Monday, 4 May 2009


Who do you consider to be the most beautiful woman in the world?

If I was to ask this question to you lovely bloggers I'm guessing the answers would be varied and would most likely include Angelina Jolie, Giselle or maybe Jessica Alba.

If i was to ask the same question to a group of men i would expect the answers to be based along the lines of FHM favourites Keeley Hazel, Sophie Howard or Abbey Clancy.
So whats the thing that unites both men and women in their views on beauty in our culture? I would offer thin toned bodies to be the common denominator. Now this is not to say that curvier girls like Scarlet Johannson are not beautiful or that thinness is the only shape of beauty that exists in Britain. Far from it, we are all aware that imperfection is almost part of perfection. What I am saying is that as women,we stack up millions of pounds on gym memberships every year because the physical 'ideal', models, pictures in magazines, celebrities in our culture serve to equate beauty with slenderness.

But ask someone across the globe and you may well find that 'Beauty' is something entirely different.

In Africa for example a thin woman is considered far less attractive than a bigger woman. Body fat indicates wealth as the woman can afford to eat well. The Melanite Tribe believe that true beauty can be achieved through scarification and the process of cutting the skin in patterns to leave 'beautiful' scars begins early in childhood. Scarification marks rights of passage in a girls life like puberty, the first period or childbirth. The amount of scarification is linked with the depth of strength and courage therefore the most heavily patterned woman are seen as the best wives and mothers. This video shows many a beautifully patterned African woman.

The 'ideal' for Japanese woman is fair smooth skin. Where once foot binding and geisha culture symbolised female subservience, beauty in modern Japan is rebelling against this and is becoming far more westernised. It is fairly common for women in Japan to use facial bleaching creams for paler skin or to undergo eyelid surgery to turn a mono lid into a more western bigger eyed double lid. Japanese Anime is a good representation of beauty being characterised by big eyes.
To take the westernisation of Japanese cultures to extreme you just have to look at the street cultures. One such 'tribe' named Kogals which literally translated means 'young girl' are characterized by flaunting their disposable income through distinctive tastes in fashion, music, and social activity. In general, the kogal "look" roughly approximates a sun-tanned California Valley Girl, and indeed, there are even some linguistic similarities between these Western groups and Kogal.
In Burma and Thailand woman wear neck coils to make their necks longer and more elegant. The Mauri Tribe in New Zealand believe that a woman with blue lips and a blue chin is the epitome of beautySome people piece the skin with inked needles and believe that the results are beautiful

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm betting Angelina Jolie would not be the top choice for most beautiful woman in Africa or Thailand or wherever.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Its a cliche...but its pretty damn true.


  1. aww great post steph! soo true makes your think more dont it? xoxo

  2. Wow, what a great post...

    ...for the record, my boyfriend met Abby Clancy (he had a job at her house, which I only found out AFTERWARDS!), but didn't even realise it was her...*cough* airbrushing *cough* !!!

    I do NOT rate Angelina at all, Jessica Alba is a goddess though :)

    x x x

  3. I learnt a lot from reading this! I think its fasinating how diffrent cultures are and that an imperfection you beliebe to have will be seen as attractive to another.

    :D x

  4. Great post, I didn't know that scarification came from Africa... Heh, pretty scarry, right? I don't consider my scars anywhere near beautiful, but they sure remind me of the past.

  5. Glad you enjoyed.

    @Sammiebbz, it does make you think doesnt it. I find it oddly comforting.

    @Laura, I bet she is stunning in real life but that ur boy only has eyes for you! awwww...!

    @A Fashionable Affair, I do find it fascinating. Its something ive been interested in for a long time. I left out lip plates by mistake and thats quite interesting too.

    @Rocaille, i believe it does indeed originate from Africa and its a really interesting subject. I think that whatever scars you have are a thing of beauty - theyre part of your journey.x

  6. Wow! What a really informative post! I learned something new today!

    Your right though - Beauty is really in the eye of the beholder, and that's such a lovely thing - Because no one else would love my cellulite! :D

    Seriously though - Great post! Loved it.

  7. Aww Steph, so sweet...hehe! Trust me, his eyes are not only for me, oh how I wish they were, but there a LOT of stunning women out there, though it pains me to say it, lol! He said she was totally average, "nothing special", and it was only because he knew it was their house, and that his work mate pointed her out, that he even knew it was her!

    Back to the point though, beauty is 100% in the eye of the beholder, and us girls (and men too I should think) need to bear that in mind when we feel low!

    x x x

  8. Fab post Steph!
    Keep up the good work