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Saturday, August 9, 2014

External Beauty- East Versus West

A high school friend of mine who also recently moved back to the USA from Singapore asked me what I missed about Singapore. Besides the lifestyle and food (which I wrote all about on my old blog), I find that I miss the standard of beauty there. She was completely shocked- after all, Asian women frequently get double-eyelid surgery and use whitening skin products. I thought about it for a while, and decided to break it down.

I think it's safe to say that what defines beauty in East Asia is pale skin, high-ish cheekbones, v-line jaw, big eyes, thick long hair, and slimness. There is not that much variation in the model, and that's why beautiful (or plastic-surgery altered) Asian women are often said to look alike. Every single member of the popular K-Pop band Girl's Generation fits this mould, and they are all considered extremely beautiful.

In the West, beauty is harder to define. There are different standards of beauty depending on ethnic group and niche that person belongs to. In high fashion, models are often pale and considered beautiful. On the beach, tan skin is desirable. Fitness is generally prized, but curves are more accepted.  Hair can be beautiful in a rainbow of colours, or even the colours of the rainbow. Beyonce is beautiful. Karlie Kloss is beautiful. Incredibly different, but still as "beautiful".

I prefer the Asian standards of beauty because they are move achievable for me. I don't need eyelid surgery (lucky me), my hair is long, and I'm short and pretty slim. The Asian standards are much more easy to achieve because they are narrower and easier to define. In the West, because everything can pass as beautiful, it's harder to truly be defined as such.



All of Girl's Generation: Big eyes, pale, v-line jaw, generally cute





Lady Gaga and Beyonce: totally different! Both fit and sexy, but that's about it for similarities.

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4 comments:

  1. Then there's the "taste" or "elegance" factor. Raunch seems more acceptable in Western standards of beauty--stripper chic, so to speak--even amongst 30- and 40-somethings. Not appealing. The modesty (traditionalism? classicism?) of East Asian standards seem more humanistic, more about grace than flash/ing.

    Am I first commenter? You know I can't resist East/West comparisons. :)

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    1. Yes, you are the first commenter! I agree that raunch is a big factor in Western beauty, but I also think it affects the personality/mentality behind how women view themselves as beauty. I'll remember comment when I write "Internal Beauth- East versus West"!

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    2. Very interesting angles. Maybe "and" instead of "versus," though? I often ding myself for making them oppositional. Makes listeners defensive instead of receptive, at worst.

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    3. I agree that since this post is not strongly comparative, "and" is probably a better word choice. I'll keep that in mind in the future... especially because there are more similarities in the "inner beauty" category than "outer".

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Thanks for the comment! I read every single one :D

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