According to Merriam-Webster, beauty is defined as:

the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind

In other words, as many of have said over the years, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

A few years ago, CNN made a video montage of how beauty standards have changed over the last few thousand years:

Notice how the shape of face, hair color, style and even eyebrow thickness changes back and forth over time.

And that’s just in the United States.  What are the standards of beauty in other countries?


Women of the Kayan tribe wear brass rings around their necks, starting at the age of five.  Over the years, longer coils are added.  The weight of the brass presses on the clavicle and compresses the ribcage, giving the impression of an elongated neck.

A Thai woman and child. The child wears brass rings around her neck
Attribution Some rights reserved by kudumomo


In the Masai tribe of Kenya, stretched earlobes are considered sign of beauty.  Women use thorns, twigs, stones, elephant tusks and even plastic film canisters to assist in the stretching process.

a Masai woman, wearing long beaded earrings and a needled collar
Attribution Some rights reserved by gudi & cris

New Zealand

Both men and women of the Maori people of New Zealand tattoo their faces as a method of showing status, rank and beauty.  Women, however mainly only tattoo their lips and chin.

a Maori woman, in traditional clothing. Her lip and chin are tattooed
Attribution Some rights reserved by Alaskan Dude

So with all these arbitrary and (at least in the modern world) rapidly changing standards of beauty, why worry about whether or not you fit someone else’s definition of beautiful?  I’m not advocating poor hygiene or going around in baggy sweats all the time.  I’m just saying, be the best YOU you can be.  If you’re happy with yourself, that’s the most important thing.

What do you think?  Do you try to keep up with the world’s standard of beauty?  Please leave your comment below.

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