Beauty, as the saying goes, is subjective. However, there’s an implicit understanding that beauty standards differ from country to country. It’s widely acknowledged that what is considered beautiful in one part of the world may not be regarded the same way in another, contributing to global diversity. Yet, this diversity also brings forth the challenge of imposing sometimes stringent beauty standards. In an effort to highlight this, an experiment conducted by Superdrug Online Doctor aimed to examine local beauty standards in various countries and compare them. According to the organization, “Since perceptions of beauty can vary significantly worldwide, our study on the ideal body image sought to compare as many diverse opinions as possible.”
To delve into the diverse perceptions of beauty worldwide, the website reached out to 18 graphic designers, furnishing them with an initial picture of a girl. The objective was for these designers to reimagine the image to mirror the beauty standards prevalent in their respective countries. Superdrug Online Doctor expressed, “Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men. 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 initial plan was to engage female graphic designers to edit the picture, aiming for a clearer, woman’s perspective on what their culture deems attractive and to gain insights into the pressures they experience. However, the roster of collaborating designers was expanded to include four men, with the stipulation that they would actively seek input from women and adjust the picture based on their feedback.
The final outcomes often make the original photo almost unrecognizable. In some cases, countries in North and South America depict an exaggerated hourglass figure, portraying a somewhat unrealistic view of women. On the other hand, certain European and Asian countries lean towards a very slim and petite build, at times verging on unhealthy standards. Superdrug Online Doctor has mentioned plans to broaden the study further, with the potential inclusion of men in the next iteration.