Perceptions of Perfection – What the Ideal Body Looks Like in Dfferent Countries

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UK online pharmacy Superdrug Online Doctors recently launched a project called “Perceptions Of Perfection” that includes 18 photoshopped images of the same woman – the company asked designers from different countries around the world to edit a stock image via Shutterstock in order to represent the beauty standards of their country. Here’s what they said about their project:

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

Here are the first 2 examples – hourglassy USA and Victoria’s Secret model-thin Italy.

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What do you guys think? Do these images represent your countries? If not, why so?

Check out the other 16 countries and their beauty ideals next!

 

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59 thoughts on “Perceptions of Perfection – What the Ideal Body Looks Like in Dfferent Countries”

    • China looks like a sexualized prepubescent child with padded bra…it’s gross to think about. Italy is very skinny, but still looks like a woman’s shape, just stretched out.

  1. The interestingly thing here, is that every country made her look thinner. Whether that’s a bit thinner, or a lot.Oh, and also, this is hardly scientific. One person from a country doesn’t represent the beauty ideals. Here in America, you could ask 10 different people and have 10 different answers.

  2. this is very strange, a lot of them look like they have melting plastic doll legs, bad photoshopping, and not really representative of anything IMO.

  3. Serbia… really? I think (as far as I seen while visiting many times) girls in Serbia and Romania are thinner. Similar to Italy.
    Plastic surgeries are very popular, especially in Serbia, but normal girls are slender (thin) and usually tall.

  4. I literally laughed aloud at the China one?. She looks 25 lbs underweight and somehow they managed to make her look Asian. All the others were pretty similar, honestly! They want someone with a slimmer waist and a more all around “hourglass figure”.

    I’m surprised how many barely touched her face though. I thought her general appearance would be much improved if someone simply thinned out her face and made her eyes farther apart.

  5. The China render is spot on. I’ve always been a “big” Asian 5’7″ and 135lbs (US size 4)….I have always felt bad about my weight because no one (no matter how tall) should weigh over 115lbs or be over a size 0 according to my male relatives, who all married Chinese women who look like the rendering above. Funny thing is most of my non-asian friends call me “skinny”.

    • One of my friends is from Taiwan, and she’s about 5’3″ and 110lbs and she always tells me about how any time she goes back to Taiwan she feels gigantic and would need to lose 15lbs to fit in.

    • so you could be 6’1″ and they’d still expect you to be 115 and a size 0?
      what about guys, they’re pretty slim there too are they expected to keep small as well?

      • Pretty much. one of my friends from Hong Kong is 5’10” and 105lbs. Her waist looks like she could snap in half, and a lot of people comment on how lovely and model-esque she looks!

    • All the Asian girls that I know look very fragile, for lack of a better word (too skinny for their frame). Is there a cultural reason for that? Like, since guys are also skinny women have to be even skinnier so that they look big next to them? Sorry if I sound ignorant, just trying to understand. But just know that your measurments are about perfect for mostly anyone, for all that’s worth. Interestingly enough, my best friend is dating an Asian guy (Indonesian). She recently gained quite a bit of weight, she’s about 165. Bigger than he is. And he doesn’t mind at all, in fact she says she gets frustrated with him because he says he doesn’t even notice it (“it” being almost 30lbs). Just found it curious!

      • Yes. My husband is Asian too, 5’8″ and 148-152lbs. 30″ waist and slim. He is one inch taller than me, but he said his preference is for me to be in the 125 lb range. I’m ONE inch shorter, and expected to be 25lbs lighter than him do I have to stop eating????? he teases me now (135lbs), and says that he is a “chubby chaser”

        • that’s insane, 5’7″ and 135 is very far from chubby, I hope he doesn’t make you feel bad because that’s ridiculous :/

        • Far from me, a stranger on the web, to criticize your husband or your marriage, but I sure hope he’s great in other aspects despites those comments. Like I said before, your weight/height would be consider ideal or at least very good in most places, and I’m sure that like the rest of us, you’re not perfect, but there’s no way you look bad at that weight and height. Take his comments with a grain of salt. I just hope you can keep looking at things from a realistic POV. Because these things that significant others say, even jokingly, can have a terrible impact on women’s health and self-esteem. You´re a bombshell honey, be happy!

        • your husband sounds rude, how would he feel if you constantly told him you prefer a man who is tall and strong, not short and wimpy?

      • Asian people from different countries have different cultures. While it’s true the Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures really value stick-thin women, it is not as true in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, the Phillipines, etc. And especially Indonesia – it’s a country made up with a variety of cultures just like the United States – so with many different people you have many different idealizations of female beauty. Yes, there are Indonesians who prize female thinness, but there are also Indonesians like your friend’s boyfriend who don’t care/may even prize the opposite.

        To the other posters, Asian cultures in general are more blunt when it comes to the weight issue, and will tell you to your face if you are fat. However, a lot of the time they don’t see being blunt like this as putting you down, but trying to encourage you to be the best you can be and improve yourself – but like anything there are people of all types so I’m in no means trying to defend it, just explaining.

        Source: I’m an Asian girl who’s half Indonesian.

    • yo tambien soy argentina, vivo en Rosario! pense q era la unica q leia esta web! jajaaja
      está completamente erroneo. acá esperan que seamos como estan dibujadas las italianas

  6. This is a joke, the use of photoshop is so bad in each case you cant even take the survey seriously. And they are all fat(they could not change the face i guess), the onky perfect body is the italian one or a sinilar version of it with more hips like egypt and mexico,which i wouldnt dislike. China is scary and girls,next beauty standard is gonna be that one. Ill freak out.
    Im italian anyways. Our traditional dishes suck but in the northern part we dont really eat them and at least we have good taste i guess?

  7. It’s very interesting to see the difference in body’s by country. I think it’s 10X more fascinating seeing what each country did to the face and hair and skin tone.

    Great post

  8. very very rough idea being given here, as someone else said this is one person’s perspective, not necessarily representative of a whole country. my boyfriend is Venezuelan and they all want to be very skinny like the Italian one and are OBSESSED with red hair and pale skin, its creepy how his family constantly tells me how beautiful I am (there are very few redheads/blondes there). so its interesting that Colombia made her red haired and Venezuela didn’t… again comes down to the specific person doing it I guess.

    • You’re talking just about your boyfriend’s family, I am Venezuelan and never heard of that “redhead obsession”, maybe they’re just fascinated with you because here are very few redheads indeed, some women dye their hairs red but is not like a thing. The image is pretty accurate actually, big, straightned and luscious hair, BIG breasts, small waists and even though most women want to be thin, in real life people are very forgiving with women’s weight as long as we look “curvy and feminine”, it’s all about the t*ts and the a*s in here.

  9. This is most likely inspired by the girl who did the same thing with a photo of her face a few months ago. She hired people through Fiverr, which to my understanding is a site where you can hire freelancers to do just about anything for $5. There have been a few copycats in addition to this one, all with similarily low-quality, amateur editing.
    It’s definitely a cool idea, but the execution has obviously been lacking. Part of the problem is that hiring professional retouchers would be cost prohibitive, but the biggest issue is the premise of the experiment itself. To alter the shape and proportions (never mind color, hair, makeup, clothing, etc) of a body this drastically and have it remain realistic, you’d pretty much end up having to create a whole new image. Or just cut and paste her head on another woman’s body (I’m looking at you Italy)

  10. Ahahahahah sorry,just noticed: the italian one has just attached an entirely different body under the head, look at the arms,is not even the same pose,its totally some.other image of a model LOOL

  11. Oh, I just laughed so hard at this! First impression, these people don’t know how to use photoshop or whatever program was used, most of these bodies have zero harmony. Secondly, China and Italy scare me, but I’m not taking this seriously as I know for a fact that the “ideal body” for Spain is at least 15lbs overweight. Also, is Syria wearing a diaper? And I just found out I need to move to Serbia, my body is ideal there.
    Also, why does the girl has different shoes in some countries? What is happening??

  12. Sorry, but I must call this one out. A random artist from each country was asked to photoshop that woman what they believe represents the country ideal, but basically you have one single guy/girl doing some – very bad! – photoshop job. I can guarantee the one illustrating my country has nothing to do with what is the preference – and I mean the wide spread preference, resulting from media and such, not on individual basis.

  13. While I’m well aware (and as a woman, I also am very appreciative of the purpose behind this project). I still find it sad that this is a worldwide reality (these unrealistic expectations).

  14. I think Serbia looks best. They made her look somewhat achieavle if that makes any sense. I visited Serbia a few times and it is true that the women in Serbia are really pretty, mostly quite slender and tall. It is not true, that they like plastic, some “starlets” might like bolt-ons and so on .. but what would you say about Russia then? I follow a lot of russian girls on Instagram and they all look quite “enhanced” to me – if it is not the boobs, it is at least the lips and noses besides fake nails, hair, lashes and so on …

    • You should go out to parties in Serbia. Or watch Serbian popstars video: Jelena Karleuša, Seka Aleksič, Ceca, itd.

      Or their models, too. Plastic girls in Serbia even have a word for them ‘sponzoruša’. It usually used for a woman who is ‘sponsored’ by older rich man, usually she had a lot of plastic surgeries.

    • oh most of those russians on instagram with fake lips, b❆❆bs and a– are usually escorts, always on vacation in exotic places but in the pics they’re always alone , never with friends (is because the old sleazy client is taking the pic). The average russian girl has too much dignity and not enough money to end up like that.

  15. Oh, and China – no comment. I mean chinese women are quite tiny but this image is really disturbing in my opinion. And Italy likes them quite modelesque, right?!

    • I am also Spanish and I was shocked when I saw this. I’ve shown the picture to several friends (male and female) and they all said that she needs to lose at least 10 kg to come close to the “ideal body” perception of society here.

  16. I can see the fact that the beauty standards are different all over the world, but this is silly. And why are all the ideals white girls? even in South Africa?

  17. I’m italian and I agree with this. Girls here are lean and thin, much slimmer than in most countries like Usa or even Germany. But this is due to healthy food and lifestyle, we only use olive oil for dressing, we eat very often fish, organic cereals, everyday vegetables and fresh fruits. We drink water all day long and during meals (not soda or sweet beverage). And we training a lot! 🙂

    • I don’t want to sound like a know it all but Italy has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe,especially among children. I agree though that the beauty ideal is very very slim and always make up, hair and nails done, whereas in Germany , the girls are a bit more relaxed and not that well groomed.

      • um…i think after Romania we’re (italy) the european country with the lowest rate of obesity, at least when it comes to adults. Kids yes, they’re obese and we’re gonna get fatter, but now we’re still in a decent state, many overweight people but not too many obese ones

  18. i’m from romania and that would be considered….well…fat. i don’t want to be mean, it s just the way it is. but that doesn’t mean that we try to be skinny, it’s just the way we are. for example i have quite a few female friends and only one of them is a tad chubbier and that’s because she eats fast food daily and hates working out.

    but in the end this project is a joke and women’s body shouldn’t be categorized. as long as you keep a healthy weight, eat fresh food, home made meals and exercise, you are doing a great job.

  19. This ran in our national newspaper and it annoys me so much! It’s so clearly inaccurate. We live in a global culture now people. We shouldn’t kid ourselves that there isn’t a global beauty standard that runs alongside that.

    Sure, there might be some regional tweaks (bigger butts in Brazil, lighter skin in Japan, etc), but by and large if you look at the ‘lads mags’ they all feature very skinny girls with far less chunk than he majority of these pictures, long hair, large eyes, perky boobs.

    I definitely do not endorse this situation by the way, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. The only explanation I can think of is that for some the translation went haywire and ‘ideal’ got swapped out for ‘average’.

  20. Ok honestly, when in comes to european countries i think most of these pics are “wrong” except the one from Italy. Especially the ones from romania and ukraine, to me they always seem pretty obsessed with being thin. If these pics had to represent what men in those countries like, then i could maybe believe it, but women here in europe “have to be” thin, we’re told that pretty often

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