Does ethnicity and culture affect the perception of beauty?

19/02/2020
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Perception of beauty

 

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, yet the pursuit of beauty is universal. The quest for both men and women to look good and the need to enhance one’s appearance is on the rise worldwide, irrespective of culture and ethnicity.

 

The beauty industry has ever-changing trends. History shows that the definition of beauty differs with time. Today’s trends such as large eyes, small nose, high cheekbones and fuller lips were not always the universal markers of beauty with our predecessors.

 

Therefore, are we getting it wrong when it comes to aesthetics? Should we be chasing trends? Or should we stop and think that what we really need to do is to enhance the features that we were given?

  

Influence of ethnicity/culture

 

The features of attractiveness differ with ethnicity and culture. This is evident from the Greek canon of beauty tracing as far back as 4000 years ago.  The diversity of features range from Caucasians, Hispanics, Black/African Descent, East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern and within each of these ethnic groups lies an array of their own. 

 

With such diversity bringing a vast difference to the definition of beauty, we should celebrate each other’s uniqueness. Therefore, it is important for an aesthetic practitioner to understand a patient’s ethnic characteristics to meet their expectations and to enhance their features.

 

Let’s look into some of these facial features and how they differ within certain ethnic groups.

 

  1. Nose

When it comes to the Caucasian female nose, it is slightly higher when compared to an Asian female nose. The ideal Asian female nose tip is rounder than their Caucasian counterparts whilst African female noses are shorter and wider.

 

 

  1.  Face shape and jaw           

Compared to Asian women, Caucasian women have a relatively larger forehead with a smaller jaw and a round face. Chinese women instead have narrow cheeks and chin but wider temples whilst African women have a longer and wider face.

 

 

  1. Lips

Everyone heard about the golden ratio? This is supposedly the ideal ratio of the height of the upper lip to lower lip being 1:1.6. Caucasian women tend to prefer larger and fuller lips. Think Angelina Jolie… yes. THAT coveted look. Interestingly with the traditional Chinese culture, Asian women prefer slightly smaller lips because back in the days, there was a saying “small cherry mouth” used to describe beautiful Asian women with dainty lips. African women also prefer fuller lips but interestingly their lips are usually more of a 1:1 ratio.


Are you starting to agree that the definition of attractiveness is influenced by ethnicity and culture? Let’s look at face shape in slightly more detail.

 

Whilst Asian women find that having a small jaw best suit their face shape, Caucasian women prefer a slightly squarer and well-defined jaw. Furthermore, when it comes to women of Chinese descent, a shorter face with the oval and inverted triangle is seen to be the most attractive facial type. African women on the other hand generally prefer a full face, but those exposed to the western influence prefer a thinner face.


So food for thought. When it comes to your face and enhancing your features, have you ever stopped to think “Is there really a one-size-fit-all treatment when there lies a fundamental difference in features with different cultures and ethnicities?”

 

There is no hard-fast rule when it comes to your face. Beauty is a perception, more importantly it’s your perception so we say celebrate what makes you uniquely you and enhance what you have! This brings us to a key point, when choosing an aesthetic practitioner, make sure they understand and respect the features that you have and tailor your treatment accordingly.

 

P/S: For all the men out there reading this article, unfortunately, there hasn’t been much discussion on the perception of beauty pertaining to men (talk about equality!), hence the focus on women. BUT fear not, we will be discussing the different perception of attractiveness in men versus women in due course so stay tuned! We would love to hear your thoughts! Leave us any comments or questions and we will get back to you.

 

Stay safe and signing out,

 

Dylan

 

Disclaimer: This is the personal view of the SafeAP team and is not to be substituted with professional advice given by a qualified healthcare professionals.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952987/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamafacialplasticsurgery/fullarticle/479864
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313685971_The_Current_Preferred_Female_Lip_Ratio
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123330/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1015958416301798#fig1
  6. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048116



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