Throughout human history, the world has witnessed several unusual and downright bizarre traditions when it comes to upholding standards of beauty. Through the ages, standards of beauty, and the means to achieve them, have tested our limits for gross and gag-inducing phantom pains.
From the long list of strange beauty practices, here is our rundown of the most bizarre rituals from across the world. Beauty truly lies in the eyes of the beholder, or the tribe or community that conditions you to buy in to a painful oppressive notion of beauty. Here’s proof.
1. Receding Hairline.
In 14th century England, the forehead was considered the most beautiful part of a woman’s face, and women went to great lengths to expose their forehead. From plucking their eyebrows to gradually pulling out and reducing their hairline, women tried it all to get the perfect oval face.
2. Men’s calves over abs.
Women’s legs are highly admired these days, but back in the Middle Ages and well through the 18th century, men’s calves were what it was all about. Men wore stockings like women in order to show off their well-shaped calves, and some even wore padding inside their stockings to improve their unsatisfactory gams. King Henry VIII, for example, was renowned for his excellent calves.
3.Beauty Patches were in.
In the 18th century, the previous standard of bare-faced women disappeared, and women began wearing heavy makeup. They also started wearing beauty patches, small pieces of fabric that were adhered to the face. They came in many shapes, such as stars, circles, and squares, and their placement on the face had specific meaning. For example, one by the mouth implied flirtatiousness, and one on the right cheek meant that the woman was married.
4. Dimple horror in the 1930’s.
In 1936, Isabelle Gilbert invented a machine that allegedly created dimples. Marketed to women, the machine had two knobs that pressed into the wearer’s cheeks.
The device was painful, and it didn’t even work. Plus, the American Medical Association said it could potentially cause cancer. Luckily, this trend didn’t last long
5. Thin waist madness.
Although the hourglass figure has always held a special appeal across Western cultures, the Victorians took their obsession to a whole new level in their use of corsets. These waist-cinching devices, while successful in achieving a “wasp waist,” had some major health repercussions. Besides causing fainting spells, which the era’s ladies unsurprisingly became famous for, the restriction on women’s lungs likely worsened potentially deadly ailments like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
The Greeks embraced a truly low maintenance beauty look: the unibrow. Yes, that’s right—no need for tweezers back in the ancient days. This singular stretch of hair was so desirable—it denoted intelligence—that separated brows were even joined using kohl or dark pastes.
7. Obsession with Fair skin tone.
In India, fair complexion is considered the ultimate beauty standard. Although the natural skin of Indian women is of beautiful brown colour, still they are compelled by society to use products to make their skin colour ‘lighter’ and hence ‘beautiful truly’.
Korean women, also consider fair, very fair skin to be the ultimate beauty standard. In the country, darker skin is considered a sign of low social status and lesser wealth. They willingly hide their naturally beautiful porcelain skin under an artificial sham of blinding fairness.