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Beauty is enigmatic. It has been a puzzle for as long as women -- and men -- have existed. It cannot be explained because it depends upon eyes, common cultural perceptions and how the human brain interprets the aspects of beauty. These are unique perceptions and different cultures and traditions appreciate aspects of what makes females beautiful in different ways.

General Aspects and Differences

Regardless of ethnicity, it is not difficult to see and know the normal qualities of female beauty. These include a body and face whose proportions are symmetric, a smooth complexion and, generally, features that are considered to be uniform and conventional. In some cultures these aspects go alongside being slim and athletic because these suggest financial stability and self-discipline. This, however, is perhaps just reflective of the social condition of the times in which beauty is considered. In earlier European times a more well-rounded woman was considered to have beauty and allure because it showed that she was well-fed and robust, and therefore of a higher social status. The same is true today in some developing countries.

Asian Girls

In many Southeast Asian countries, the fairness of skin is considered to be a definition of beauty. Unlike their European and American counterparts, who sometimes work hard to develop a tan, girls from these countries work to avoid any extra coloring. To them, dark skin suggests generations of agricultural work under a hot sun, which means a low or common status. Another mark of beauty in some areas of Asia is having large eyes. Because of this, and a desire to stand out, it is not uncommon for Asian women to undergo surgery to make their eyes appear larger and have Caucasian-looking eyelids.

African and Maori Girls

The Suri people of Ethiopia see beauty defined in the lip plates of women and girls. Upon puberty, a girl’s lower teeth are removed so that the lower lip can be pierced. A clay plate is then used to stretch the lip and the relative beauty of the woman is judged by the size of her lower lip. Another tribe in Ethiopia uses scarring to judge female beauty. Scars on the woman's torso and chest represent sensuality and appeal. In New Zealand, even in modern times, a face covering tattoo is used amongst some indigenous Maori people as a sign of cultural pride and beauty.

The Middle East

As part of a general rejection of Western culture and affirmation of long-held religious traditions, women in some Middle Eastern countries wear clothing which covers most of the body and face. This clothing only gives a brief glimpse of the beauty behind the veils and sends a signal that the wearer is demure and reticent, and that she is reserved for her husband or future husband.

About the Author

Angela Barley

Angela Barley started writing professionally in 2008. Her work has appeared in U.K. newspapers such as "The Evening Standard," "The Independent" and "The Times." Barley holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London.