How Does Your Brand of Beauty Measure Across the Globe?

May 19, 2016

Do you look in the mirror and see a beautiful person–inside and out–and yet find it a challenge to feel appreciated within the strict beauty standards of the Hollywood industry? Or maybe you’re an actor who indeed meets the criteria of attractiveness within the biz, and feel confident that producers and directors quickly perceive your looks as an asset. If this applies to you, consider yourself blessed! But, you might be surprised to see how various nations across the globe regard your brand of beauty. You might not be all that on a different continent. On the other hand, some of you who are considered flawed by Hollywood’s standards may be the bees knees in some foreign land. And that goes for whether you’re male or female according to a project called Perceptions of Perfection Across the Borders by the online doctors at Superdrug.com.


The United Kingdom online pharmacy, Superdrug Online Doctors, was curious to know if the ideal woman’s body size and shape was pretty much the same in a variety of countries. So, they photographed a woman and sent the image to mostly female graphic designers from 18 different countries to be Photoshopped to “fit with their culture’s perceptions of beauty and an ideal female form.” The online pharmacy’s goal was to “better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world.” The results are compelling. Indeed, considerable differences are clear to see. Some designer’s alterations made the original photo almost unrecognizable due to changes in weight, waist-to-hip ratio, hair color, facial features, and attire. Extreme alterations include China and Italy creating the thinnest images with an estimated Body Mass Index of 17 which falls into the anorexic range (18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy in adults). On the other hand, imagine if Hollywood was stationed in countries like Spain, Colombia, and Romania where they embrace fuller figures as the ideal!


Superdrug recently followed up their study, but this time the goal was to find, “What does the ideal man look like?” In turn, they took the self-portrait of a New York photographer and asked both male and female graphic designers from 19 different countries to Photoshop the image with the goal of producing their own take of an attractive man from the country they represented. Once again, dramatic differences were apparent whether it be in changes in weight, various levels of a chiseled physique, fullness of hair, and even a tattoo.

A British study revealed that more than four in five men (80.7%) speak about anxiety with their body image and perceived flaws as compared to 75% of women who were found to do the same. Whether it be beer bellies, “man boobs,” going bald, or believing they’re not muscular enough, the research highlighted that pressure to look a certain way is not just a female issue. Therefore, the online pharmacy said: “Our goal with this project is to fuel a revolution: to spark real change about body image, to empower people to prioritize health above appearance, and to promote body confidence around the world.”

Based on the results of the project, Superdrug agrees with the proverbial wisdom, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder;” but, this piece of work illustrates how much culture can play in people’s opinions.

Which country do you think your brand of beauty would best be celebrated? And by the way, you’re gorgeous just the way you are!