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Perceptions of perfection: A global view

Article-Perceptions of perfection: A global view

How do perceptions of beauty vary by country? That's the question that inspired Superdrug online doctors to commission Fractl, a content marketing agency, to perform an investigative study on the perceptions of beauty around the world. They asked female freelance designers in 18 different countries to use Photoshop to alter the same female image to make her most attractive to citizens of their country with minimal restrictions, no nudity allowed. The result is a series of photographs that begins with the original image and is followed by 18 altered images to show the comparisons. 

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words


A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

The dictionary defines beauty as something that cannot be judged objectively, for what one finds beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another, and ultimately this study confirms this notion.

An example of the types of changes made to represent a country's "ideal" body type.

While countries like Columbia and Spain returned an image similar to the original, others — including the U.S., Argentina and the Philippines — show an exaggerated form of the classic hourglass figure and still others — Italy and China — are the thinnest “preferred” body types.

Interestingly, as Jason Emer, M.D., pointed out to Cosmetic Surgery Times, it wasn’t just the original woman's waist to hip ratio or breast size that was changed. “What i find fascinating about these specifically is, not only were the body shapes and facial features changed, but the clothing (underwear, boots, etc.), hair and skin color were also changed.” This, he says, demonstrates the extent to which people strive to perfect every little detail. “It shows that an ideal is often extenuated and unobtainable and varies globally. It also demonstrates the need for understanding the different desires of niche groups and how this may impact cosmetic treatments.”

Dr. Emer, a CST Board Member, specializes in body work and frequently lectures at conferences on perceptions of beauty and how it varies across cultures, sexes and locations. 

Click here for more information on this study.

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