Beauty, as we know, lies in the eye of the beholder. But the fact that we always want what we do not have is a widespread phenomenon, so that some people are not afraid of effort, cost or pain. Look at what some people do to correspond to an ideal of beauty.
While in Asia the shelves are full of cosmetic whitening products, in Europe we don’t even know which spray we should choose from the drugstore assortment to get a racy tan. Weekly some pilgrimage to the tanning salon, while others, who are blessed with plenty of sun in their homeland, no longer cover themselves up until they go to show a noble pallor. On my travels I discovered other ideals of beauty, which probably often make us shake our heads.
The Colorado people can be found in the primeval forests of Ecuador. These people got the name “the dyed ones”, because they dye their hair red with the Achiotesamen. They are additionally cut in such a way that it looks as if they have a kind of “hair helmet” on. The ladies like it and before each new coloring the hairstyle and color is even ritually consecrated.
In America, a trend has spread that is now beginning to boom. To make it easier for the ladies to walk across the streets in their high heels, it has become common practice to have their toes shortened in order to get the foot better into the desired footwear.
There was also another tradition of foot shaping in China, which has meanwhile been banned. The so-called “lotus foot” was completely deformed by hard bandaging, so that the women there reached the ideal size of ten centimeters. This self-mutilation was recognized and considered attractive, even though it was almost impossible to walk afterwards. This was also regarded as prosperity, because one did not have to leave the house.
In a clinic in Kurgan, Russia, people can truly have their legs lengthened in a 12-month procedure. Bones are broken so that they can grow together again in a prefabricated splint. This unbelievable pain cannot be dreamed of, only to be a few centimetres taller.
Many rumours circulate about the famous body jewellery of the women in the village of Myanmars. Known as the “giraffe neck”, the corresponding body parts are lengthened with rings. But this is not true, because the rings are actually spirals, which from the tender age of five years on meander down further and further. In addition, the neck is not lengthened, but the shoulders are pressed downwards. This jewelry, weighing up to ten kilos, deforms the body, makes every movement and swallowing more difficult. Nevertheless, women accept this in the name of beauty.
A brutal kind of “anti-beautification” takes place in Cameroon in the form of “breast ironing”. It literally puts up all your hair, because what is done to the girls here cannot be justified in any way with “good will”. In order to prevent the growth of the breast of young girls, hot objects such as sticks or stones are rubbed over the breast. The reason for this is also here to make the girls unattractive, so that they do not become unintentionally pregnant and could possibly stop the education.
The Māori are known for their tattoo arts and inspire imitators worldwide. With the traditional Polynesian method of Ta moko, the color is not applied selectively, but scratch-like under the skin. Therefore a scarred skin appearance develops thereby also. These drawings on the bodies represent the transition from childhood to adulthood and are tattooed on the whole body.
You always want what you don’t have – we oil, lubricate, tan and sizzle in the sun, while others cover, protect and lighten. In Japan, the noble pallor has almost reached its peak. The cosmetics industry is booming with its brighteners and bleaches that are supposed to make the skin shine to symbolize the appearance of prosperity and attractiveness.
A very special form of beauty ideals can be found in the lips of women from the Mursi and Surma peoples. Their mouths are adorned with huge plates that can reach a diameter of up to 15 centimetres. To make this physically possible, lips must be cut open, slowly stretched and teeth knocked out. Originally it was believed that this was a common method to make the ladies unattractive to other tribes.
In Korea, there has been a trend for a few years now that is taking place a few floors below. Due to the sparse hair of the ladies, pubic hair transplants are becoming more common. Because a full splendour of hair where others fight every hair is considered a sign of fertility in Korea.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, a ritual called “scarification” is performed on the men’s skin under the sign of power. The skin is incised in such a way that the scarring makes it look like the skin of a crocodile. This ritual symbolizes a strong and marriageable warrior.
People do a lot to change optically and some go ways that may not seem comprehensible to us. What do you think of these partly crazy ideals of beauty, which are practiced by people around the world, only to please society, the other person or yourself?