What Does Beauty Look Like?

Perceptions of the Ideal Female Form in 18 Countries

“How do perceptions of beauty vary across the globe?” That is the question posed by Superdrug Online Doctors, an online pharmacy in the UK, when they commissioned the Perceptions of Perfection project. What they found supports what I said in an earlier post about beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

Perfect Female Infographic Original

The purpose of the study is: “Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men. The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world.”

As part of Perceptions of Perfection, Superdrug tasked designers from 18 different countries to Photoshop an image of a woman to fit their understanding of what makes a woman attractive in their culture. In some cases, the designers’ submissions were dramatically different from the original and each other. Below is the original image given to the designers followed by their responses:

The 18 Designers Depictions of Beauty in Their Countries

As you can see, the designers altered the hairstyle, hair color, attire, and measurements of the woman in the image. Because the images were so different, the project leaders conducted a rough estimation of the weight and BMI of the women in the designers’ submissions. Their weight estimates varied by over 50 pounds. 50 pounds!! Talk about differing opinions of beauty!

This study focused on women, but Superdrug plans to do follow-ups focusing on both male and female attractiveness. Check out Superdrug for more about the project and its methodology.


Question: What did you think of the designers’ submissions? How does viewing their submissions impact your view of beauty in general? How does viewing their submissions impact your view of your own beauty and attractiveness? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.