It's interesting how beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and ever-changing. Depending on geography or time period alone, beauty standards can be vastly different! Hello, did nobody see how ridiculous Queen Elizabeth started looking near the end of her reign? We see these classic statues of Roman or Greek beauties, but those women or men wouldn't really be considered beautiful in the modern day, now would they? It's fascinating because everybody seems to think, "Of course this and that trait is pretty. Big butts are glamorous. Full lips are so alluring. Beach curls are so in," but even just a decade ago, these traits weren't considered must-haves! The 90s was all about being stick skinny with no curves in the States. Matte lips were "glossed over" by the ever trendy lip glosses in that same era.
However, there are some beauty standards from all over the world and different time periods that are even more drastic or shocking to learn about! So if you want to know what weird procedures or practices people used to do or still do in other countries to become beautiful, read on and be amazed--because a flaw you thought you might have could actually be deemed a surgical procedure-worthy trait somewhere else, or maybe you were just born in the wrong decade.
15 Sight is overrated when you can be beautiful
Thinking about fixing your cross-eyes because it's both uncomfortable when looking at things and it throws other people off? Well, if you plan to travel back in time and join the Mayan culture, you might want to hold off on that procedure. That's right! The Mayan civilization believed that cross-eyed people were extremely attractive (partly due to a cross-eyed god they worshipped), to the point that they actually placed beads on their infants to hang right between the eyes for that cross-eyed look (called strabismus). Crazy to really think about, right? But hey, beauty is pain and people are willing to pay all sorts of costs to look attractive, sight be damned. Nowadays, people would not find it pretty at all, feeling uncomfortable about which eye to look at. Turns out Mad Eye Moody would be quite the looker and ladies' man to the Ancient Mayans.
14 For those who hate their big feet
A lot of women don't like having big feet, but their desire to have smaller feet would probably not be as drastic as it was in China in the olden days. Many people probably already know this one, but very tiny feet were extremely popular in China back in the 19th century or so because they were dainty and showed off a high status. As a result, many girls were forced to bind their feet to stop it from growing and to crush them into a small size. The bound feet were called lotus feet, and they definitely did not look as prim and pretty as lotuses when you don't see them bound up. They looked painful and deformed. The feet were literally crushed by bandages, and the girls were expected to walk like that! Ouch. Beauty is pain, but come on...Do NOT try this at home!
13 So much for tanning
You might see a lot of people in America, Canada, and more going to the beach for a tan or even a tanning salon for that orangey glow because it gives off a healthy, sexy vibe, but women in other countries, namely in Africa, South America, and Asia, are working hard to lighten their complexion. After all, even in American movies and the like, you see a lot of minority actors with lighter complexions glorified for their beauty, with emphasis on that "caramel" skin tone, and this has actually grown controversial recently.
To get that beautiful, honey-colored skin, women in Africa and South America would turn to skin-whitening products--which could be as harmful as over-tanning. They're essentially bleaching their skin. On the other hand, in Asia, the women like to have porcelain skin, very white and pale to emphasize their features, so they would likewise use products and avoid the sun at all costs.
12 Why shave your armpits when you can dye them?
An interesting trend over the years in North America was for women to grow out their armpits... and then dye them. The women who do this definitely want to feel free about their body and show that they don't have to conform to societal norms by shaving their armpits like it's oh-so-horrible for women to have normal body hair like men. Then dying the hair brings further attention, and they think it looks cool!
Even Miley Cyrus jumped on the trend and uploaded a picture of her pink pits. Turns out dying just your normal hair-on-top-of-your-head is too basic now. Not sure dying my pits is something I would do, but it is definitely interesting, and you can't deny that their confidence rocks. More girl power to you guys!
11 At least you won't get food stuck in your teeth
Why get braces when you can avoid getting that annoying piece of broccoli stuck in your buck teeth while looking beautiful? It's been a huge trend in Britain over the years to embrace what otherwise would be known as a flaw--the tooth gap. It's also known as a diastema, which sounds like a disease, doesn't it? But apparently, something everybody wants.
There is a certain chicness to this feature, made popular by gorgeous women like Georgia May Jagger. Dentists in the United Kingdom have actually been getting requests from women who want a gap between their front two teeth, which sometimes requires sanding them down to make them smaller. Others who already have it refuse to get it fixed through braces or other procedures. This trait is believed to go with the idea of the beauty of symmetry.
10 The giraffe look is in
Giraffes are adorable and one of my favorite animals with their awkward proportions and all, but do I want to look like a giraffe? Not particularly... According to the KayanLahwi tribe, however, long necks are absolutely stunning. As a matter of fact, just like Chinese girls would start binding their feet for a smaller look at a very young age, KayanLahwi girls would start wearing heavy coils around their neck at five or so. Every time their neck lengthens, they would add more coils, which don't serve to actually stretch out their necks but push down everything around them, like the shoulders and collarbones. Might as well shorten the rest of your body for that elegant neck, eh? Channel the spirit of the giraffes!
9 How scary is scarification, eh?
Scarification is a very suitable name for this beauty practice by certain tribes in Africa. The name includes "scar," which is basically what the whole practice is about, and "scary," which is what it is to both the participants and everyone else who finds out about this (like yours truly). Considered a rite of passage, scarification entails the cutting of faces and bodies of male and female teenagers to leave behind scars on the surface. Why have smooth, clear skin when you can have bumps and scars all over to show how tough you are? It's sort of like tattooing--and it's as painful if not more, but since it is a rite of passage into adulthood, these teens are not allowed to cry or flinch during scarification in fear of shaming the rest of their families. However, this trend is becoming more popular in other places, as well. Beauty sure is painful...
8 Probably as scary as having a bagel in your forehead
Well, Japan is known to be a rather extreme culture, but you would think that having a bagel in your forehead wouldn't be considered attractive anywhere in the modern, developed world, right? Wrong. A few years ago, the bagel head trend was huge in Japan, and it involved a rather painful procedure for something so temporary. People would go in to get saline injected into their forehead through a huge needle to swell up the front of the forehead--and it's as painful as it sounds. Once the forehead is appropriately swollen, the thumb would push down in the center to create the shape of a bagel. Why? I have no idea. It will last from half a day to a whole day, long enough for these bagel heads to show off the look at a club or some freakayy partayys.
7 If not a bagel... maybe something else
If you like the whole skin-protruding-more-than-it-should look but don't particularly want a bagel in your forehead, you could go for subdermal implants! Although breast jobs can be considered subdermal implants, this is not what I'm talking about. These are body modifications in which something is inserted into the skin for a raised design. It can be anything from letters to designs or symbols like hearts. It can even be something that glows like a part you'd find on Iron Man. Once these are inserted, it essentially looks like something is in your body. It gets done more often than people know, and it's raising in popularity in areas like the United States and other modern Western civilizations.
6 Not the body image problems you're thinking
Even though curves are embraced and women are workin' off their butts for their booties nowadays, being thin is still quite a staple of the American beauty diet. After all, sure there are workouts to boost the chest and bottom, but there still has to be that thigh gap and tiny waist, right? So how surprising is it to find out that instead of starving themselves with unhealthy practices or annihilating their fat to look like models, another area of Africa has women going to "fat farms" to look as fully figured as possible? Actually, it's not too surprising because long ago, many countries deemed women on the chubbier side attractive because it showed off their wealth and status. However, I'm not sure if those women were actually forced to eat fatty food and gain weight to become more attractive brides-to-be...
5 There are double chins, then there are "V-lines"
"V-lines" are used to describe a desirable jaw shape for women in Asia, particularly in Korea, which is considered the capitol of plastic surgery. Over there, the trend is to have a jawline that looks like a very sharp V because it gives a nice shape to the face and makes the face look small, which is a thing there. It's to the point that many women would wear "shaping masks" or partake in quite dangerous plastic surgeries where they would shave down the jaw or even remove portions of their jaw for that slim, sharp look. It's one of the more complicated surgical procedures, even resulting in fatalities in rare cases. As a matter of fact, it's so difficult that one clinic in Korea shows off its expertise in this form of surgery by displaying in its lobby a glass case full of the jaw pieces they managed to remove from their patients as a sign of success... Lovely, eh?
4 Eyes just want to be as bejeweled as the rest of the face
Hey, you can pierce the eyebrow, the nose, the lips, the tongue, the ears--so just the eyes seem to be alone in this. You can't pierce the eye after all--but oh wait! No, you really can't pierce the eyes (so far) but you can bejewel them so they can shine as much as the other parts of the face. Legal and developed in the Netherlands, a quick procedure allows for decorate jewelry to be implanted in the eye. These are called extraocular implants. They essentially look like you got one of those tiny metallic things you'd use to decorate a project, stuck it in your eye, and can't get it out. They can range from cute, like a heart, to rebellious, like a hand with the middle finger sticking out. As someone who doesn't even like contacts in my eyes, I think it's a hard pass for me. You?
3 Just throw those braces away, girl
Even though the idea of symmetry in teeth enhanced by the middle tooth gap is deemed beautiful in England, this is not quite the case in Japan. Crooked, fairly crowded teeth in Japan is considered very cute in girls, so some of them purposely turn their straight teeth crooked for an almost wolf-like look. Specifically, they like the snaggletooth, which they call "yaeba."
It's deemed attractive to men because there's a childlike cuteness and endearing charm to the snaggletooth, especially when these ladies shoot a smile their way. Because of the popularity of celebs with this look in Japan, women get artificial canines glued onto their teeth. It does seem to make them look cuter, and it's all about looking cute and youthful in Japan.
2 Legolas, what have you done?
Elves are often shown to be beautiful and cool and all, but do you really want elfin ears that badly? Although not a widely known beauty trend, it is known enough, especially amongst avid fans of series or franchises that showcase a lot of elves, pixies, other woodland creatures, or aliens with pointy ears. Called ear pointing, this literally means a point is shaped into the top of your ear for that elfin look. If you hear of a huge Lord of the Rings marathon happening somewhere, just run to get your ears pointed, and you'll be the talk of the party. Being a normal human being is boring and overrated anyway. Why have basic ears when they can be pointy like you were born in the forest with magical powers?
1 In that vein, Kylie Jenner, what have you done?
The United States is not free from bizarre beauty trends. Even as an American, I am like, "What the hell is going on here?" Thanks to the luscious lips of Kylie Jenner, women all over the country are trying to emulate her kissability level using various products like suction cups or DIY lip masks that swell up the lips temporarily. A lot are getting liposuction injections like the star herself, and it has gotten beyond just a little ridiculous. The suction cups leave a red circle around the mouth, and it doesn't seem all that great to stretch out the lips like that or make them swell through a chemical reaction like you're getting an allergic reaction. Sure, her lips are definitely pretty, but this is another beauty procedure that is quite bizarre can't be forgotten in this list!