The Attainment of Beauty & Attractiveness across Cultures

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The Attainment of Beauty & Attractiveness across Cultures What is beauty? Beauty is defined as “the quality of being physically attractive or the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind” (Merriam-Webster dictionary, 2014, para. 1). Heine (2012) has found that beauty and attractiveness can vary across cultures. Although, there are specific features of a person that seem to be considered as beautiful and attractive across all culture spectrums. These features are: complexion, bilateral symmetry, average sized facial features, and biracial faces. However, weight in regards to attractiveness and beauty varies drastically across cultures. Through this discovery, there may be a correlation between the perception of beauty and attractiveness in each culture and its effects of body dissatisfaction and eating disorder rates. Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder? We will examine how what is considered to be attractive and beautiful can have both similarities and differences across cultures. In addition, we will examine eating disorders, and how they are influenced by the beauty standards that are set in specific cultures. Who Defines Beauty? First, one must ponder a couple of questions: who defines beauty in today’s culture and society? Does the mass media industry define beauty? Everywhere one turns in advertisements, commercials, TV shows, movies, magazines, etc. someone is telling us what “beauty” is. The allure of celebrities and the beauty they exude, definitely influences the beauty those in the Western culture strive to be and are attracted too. Television, movies, magazines, advertisements that come from the Western culture have influenced cultures around the world. Due to the high i... ... middle of paper ... ...ychology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Merriam-Webster. (2014). Beauty definition. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beauty Nasser, M. (2006). Eating disorders across cultures. Psychiatry, 5(11), 392-395. National Institute of Mental Health. (2014). What are eating disorders?. NIMH. Retrieved rom http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders.shtml Soh, N. L., Touyz, S. W., & Surgenor, L. J. (2006). Eating and body image disturbances across cultures: a review. European Eating Disorders Review, 14(1), 54-65. doi:10.1002/erv.678 Soh, N., Surgenor, L. J., Touyz, S., & Walter, G. (2007). Eating disorders across two cultures: does the expression of psychological control vary?. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41(4), 351-358. doi:10.1080/00048670701213278

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