The price of beauty

We have in this immersion task chosen to draw our attention to women´s different beauty ideal the world over, on which we will reflect how they would like to look in a particular culture, what makes them beautiful? What we found out was very interesting. We study the different beauty ideals from an outside perspective, we will compare the various ideals that cultures has to each other and see if women the world over thinks alike.



Japanese geisha is known worldwide, we are fascinated by their discipline, the way they move and mystique around them. The word geisha means “person of art”. The geisha’s main job has been for decades to entertaining Japanese businessmen.

Working as a geisha is an incredibly tough and demanding job, there are an awful lot of rules that must be followed from point to the letter. Everything is controlled by the rules, how she walks, how tea is served, how to talk to the customers.  The process of being a geisha is a long and hard, the young girls go to school and specialize in dance, flute, drums and tea ceremonies. When the women / girls choose to live as a geisha she devotes her life to the duty, she can´t be involved with a man at all.

Hima tribe

Uganda is located in eastern Africa, Uganda borders to Kenya in the east, Tanzania to the south, Congo to the west and Sudan in the north. The population in Uganda is about 31,367,972. Uganda’s official language is English but they also speak Kiswahili and Luganda.

This tribe is different because they want their women to be as big as possible, the heavier the women, the more money the family has, and a big wife and a large herd of cows is the ultimate status symbol. Women’s clothes are specially designed so that it will give the impression that the woman who is wearing the garment will look heavier than she actually is. The ideal of beauty is that the woman should be so heavy that she will have difficulty moving.
When a woman from the Hima tribe is getting married they go through a unique process. The women do not choose their husband themselves, it is something that is up to the parents. The husband may not see his bride before the ceremony is completed. Two months before the wedding begins preparations for the bride. The bride is placed in a “fattening hut”, her main task in this hut is to put on weight. Every three hours the bride must drink about 3 liters of pure cow’s milk, in a day she gets in to about 5000 calories. The goal of her sitting in this hut for two months is that she should have put on 20-30 kg.



The Karen people lives in both Burma and Thailand, but has been most famous in Thailand because the tourists can visit their homes.

The women wears neck rings around their neck, arms and legs and it starts already at the age of 5 or 6 is you want to take a part of this tradition. The reason why it starts so early it’s because the girl’s body is much more flexible in young age. They start with 5-7 neck rings and increase al after.

Neck rings is a status of beauty and being rich, more rings means more status. This can become very dangerous for the women, because the man in the family can order to take the rings of if she has been unfaithful and so she choke to death because the rings it’s keeping her alive.

Size zero

This is a medial appearance that wears the status of being rich and beautiful. This is especially known in the American continent because of all the fast food is not so expensive while organic food cost a lot more. This has been a trend in the Hollywood élite there everybody has a goal of being as thin and beautiful as possible. It is also very common to see this type of “culture” in the model industry, being very tall and very thin is the beauty ideal. But there is a price of beauty, this ideal can development into eating disorders, like anorexia. The model Isabelle Caro died last year, her lowest weight was 27kilos.


This has been a great experience trough these 4 different cultures with women’s beauty ideal. Before we started this journey we had different opinions about the different ideals but now we can understand more of their perspective. We have to understand their underlying behavior otherwise a culture chock can arise because we compare with our own culture which can involve different types of values, norms and social practices.

Even though these 4 cultures are very different we came out with one mutual implication which is that all of the women want to strive to be a better woman with status and looks.

// Mariah & Pauline

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