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Japan vs. America on Ideal Beauty Standards

by Ewa Nowogorski

Beauty standards of the Japanese and Americans coincide some what, but at the same time are vastly different in other ways. Here I will compare the different standards of beauty that Japanese people have for both men and women vs American standards of beauty.

First, a common point is weight. Traditionally, both Japanese and Americans view thinner bodies as more attractive, although in modern times the American standard for body image is changing to view all shapes and sizes as beautiful.

Next is skin complexion. Japanese people will say that the whiter, the better, and you can never be too white. Women will actively wear long sleeves and other protective clothing to make sure their skin never directly comes into contact with sun. On the other hand, darker skin is seen as more attractive in American culture, and many women love tanning their skin on the beach or going to tanning salons to get an arctificially made tan.

Facial structure is yet another point to focus on. Japanese people idealize small heads with big eyes and small lips. Color contacts that have larger irises are a huge business in Japan because it makes the eyes pop and appear bigger. In America, big eyes are also considered beautiful, but facial symmetry and clean eyebrows are more important for determining beauty. There have been a couple of trends in which big puffy lips were considered attractive, and some people get lip fillers to make their lips bigger, but the population is split half and half on this one.

Another point to look at for Japanese people is a strange one: how much your lips jut out of your face. If you take your index finger, hold it straight and try to simultaneously touch the tip of your chin and the tip of your nose, and if your index finger does not touch your lips, you are considered attractive. It’s weird, yeah. And one more is the double eyelid. You are considered more beautiful if you have a double lid as opposed to a monolid, you’re more beautiful.

The standards for men are not as wide. In Japan, lean and skinny tall men are considered ideal, and muscular and tall men are considered attractive in America. In Japan, facial hair is a total no-no. In America, a nice small beard is considered handsome.

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