Compare And Contrast European/American Ideals Of Beauty With Ideals Of Beauty In Non-western – Coursework Example

Comparison and Contrast: Western and Non-Western Beauty Ideals Table of Contents Western vs. Non-Western Beauty Ideals References Western vs. Non-Western Beauty Ideals
There are profound differences in the ideals of beauty between western and non-western perspectives, and the differences stem from a perspective on especially female beauty, as being something that is not universally defined but rather something that is conditioned by culture and by both fixed and changing conceptions of beauty through time (Mazur, 1986; Frith, Shaw and Cheng, 2005). At the same time, the literature suggests that the proliferation of western cultural artifacts such as western beauty products and popular media has affected ideals of beauty outside the west, including inducing women in the west to adopt whiteness as a desirable attribute of beauty, as an example (Li et al., 2008).
First, a comparison of the ideals of beauty between the west and the rest of the world suggest that there are differences shaped by the cultural contexts in the way beauty is perceived. In the west, for instance, the focus of beauty as found in a study of women’s ads across different cultures suggest that western beauty contexts are more focused on body attributes, hence the emphasis on clothes. Meanwhile, in the east, the focus tends to be on on attributes of the face, and hence the emphasis on facial makeup and cosmetic products in those non-western societies (Frith, Shaw and Cheng, 2005).
On the other hand, within those western and non-western contexts, there are profound differences in the dynamics of constructing beauty ideals. In the east, for instance, various eastern societies have come to adopt western whiteness ideals as a beauty ideal, and hence women have come to imbibe whiteness as something to aspire for. This translates to women devoting a lot of time and effort trying to become fair, via the use of whitening cosmetics and beauty aids. In the west on the other hand, ideals of beauty are said to change over time. Those ideals are reflected in changing fashion styles and the changing perceptions of men about what is desirable in the human body (Mazur, 1986). Women too, with the advent of women’s rights, have come to influence how other women see beauty in the west, according to the literature (Frith, Shaw and Cheng, 2005; Li et al., 2008).
To conclude, cultural differences shape differences in ideals of beauty in western and non-western contexts, even as conceptions of beauty in non-western contexts are influenced by western ideals in recent history due to the influence of western popular media (Frith, Shaw and Cheng, 2005; Li et al., 2008).
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Frith, K., Shaw, P. and Cheng, H. (2005). The Construction of Beauty: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Women’s Magazine Advertising. International Communication Association. Retrieved from http://icm.cm.nsysu.edu.tw/teacher/JOC.pdf
Li, E. et al. (2008). Skin Lightening and Beauty in Four Asian Cultures. Advances in Consumer Research 35. Retrieved from http://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/v35/naacr_vol35_273.pdf
Mazur, A. (1986). US Trends in Feminine Beauty and Overadaptation. The Journal of Sex Research 22 (3). Retrieved from http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/humans_web_04/beauty/feminine.pdf