possible used to be ideal to show that one did not work outside but had wealth. Now I have come to realize that others regard my pale skin as gross because one should be tanned.

All of the different ways that people think of beauty is fascinating to me. It is interesting how we feel the pressure of the society that we are in instead of thinking of how our appearance would be seen as lovely in another part of the world or another era. Of course, it would make sense that we would want to be accepted where we are currently residing. However, maybe we should take more time to realize how subjective appearance is and how standards vary everywhere you go.

So what does beauty mean to you? Do you agree with how your culture see it? Is there a different part of the world that you agree with more?

I see beauty in everyone who I meet. PTSD sometimes gets in my way, but normally this task brings me great joy in the world. Just the fact that we have life is beautiful. We wake up each morning and survive each day. Someone gave birth to us and brought us into the world. Each step we take, each move we make, everything we do is a bit of a miracle. That to me is beautiful.

When I see someone’s eyes gleaming with joy or look at the freckles strewn across a child’s cheeks, that is beauty. Black, coarse, curly hair that is braided is just as lovely as soft, golden hair bleached by the sun. Someone with a warm, curved body looks just as pretty as someone with a toned, athletic body or delicate, petite body. But most of all, I love seeing the smiles all across the bodies of people. When you are truly joyful, every part of you radiates that smile. This can be quiet, hyper, caring, overwhelmed, silly, or serious but still has pure happiness. Eyes glitter, mouth expands, hands jitter, feet bounce, belly shakes – all of that is the most beautiful of all.

That joy, I believe, would be admired by every culture.

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13 thoughts on “Beauty Looks Different Around the World

  1. Nick Sif says:

    One line in that post completely floored me. Pale skin, gross? No. You are beautiful, Anna. I’m not sure how to say that without sounding creepy, but there it is.

  2. MEM says:

    Amazing!

  3. ashokbhatia says:

    So very true. Inner beauty – of joy, of positive thoughts, of liking yourself and those around you – radiates and make one beautiful.

  4. jefairgrieve says:

    Hi, Anna Rose! I second what Nick said. Also, unless a person tells you what he or she is thinking, you cannot assume with accuracy what the person’s thoughts really are. And in this case, if people have actually made this negative comment about your skin, they are being very rude, not worth listening to or taking their comment seriously. Not only that, but they are behind the times because a tan equals sun damage. Many of us who played in the sun and got golden tans as children and teenagers before the days of sun blocker are paying the price now with skin cancer. Just observe a dermatologist’s waiting room, and you will learn this. So not only is your skin beautiful as it is, but you are extremely smart to stay out of the sun. The ladies who carried fringed parasols and wore elegant long dresses during the 1800s knew what they were doing!

    • Oh, I would love to carry around a parasol now. 🙂 Anyway, thank you so much. I am assuming usually what people think about my skin although some people have bugged me about it. Tanning can certainly be dangerous. People who have naturally darker skin are just as beautiful to me as people with very pale skin. I find it strange that one is more beautiful than the other.

      • jefairgrieve says:

        Societal preference for skin color is hard to understand, isn’t it? I find it strange, too. When I was a teen, girls actually used certain oils on their skin to make it “fry” to a dark shade of tan. At the same time, they had prejudices against people of color. Does this make any sense at all?

  5. mary says:

    Well I think you’s right about joy being always recognized as beauty (Theresa of Calcutta for example). Standards of Beauty grow up around observations of probability. (Sort of like the “law” of gravity does not MAKE things go down, It is just a name we have given the fact that things will probably fall if given a chance to).The fact that dissonance in music is usually ugly cannot stop Rhapsody in Blue from being pleasant. The fact that smooth skin is often pleasant to behold will not stop a pattern of freckles from emphasizing someones eyes, thus making them more beautiful. And the fact that tan skin can emphasize the color in burnet’s skin and (if smooth) and set off the color and texture in a bold’s hair does not change the elfin/angelic beauty of pale skin against dark/light hair.

  6. mary says:

    Well I think you’re right about joy being always recognized as beauty (Theresa of Calcutta for example). Standards of Beauty grow up around observations of probability. (Sort of like the “law” of gravity does not MAKE things go down, It is just a name we have given the fact that things will probably fall if given a chance to).The fact that dissonance in music is usually ugly cannot stop Rhapsody in Blue from being pleasant. The fact that smooth skin is often pleasant to behold will not stop a pattern of freckles from emphasizing someones eyes, thus making them more beautiful. And the fact that tan skin can emphasize the color in burnet’s skin and (if smooth) and set off the color and texture in a bold’s hair does not change the elfin/angelic beauty of pale skin against dark/light hair.

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