There may have been an influence of globalization on the cultural values and norms in many parts of the world, but there are still some places where historical conventions are practiced. On one hand, there are many cultures and traditions that may seem mesmerizing and interesting to learn about. On the other hand, there are some cultures that involve uniquely strange rituals, horrific beauty standards and severe body modifications.
The weird cultural beauty standards appear normal to the people who practice them but will undoubtedly surprise the people from other parts of the world. The unusual and bizarre standards may seem shocking to us but these are trends that have been for generations within the people who practice them. In some places, these beauty trends are symbolic and are of religious importance as well.
Here are some of these strange beauty indicators from across the globe that will make you cringe:
1. Yaeba (Crooked Smile) – Japan
A dental method in Japan, Yaeba translates as double or multilayered tooth. The procedure is done by capping the upper canine teeth temporarily or permanently to create a fanged look. This trend was popularized by a Japanese pop idol group AKB48 to make women look attractive. And guess what, it became a revolution in the country.
2. Cosmetic surgery – South Korea
The idea of a perfect body in South Korea is defined by a flawless white skin, pointed noses, small face and large eyes. Therefore, one out of every five South Koreans undergo cosmetic surgery and spends hundreds of dollars on the procedure. The most common surgeries are of eyes and noses.
3. Ta-Moko – New Zealand
Tattoos have different meanings and significance in different cultures. In New Zealand, Maori group have been decorating their skins for over 1000 years with distinctive black and dark blue patterns called Ta-Moko. These decorations mostly include facial and lip tattoos made by using mallets and chisels, signifying strength and beauty in women and readiness for adult responsibilities in men.
4. Fat Camp – Mauritania
Full-figured women are considered beautiful in the African country of Mauritania. If women are pale and weak in Mauritania, they are forced to put on weight by sending them to fat camps. There, they are force-fed high-fat foods and are even given drugs to increase their appetites.
5. Earlobes – Kenya
Maasai people in a Kenyan tribe use weights like stones and thorns to stretch their earlobes until they are long enough to touch their shoulders. They believe the more starched their earlobe is, the more beautiful they are.
6. Scarification – Africa
Scarification is the practice of marking the skin with a knife to create symbolic marks or patterns. This practice is essentially performed in the Karo tribe from Ethiopia and Dinka tribe in South Sudan. Girls are marked with beautiful patterns whereas boys are marked with three parallel lines, to represent entry into manhood.
7. Lotus Feet – China
Foot binding is one of the most important parts of Chinese culture. Even after being banned in the 1940s, it is still practiced in many parts of the country. It is a gruesome practice in which women’s toes are broken to make their feet small and delicate which is considered a symbol of social standing and status in rural China.
8. Brass Neck – Thailand
Largely practiced amongst the Kayan Lahwi tribe of Thailand, this beauty norm is performed by the women in which they wear heavy coils around their necks and keeps on adding these coils over the years to elongate their neck by the time they mature. The long neck is a symbol of beauty in the tribe.
9. Open Dimples – Thailand
Thailand has a rich culture of traditional practices to enhance beauty. Cheek piercing is one such practice which is considered as an act of devotion by them. They believe it will help chase evil spirits away from their lives. There is a 10-day vegetarian festival in Phuket to celebrate this tradition which involves stiff competitions between people using swords, guns and even bikes to pierce the cheeks.
10. Cosmetic Nose Surgery – Iran
In Iran, young men and women proudly flaunt bandages on their noses and other parts of their face to make people realize that they have undergone cosmetic surgery. It is considered as a symbol of wealth and status in the Iranian culture.
11. Henna – India
Indian women put henna or temporary ink drawings on their hands, feet and other parts of their bodies during special occasions like weddings and festivals. Intricate and beautiful patterns are drawn on the skin using henna to create captivating visual effects. The safe thing about the tattoo is that it washes off after a few weeks.
12. Metatah – Indonesia
In order to create sharp and long fangs, teeth filling or Metatah is performed in Indonesia. It is considered as an important criteria for physical appearance and social & spiritual wellness; in order to eliminate the person’s sadistic features.
13. Skin Whitening – Asia
White skin is appraised by women in many parts of Asia. Therefore, they undergo beauty treatments to get a flawless white skin. They use numerous medicines and skin whitening products to lighten their natural skin colour.
14. Teeth Chiseling – Africa
Teeth chiseling is a painful procedure that helps women get smaller and pointed teeth. It is a sign of higher social status in many tribes. In Bali culture, one tribe files down their teeth to represent hatred and anger and to get rid of negative emotions. Other cultures in African Wapare tribe carry the trend to look fearsome at the battlefield. Every culture has a different significance of this beauty trend.
15. Nose Plugs – India
Apatani tribe in India practice the tradition of nose plugs, in which the plugs are inserted into the side of their nose with the agenda of making them look less beautiful. It is considered that the Apatani women are the most beautiful women in all India, therefore, they are made to look ugly in order to keep them safe from being raided by the men from other tribes.
16. Lip Plates, Ethiopia
In the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, women wear lip plates to appear more beautiful and to attract men for marriage. The process starts when a girl attains puberty. Plates of increasing size are inserted on the lower lip to stretch it until she can insert a full-size lip plate. The women decorate the plates to showcase their skills and personality.
Crazy isn’t it, how beauty comes with such a huge price! It is appalling how these people are trying everything to keep their culture and traditions alive even in these modern times. What do you think?