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Beauty Around the World

Beauty Around the World

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In Africa, traditional beauty celebrates a women’s curvy and voluptuous figure. In Mauritania, women are celebrated for their plump arms, thick ankles, broad child-bearing hips and big butts. In these cultures, a woman’s lustrous round body implies her desirability, her value in being a suitable pick for a wife, and is also reflective of her family’s wealth.

In contrast to the Western love of tanned skin, in parts of Asia and especially in Japan, light skin is a sign of beauty. They take every precaution to avoid sunlight as it tans and ages skin, which is why Asian men and women have such luminous skin and look so young in old age. In every Japanese arcade there are photo booths that will Photoshop your image to lighten your skin, slim your hips and make your eyes larger to make you more beautiful.

Another interesting debate currently in Japan is over tattoos. In Western society they are becoming increasingly popular and are often seen as attractive, but in Japan there is a strong negative stigma towards them. Even the smallest, most insignificant tattoo will get you thrown out or prohibited from entering certain public places with pools and gyms often having signs outside. One reason for this is possibly because of their association with the mafia and criminal underworld.

I once had the pleasure of visiting the Huaorani tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. They have only recently been introduced to sugars and flour from outside visitors, so with their diets missing the ingredients that would rot their teeth or cause cavities they had little need for dental hygiene. They have perfectly straight, white teeth! When trying to impress a future wife or husband they would take some black berries from a specific leafy bush and wipe it around their teeth and gums to blacken and unnecessarily clean their teeth. This is considered as highly attractive and beautiful when done and only kept to special occasions.

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