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This past summer, Ether Honig’s “Before & After” project went viral. It examined the different standards of beauty across various global cultures. She sent a photo of herself to people in more than 25 countries and asked them to make her beautiful. The designers used Photoshop to then pull from their “personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance (her) unaltered image” (Honig). The results showed that each culture interprets and views beauty differently. So what do different countries find beautiful? Are there any universal metrics of beauty?

USAOver time, our definition of beauty has changed. Barbie had once been triumphed as the golden standard of beauty with her very thin frame, blonde hair, blue eyes, and white skin. However Allure’s 20th Anniversary Beauty Survey revealed that "Sixty-four percent of all respondents think women of mixed race represent the epitome of beauty" and 70% reported that they wanted darker skin tones (Allure). Fuller lips and curvaceous bodies are also more desirable – perhaps due to popular reality star, Kim Kardashian.

FranceFrench women are often put on a pedal stool when it comes to beauty. These women are known to be naturally beautiful, thin, and effortless. The French beauty ideals are rooted in this notion of natural beauty – and they seem to exude a certain effortless sexiness, which is why they have been so revered in the world of beauty and fashion.

IranThe country’s strict laws that have the women wear hijabs and cover their arms and legs puts more attention on the face. Named the nose job capital of the world, Iran performs seven times more procedures than the U.S. Due to Western influences, many Iranian women try to attain the Hollywood button-nosed “doll face.”

South KoreaIn South Korea, one of the leading countries of cosmetic surgeries, there is a distinct definition of beauty. Big, rounded eyes, with a double-eyelid, a high nose, and a small face. Very specific standards that are largely influenced by Westernization of its culture.

MyanmarSome women engage in customs that physically alter their bodies to achieve a certain beauty standard. The women of the Kayan tribe wear brass coils around their necks to achieve a look of a long neck. These coils push down on the women’s shoulders, helping to create the illusion that they are lengthened.

EthiopiaThe Surma and Mursi women of Ethiopia wear large lip plates as shown in the picture above. The lip discs are made of clay or wood, and are considered to be stylish and beautiful.

While each culture has its own definition of beauty, new studies show that there may be some universal metrics of beauty. For example, in all cultures, symmetric faces are believed to be more beautiful than asymmetric faces. A clear complexion is also universally preferred.

But what about you? Do you agree with these different standards of beauty or what do you believe to be as the ideal beauty?

http://www.tripbase.com/blog/8-ideals-of-beauty-from-around-the-worldhttp://www.estherhonig.com/#!before--after-/cvknhttp://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2011/03/whos-your-beauty-ideal.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/fashion/15French.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&emc=eta1&

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