Attractiveness and cultures

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Attractiveness and cultures

Does a culture affect attractiveness?
Are there universal standards for beauty or is there a variation in such standards across different cultures??

Long ago in cultures where food was scarce heavy women were regarded as more attractive than slim ones. According to the culture at that time being heavy meant that the women was wealthy enough to buy the scare food. Later on when food became widely available and people started associating obesity with unhealthiness slim women became more attractive.

Definitely the culture affects attractiveness in a way or another. Long ago a tan was completely unattractive as it usually indicated that the person had to work outdoors most of the time and that was not rich enough to work in an office. These days the opposite is true because of the change in culture. Nowadays a tan usually indicates that the person is wealthy enough to think about getting tanned and to travel to somewhere that can help him get tanned.

Culture affects perceived attractiveness

There is no doubt that culture affects perceived attractiveness but the important question is, is there a universal culture that makes beauty standards the same all over the world?

Research has shown that even if there are slight variations in preferences among people still there are general beauty standards that everyone agrees upon across all cultures.

Because of globalization, the wide use of the internet and the advancement in the telecommunications industry the western culture has managed to promote its beauty standards to the whole world and to almost every culture.

Isolated tribes that have their own culture and that are not exposed to any other cultures still have their own unique beauty standards and their unique definition for attractiveness. This shows that if each culture was isolated from the others then attractiveness measures would have been completely different from a culture to another.

Individual Attractiveness preferences and culture

Culture isn't the only thing that determines attractiveness because it was found that each person has his own attractiveness standards that he learned as a result of his past experiences.

For example if a person lives in a culture that taught him that slim women are attractive then this person might get attracted to a slim women but in the same time he will add his own preferences in order to be able to choose from the many slim women he knows.

While a big part of attraction is biological (for example men are attracted to women who have hour glass body shape since ancient times) still the culture can play a role in tweaking these attractiveness standards.

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