Beauty Ideals Around the World: The Men Speak Out

A few weeks ago I spoke with women who had grown up in other countries, to find out if girls around the world are subjected to the same harsh beauty standards as those here in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Caitlin Epstein Photography
Model: Savannah Lambert

I decided to continue to explore this issue to find out what men think, and what they experienced growing up. Meet Neil and Ash, who gave some insight (and the male point of view) on these issues. 

Ash (a software consultant, model and singer) discusses beauty ideals in India

Dani: Do the girls spend a lot of time hating themselves/how they look?
Ash: No because the main focus growing up irrespective of gender is career/education...since competition is tough, the pressure is more about getting good grades, not good looks.

Dani: Do girls make fun of each other?
Ash: Girls having a dark complexion might get mocked or be receptive of sarcastic comments but not by other girls - by grown old women with a patriarchal mentality… but it’s not seen much in metro cities.

Dani: Is it expected that women be thin/beautiful?
Ash: As a teen maybe not, but during marriage probably yes...Mostly when family is looking for a bride for arranged marriages.

Photo courtesy of Photos by Luna
Models: Ash and Gwendolyn

Dani: What is the expectation? Do girls wear makeup and fix themselves up just to go to the store?

Ash: Expectation is to be presentable. No one does makeup to just go to the store. No one applies makeup daily anyway…teens absolutely not

Dani: Is there any bullying going on?
Ash: Not because of looks

Dani: Do men date and marry girls who aren't as pretty or thin?
Ash: Of course they do, but in arranged marriage the expectation is that the girl is pretty, but not to confuse with model like...(just) in comparison with groom or his family...the more wealthy a family is, the more good-looking girl they look for - that's not very common but certainly happens.

Dani: Are the boys/men respectful to girls?
Ash: Yes

Dani: Do the girls that aren't thin or pretty starve themselves? Get plastic surgery? Get depressed?
Ash: Diet and other beauty related concerns are only seen during marriage and that's only temporary to look good in wedding pics, LOL, and this is true for both guys and girls.
Plastic surgery is almost negligible...It’s expensive and no one goes to that extent.

Dani: If girls get teased or bullied at school do the teachers know? Do they say anything?
Ash: As I said, bullying over looks doesn't happen, as education is the priority in India. And teachers know everything - at least mine knew!

You can keep up with Ash's modeling/singing career here:

Snapchat: ash5ings

Neil (a Physical Therapist, Volunteer Firefighter and College Instructor) gives his opinion on America's standards
Photo courtesy of Rick Badillo Photography

Dani: Talk to me about beauty ideals in America
Neil: I find there is enormous pressure from almost everywhere that girls must conform to a specific very narrow set of qualities to be considered "beautiful".  Thin, very thin, is pushed from an almost inconceivably early age.  I mean, pre-adolescent girls are already worried about body image!  Something is very wrong with that. 
Personally, I find the women I see in fashion, and marketing, whatever media it is, to be TOO thin.  They are not unattractive but the super skinny body has little appeal.  I know that I am in the minority among a lot of guys, but I find women with curves far more attractive than the model skinny ideal.

Dani: What about girls being talked about behind the scenes?
Neil: This is something that I have heard since I was an early teen.  Boys did talk about girls behind the scenes - who was considered cute/pretty/sexy and why. As a teen, most of the time my guy friends liked the skinny girls with big boobs. I guess I was the same, having teen boy crushes on models and actresses.
A girl who was considered overweight got made fun of - sometimes it was really mean too. The nicknames were awful.

Both of my parents made sure that I and my brothers were considerate of other people and their feelings so I didn't take part in that, but I am ashamed to say I didn't do as much as I could to stop it either.  
Over time though my beauty ideal changed. I find all body types attractive, but it really is a woman with curves that I find most attractive. SO much more than that though, is being beautiful on the inside.  If someone has a beautiful soul, a caring personality, everything about them becomes even more beautiful.
As I have gotten older (more mature?) I have found that I don't care if my beautiful girlfriend may not be exactly what the media considers "perfect".  So what if she has stretch marks, or a little more of a tummy than she would like.  I know she may not like them but to me they are just a small part of what makes her the person I love. I adore everything about her.

Dani: As a guy, what confuses you about the way women approach their looks?
Neil: I am always wondering why so many women feel like they don't look good or pretty without makeup on. Most guys I know feel the same way. We certainly appreciate when our significant others take the time to do their makeup. I for one find my girlfriend just as pretty, and truthfully even more pretty, when she is just lounging around the house with no makeup. I get to see all of the little features (like cute freckles) that are just for me!

What does your guy think about the standards we as women are held to? Email or comment below and let us know!

1 comment :

  1. Hi,

    Nice post.Love to read your post.You’re never too old to become younger ;-)


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