Beauty Around the World.
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How do you define beauty? Is it a small waist and large breasts? A perfect smile and straight hair? If you flip through the pages of an American fashion magazine, you may think beauty is narrowly defined...but that's not the case. From thick ankles to small noses, women from different continents are revealing what's considered beautiful in their countries.
African women from the Masaai tribe shave their heads, and wear beaded necklaces and bracelets
Mara says Japanese women believe their skin is the key to true beauty. Miki Okae, one of Japan's most famous beauty experts, says the ideal is fair, smooth skin. "Everyone demands that," she says. While some Americans get collagen and Botox injections to erase wrinkles, Japanese women believe in a different approach. They consume collagen-infused foods. Miki says eating collagen-rich beef tendons is a regular part of her beauty routine.
On the border of Burma and Thailand, members of the Kayan tribe begin their beauty rituals at a young age. At just 5 years old, girls start wearing brass rings around their necks, a ritual that's centuries old. As they grow older, more rings are added, and eventually, their necks start to look elongated, giving them a giraffe-like appearance. For these women, the shiny brass rings are the ultimate sign of female elegance and status. Some neck pieces can weigh up to 22 pounds. "If I take the rings off now, I won't look nice anymore," one woman says. "They really are a part of my life."
The Maori people of New Zealand practice a sacred beauty ritual tattooing. These indigenous people, who are of Polynesian descent, believe women are more attractive when their lips and chins are tattooed. A woman with full, blue lips is considered the most beautiful and desirable.
For the women of the Karo tribe in southern Ethiopia, beauty is literally skin deep. During childhood, girls allow their elders to cut scars onto their stomachs. "The main reason for my scars is to attract a male that will give me joy, because I will be beautiful and hopefully get a husband," says one girl during her Taboo interview. Once a Karo girl has received the last of her scars, she's allowed to marry and have children.
Each year more than 1,000 tons of human hair are imported into the United States and used to create extensions and weaves. Some of the best quality and most desirable hair comes from India. Where do they get all these long locks? Some of it originates at the Venkateswara Temple in southern India, one of Hinduism's holiest sites. Many of the worshipers who visit this temple leave a special offering for Lord Venkateswara, their hair. Every day, thousands of Hindus sit before the temple barbers to offer their hair and please the God. Annually, the temple earns about $18 million selling this hair to exporters. For short extensions clients in America pay $2,000, and if you want longer hair, it will cost you as much as $4,000.
Houda, a woman who grew up in Mauritania, says serious health issues associated with obesity don't deter women from wanting a big body. "When you're skinny, you're even considered as sick or there's something wrong with you," she says. "Women that are fat, they're really happy."
Thick ankles, plump arms and a big butt are considered the most beautiful parts of a woman, Houda says. And don't worry if you have a few stretch marks the men in Mauritania love 'em!