"When you seek beauty in all people and all things, you will not only find it, you will become it" - Anonymous.

Hi, my name is Sam and I'm a 20 year old Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences student at Michigan State University. I was interested in this project because of the ethnic diversity of our group, as well as previous classes that have opened my eyes to the idea of beauty throughout the globe and how varied the perception of beauty is. Living in a society that has a rather limited and unrealistic view of beauty, I found what other cultures find beautiful intriguing and interested in finding out if there was a scientific basis behind physical beauty.

What does "Beauty" mean to me: To me, beauty is all about finding the beauty of others and of everything around you. If you are physically beautiful, it won't matter if you do not find the light in others, and are able to appreciate others for what they have to offer and the wonderful things inside of them. Beauty is not finding certain things attractive, and certain things unattractive, it's about finding everything beautiful for it's uniqueness and the beautiful things they have to offer the world by just being themselves. To be beautiful yourself, you must find and appreciate the beauty within everything around you.


"There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty."  -Steve Maraboli

My name is Kindele, and I am 20 years old student at Michigan State University.  What Beauty Means to Me: Beauty is imperfection and with imperfection comes individuality. True beauty is more than skin deep. It's about being the most phenomenal  YOU and that is something no one can duplicate or replicate.

"A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears."
Anne Roiphe

My name is Mrinal Asopa and I am a junior at Michigan State University. Beauty to me is not only physical, but intellectual and emotional as well. Beauty is often considered only physical in our society, but the ability to see beyond that and find beauty within the soul truly defines a person and truly defines beauty.




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"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." -Confucius

Hey there! My name is Raven, and I am a 20 year old student at Michigan State University. I am of Middle Eastern decent, so I found it extremely interesting to have the opportunity to further explore my heritage, and its traditional beauty customs and beliefs. 

Define Beauty: For me, beauty is something that sends chills up your spine, puts a huge smile on your face, and remains replaying in the back of your mind for days. It could be an adult, a child, a piece of art, a movie, a book, a moment... anything that gives you a tingling feeling. To me, beauty of a women resides in a woman's ability to be confident, but still humble, in her caring and selfless nature, and her sense of drive and passion. 

"Beauty is in the heart of the beholder" -H.G. Wells

Hey everyone!  I'm Jess. I'm a 22 year old student at MSU.  I was extremely excited to do this project.  I was curious to see what people's thoughts would be on the subject matter.  I have never been one to ever be rid of my self consciousness and I was excited to look into how media and tradition play a roll in all young women not just myself.  

What is beauty?  Beauty to me is being comfortable in your own skin.  Being happy with who you are and what you look like.  Beauty is being confident in one's self and not caring what people think about you.  Beauty is being driven and knowing what you want for yourself and for your life while also being very caring toward others.

In September of 2013, Nina Davuluri of New York, was crowned Miss America. Following the pageant, Davuluri, an Indian American, born in New York, was confronted with extreme racial turmoil. Social medias flooded with inappropriate racial slurs against the stunning, olive skinned beauty queen. Here is some of the critism Davuluri faced by many ignorant Americans:

In response to this, Davuluri told CNN, "I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door... but the girl next door is evolving, as the diversity of America evolves... She's not who she was 10 years ago, and she's not going to be the same person come 10 years down the road." 

This quote really made me think. As we explore the beauty practices of different regions around the world, its good to acknowledge that our own country is becoming more and more diverse. Our country, the melting pot of the world, has a large population of every culture we focused on. And as much as we might believe the practices of each culture may be so drastically different, each are constantly surrounding us. The United States no longer represents a vision of primarily Western beauty characteristics, but the beauty of a vast diversity of cultures together in one area. Now that is beautiful.


For the full CNN article with Nina Davulri: 

We sent our survey out for feedback from faculty that Dr. Montgomery had connected us with.  When we received the feedback, one of the faculty members asked us why we were focusing on only women.  I had to think about that a little bit.  I wasn't sure why we were focusing only on women.  Why not beauty in men as well? My first thoughts were that it would just be must easier to only focus on women.  However, when I thought longer about this question, I came to the conclusion that as a young woman I am very influenced by certain social expectations.  I love being healthy and in the media that is sometimes considered fat.  I have been very self conscious before about my weight and my figure.  Through my own experiences I'm convinced that young women are the most influenced by these different thoughts about women. 
When I first started this project I had my hesitations as this issue was something very touchy around the world. As the project went on and my research expanded I started to appreciate the issue and learn more about it. My group members through their webpages also taught me the meaning of beauty in other cultures and countries. I am really glad that I got the opportunity to do this project and learn from it.
While trying to put together the survey, and receiving input from very educated professionals, I had a thought. From the beginning, our goal has been to focus on the beauty of young women world wide. We feel like young women are most impacted by a perception of beauty, driven by social media, television/movies, pageant queens, etc. But my question is why? What characteristics do young women world wide possess that make them so vulnerable to these beauty standards and practices.  Where do we, as a world wide society, go wrong, to turn beauty into something so superficial, yet demanding, and why are young women universally such a victim to this?


Body painting is more than just paint or mere body decoration. The closest thing I can relate it to is make up. Girls typically use make it to enhance their feminine qualities or  use it just for fun. Body painting to the Karo and the Surma is much more than that. Both men and women, both young and old all participate in the tradition.  Body painting has so much more meaning behind it. It's used not only to attract the opposite sex, but it can also be used to identify yourself as person and your beliefs. Musri and Surma are able to create intricate designs with the use of various chalks, ochers, circles, lines, and sometimes even dots.

A really cool thing that I read about was "Twining". It is a technique that some of the Omo Valley tribes use to identify themselves as friends with another person. They will draw patterns on another that are the same or some what similar. I guess you could say its like making a friendship bracelet for your best friend!



I knew lip plating was a cultural practice in Africa. I just never realized that  many African girls have decided to stop participating in the ethnic tradition. Many girls fear that they will be judged by society for looking different and I can truly understand their concern. Some of the girls in the Mursi and Surma tribes feel pressured to partake in the rituals because their family is pressuring them to or sometimes the feel no one will want to marry them. In a video on YouTube a couple of young girls this every topic. I posted the link to the video on the African page, but here is the link again TAKE A LOOK!....



I found it very difficult to come up with the survey questions.  The most difficult part was trying to ask things in a way that was sensitive yet direct.  The second most difficult thing was creating questions that were direct but not influential.  That really surprised me.  I thought making a simple survey would be easy but I was very wrong. 

As a group, we finally finalized on our topic. It seems natural that I do research on the Middle Eastern portion of the project. I am excited about this project to not only research Arab women around the world, but also to fight to defy the pressure and persona media, advertisements, and other outlets put on beauty. I hope we can prove that the beauty of young women is not universal, and definitely not skin deep. Last night, I was looking at some videos, and I stumbled upon this TEDtalk that I wish I could share to everyone young women in the world! Please watch and enjoy!