Beauty isn’t universal

What does a beautiful woman look like? It depends on your cultural conditioning.

Esther Honig, Journalist, blogger and an extraordinarily brave person, sent her photo (the unlabelled photo below) to nearly 40 freelancers from 25 countries with a simple brief: “make me beautiful”.

The images she got back say a lot more about the designers than the do about Esther – it’s fascinating to see how many of the artists chose to change her skin colour, put makeup on her, fade out the contours to her face , put jewellery on her while continuing to show her without clothes and, in the case of the US designer, change the entire shape of her face. Which is a perfect example of the way that the collection as a whole also tell an extraordinary story about cultural norms of beauty.

Esther’s write-up and full collection of the photos are at!before–after-/cvkn


2 thoughts on “Beauty isn’t universal

  1. Jack says:

    It’s been said before, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but somehow our modern culture have brainwashed half of our youth that if they’re not young and instantly desirable then they’re are destined to be failures. Somehow their brains, values, skills a much richer tapestry, all count for nought. And now the marketing powers are targeting the men with some success. Soon we shall be a truly shallow people where looks are the only thing important.

  2. I’ve found that works the other way around in my case. As a ‘youth’, my concern about my appearance has been sparked by comments by my elders on the importance of presentation , and an awareness that I need to present well to be considered as professionally capable. I’m seeing some great work done by a younger generation who are loudly and proudly proving that their tattoos, piercings, dyed hair, etc don’t undermine their ability to do excellent work.
    Tom’s comment on is pretty relevant here, too.

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