Culturally speaking, there are many different perspectives on body image and beauty. According to the Webster Merriam dictionary Beauty is defined as “ 1.) A combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic sense, especially sight, 2.) A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense” (Webster). While speaking with woman of different cultures, we found this to be quite the opposite of the American Standard. People of other cultures specifically that of the Somali culture view beauty as a behavior, self respect in oneself, body shape, skin tone and ones hair. “Be. YOU. Tiful” interviewed four women of the Somali decent who practice Islam, these woman wear hijabs and long dresses in an effort to be conservative and modest.
These four women all come from a Somali culture, yet their definition of beauty differed- which was interesting to us at “Be.YOU.Tiful.” S.Omer said “beauty in American standard is defined as an attractive appearance; while in our culture beauty is defined as ones behavior. Being beautiful would be having a strong standing and ability to overcome obstacles. However, being exposed to media woman view beauty as individuals physical appearances” (S.Omer,2013). This was particularly interesting, having a stable head on ones shoulders and being composed is seen as a beautiful quality, while in America these qualities are more frequently seen as personality traits. Another corresponder explained to us that each person has their own definition of beauty, “beauty is having self-respect and pride in herself and the people whom she surrounds herself with, more so the deeper characteristics a person up holds” (M.Ahmed,2013). Morally speaking a woman is beautiful if she is kind and has a gentle heart. Beauty to this culture is but skin deep.
The last two women we interviewed both agreed that beauty is defined by society and the beauty in which his or her culture bases its values upon. R.Yusuf said “beauty is a superficial understanding, everyone should have their own unique qualities- and that in itself is beautiful” (R.Yusuf,2013). This woman touched us we felt as though she was such a strong beautiful woman who understands that each person has their own qualities and backgrounds.
Everyone has a different perspective at culture, the journey of life defines each person and imprints onto them their own story to share with the world.