10 Of The Most Bizarre, Strange Beauty Standards Ever

Beauty isn't skin deep, and it definitely isn't universal.

woman measuring her waist Red Umbrella and Donkey / Shutterstock

In the Western world where we worship women like Heidi Klum, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Aniston, it's easy to assume there's one universal definition of beauty. In America, we like a woman who is blonde, busty, tall, tan, and thin. God forbid she stray from the status quo.

But beauty isn't skin deep, ladies and gentlemen, and it isn't universal either. It turns out, the definition of beauty and success for a woman isn't based on her cosmetic line or cup size but on her country of origin. So what beauty secrets and standards make women considered beautiful?


Check out 10 of the most bizarre, strange beauty standards ever:

1. Bandages make her dance

Not bands, but bandages, are all the rage in certain Middle-Eastern countries. In Iran, also known as the Nose Job Capital of the World, men and women alike are all about the scalpel-slimmed nasal look. You've heard the ideology, if you've got it, flaunt it. Well, with such strict wardrobe limitations for women, these ladies are making sure what they've got left to flaunt is filed, threaded, and kohl-lined to perfection.


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2. Is your neck getting longer, or are you just happy to see me? 

The mark of a beautiful, desirable woman in Thailand is not a ring on a finger, but the number of rings on her neck. That's right, from a young age, Kayan tribe females clasp brass rings around their necks that push their shoulders down, creating the illusion of an elongated neck. These women, known as "long-necks," are the image of beauty in Thailand.

3. Divorced is a new desire 

At least for Mauritanian men, a divorced woman is one of desire. If she's newly single, with plump ankles and/or stretch marks, say no more. Obesity is a sign of wealth and status. Females often go so far as to force-feed their daughters up to 16,000 calories daily to make them more attractive to men.

4. Uhh, you've got a little something ... oh, is that a moko? 

Here in America, we leave the face tats to the rappers, and blue lips are associated with overdosing on pop stars. In New Zealand, the ultimate sign of beauty is full, blue lips and chin tattoos. The Maori people have been rocking the "moko," or swirling, blue tattoo ink on the chin, for decades.


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5. Foot fetish has gone too far

Though foot binding is no longer common in China, the reputation of lust for tiny feet will forever live in infamy. In this painful beauty treatment, women's toes are broken and pushed up against the foot's sole with bandages tightly wrapped and sewn around the foot. This limited the mobility of women, both physically and politically, which aroused Chinese men to no end.

6. Hourglass, pear-shaped, and ... guitar-shaped? 

Brazil has brought us brown, busty beauties and one of the most popular bikini waxes. Back home, however, Brazilians have a slightly different definition of attractive. You may have heard of a woman's shape is compared to all sorts of fruits, but they prefer big hips, a small chest, and a nice, round rear ... better known as the "guitar shape."

7. Au Naturale

When you think of the French, you may think of the fries, the funny hats, and, of course, the kissing. What you may forget to mention is the natural look of a woman sans cosmetics, perfumes, or shaving. While we may question the French's embraced au natural look, they find our obsession with makeup and beauty products equally amusing.


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8. Western, wide-eyed, and wild 

In South Korea, men are always keeping their eyes peeled for the perfect Western-looking woman. Meanwhile, the women of South Korea are just getting their eyes peeled. That's right, the look to have in South Korea is one with wide, round eyes, and women are willing to go as far as surgery to achieve it.

9. I keep bleeding love, but what about the scars? 

We've heard all the love songs about the wounds and woes of loved ones lost, but what about the marks made to find a lover? In Ethiopia, women mutilate their bodies, creating scars in intricate swirls in order to attract a hubby. Once a young girl has enough scars, she is of age to marry and start a family.

10. What better way to gauge his attraction than with your ear lobes? 

An attractive look in Kenyan culture is none other than gauged ears and a shaved head. Masai women pierce their ears and adorn themselves with all sorts of beads and accessories. They often stretch their lobes using elephant tusks, which is the elephant equivalent of a tooth. While we're on the subject of teeth, these women also remove the two center teeth from their lower jaws.


Some say they were born in the wrong decade to be considered beautiful, but it might be they were just born on the wrong side of the globe. Think these women are beautiful, bizarre, or both? See if your friends on social media agree. If you've got a cultural definition of beauty that can top these, share it with us in the comments!

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Hayley Matthews is a writer who focuses on love and relationships. She oversees content strategy, social media engagement, and media opportunities for Dating Advice.