To What Extent Does Cultural Background Influence Ones Perception of Human Beauty

Topics: Beauty, Culture, Human Pages: 2 (699 words) Published: May 31, 2011
To what extent does cultural background influence ones perception of human beauty? “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This famous quote simply expresses the universal concept of beauty has no intrinsic or definite meaning. From this, one can derive that beauty can be nothing more than the subjective perception of human individuals-it is all based on ones predilection and proclivity. However, it is not just to say that anything can be considered as beautiful, thus contradiction does not exist in perceptions of beauty. As one can see, there are certain guidelines to beauty. Whether it is the inner or outer beauty of a human being, the concept of beauty that society imposes is all shaped from general consensus. Then perhaps “Beauty is not one’s own, but a reflection of one’s culture”. Even though nothing can be defined as absolute beauty, due to the limitation ones cultural backgrounds created from the subjective nature of perception, Human beings in the end will still unite their perception of beauty to a universal degree of understanding. The rift in the perception of physical beauty between cultures can be placed on two ends of a spectrum. In both Western and Eastern Culture’s ideology of beauty, having a slender body is crucial to be considered as an attractive woman. However, as we shift our view to the third world countries in Africa, this measure takes a drastic turn and becomes weak and meaningless. In those countries where poverty and diseases are the plays a key role, plumpness-being the sign of health, wealth and fertility is the ideal beauty of a woman. Moreover, a culture’s own tradition of beauty cannot be overlooked. Padaung women of the Kayan people wear a special ornament called neck rings around the neck of an individual to create a visual appearance of a stretched long neck. This tradition of elongating necks to achieve beauty is probably not accepted by others. Furthermore, the influential power of media cultural also alters ones...
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