Across the globe, beauty means different things to different people. There’s an innate connection without our inner beauty and outer beauty, and much of this is deep-rooted in cultural traditions and heritage. Throughout the world, beauty practices vary tremendously. While some stick to traditional beauty practices passed down from generation to generation, others use beauty to challenge conventional norms and stereotypes. All of us are different from one another, and it’s our unique backgrounds and experiences that define how we view beauty.
Not every person has the same standard of beauty, and this is especially clear when taking a look at various cultures throughout the world. Traditions of the past can be considered painful and unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop them from playing a part in cultural practices. From foot binding in China, to scarification in Sudan, to neck stretching in Burma, and teeth cutting in Indonesia, these cultural customs have been passed down over time. Growing up in the 21st century these practices may seem over the top, but these beauty rituals of adornment are hugely significant and still play an important role today. Our connection with heritage and beauty is multifaceted, and whilst these ideals may not be typical ideal for many its important to understand and respect these deep-rooted traditions that have evolved with time.
For many women and men today, the relationship between modern beauty and cultural significance is a tricky one. How do we make sure our culture stays relevant with modern day beauty expectations? Culture rules many, and if you don’t follow cultural norms you can be judged – or worse, outcasted or ostracised. Cultural norms can get lost over time, and if you’ve never had anyone pass down traditional beauty rituals sometimes you have to create your own. Social media has a huge part to play in dismantling the belief that theres one type of beauty, or that cultural beauty is no longer relevant. Whats great about living in the age of sharing is we can blend cultural beauty ideals with modern day techniques and practices, and the two can coexist together harmoniously.
Many people today try to imitate what they see online; they copy global trends, and instead of being themselves they end up looking like everyone else. There’s a lot of pressure in todays society to look and act a certain way, and if you don’t fit in your rejected. Why are we pushing our cultural beauty practices to the side, and loosing ourselves in the process? Being original and true to yourself is always better than being a copy of someone else. In todays society, beauty can allow you to take back self-control and provide you with a sense of identity. More and more of us are refusing to allow society to stunt us for challenging the ideals of beauty we see dictated by mainstream media, instead choosing to experiment whilst remaining authentic.
The way we now view beauty has become a mix of our cultural background and heritage, and modern day practices and ideals. Elements of beauty have now been combined, and there’s no right or wrong in the way we do things. It’s important for us to honour beauty ideals that have been passed down from generation to generation, whilst also accepting that with time things change and people move on. You can keep alive the spirit of your culture whilst having fun with beauty, and being true to yourself. It is possible to have it all.
Written by J’Nae Phillips