What The 'Ideal' Woman Looks Like Around The World

Photo: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock
group of women different bodies

Beauty can come in many different forms. What one person finds attractive or beautiful in another is entirely subjective, but how does one country or culture's perception of beauty differ from another? Is what's considered beautiful in Italy the same as Mexico?

What are the "perfect" or "ideal" female body types around the world?

The folks at Superdrug Online Doctors wanted to know the answer to that very question. To do so, they conducted a study wherein they commissioned graphic designers in 18 countries to take part in their effort to investigate perceptions of beauty around the world.

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Obviously, the first thing you think of on an ideal woman's body are large breasts, slim waists, and skinny legs, right? That's because that idea has been reinforced by men throughout time.

Ten years ago in the United States, low rise jeans and being skinny was the "it" trend. However, after women like Kate Upton, Kim Kardashian and others had an influence through film, TV, music videos, and social media, the ideal "skinny" body type went out of style; people now rave over being curvy or slim thick — basically having a small waist and a big butt. 

What is an ideal woman?

The "ideal" woman has a great personality, is smart, honest, enthusiastic, funny, and loving. But, according to societal standards, this ideal woman has certain physical features: big eyes, long hair, skinny waist, and so on.

Luckily, there are men who see the ideal woman as someone who is confident and loves their own body; in fact, that makes women more attractive to men. While some men only look for a certain body type, just remind yourself that you don't need a man who makes you feel insecure.

But the truth is that there is no ideal woman, because all bodies are different and all bodies are beautiful.

There's no way to have an ideal body because every woman has a different body shape. But what are the qualities of an ideal woman, aside from her physical traits?  The qualities of an ideal woman should be based on her personality and nature, not her body. 

As the creators of this project said, "The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world."

The selected designers were all given the same image of one woman, along with these instructions: "Photoshop her form. The idea is to Photoshop and retouch this woman to make her more attractive to the citizens of your country. We are looking to explore how perceptions of beauty change across the world. Multiple designers are involved. You can modify the clothing, but her form must be visible. No nudity. All other changes, including those to her shape and form, are up to you."

This is the original image:

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

The creators of the study originally sought out only female graphic designers, saying they wanted "a woman's view of what her culture finds attractive and to understand more about the pressures they face."

However, to get more entries from a wider range of countries, they eventually accepted contributions from four men, with the caveat that they "first seek input from women and base their design changes on this feedback."

Here are the resulting images showing the "perfect" female body type in 18 countries around the world.

1. Argentina

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

2. China

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

3. Colombia

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

4. Egypt

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

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5. Italy

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

6. Mexico

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

7. The Netherlands

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

8. Peru

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

9. Phillippines

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

10. Romania

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

11. Serbia

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

12. South Africa

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

13. Spain

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

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14. Syria

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

15. United Kingdom

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

16. United States of America

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

17. Ukraine

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

18. Venezuela

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

Once the results were in, the researchers also conducted a brief survey to estimate the corresponding weights, heights and BMI measurements of the body sizes depicted in each image.

Image: Superdrug Online Doctor

If it were possible, it would be fun to do this kind of study — but instead of the ideal woman from various countries, instead focus on women throughout the centuries.

What was considered beautiful in the time of Henry VIII certainly doesn't match ideal beauty from the 1800s, as each historical period had its own ideas on what they considered beautiful.

And, of course, let's bring on the men!

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on August 27, 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

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