How beauty ideals change around the world: Designers asked to create the perfect woman by Photoshopping the same photo… with VERY different results
- Photo of average British woman sent to designers with each editing the image to reflect their country’s ideal body
- China’s entry was so thin, it had a BMI of just 17 – below anorexic threshold – while Spain’s was most curvaceous
An online doctor’s surgery asked 18 designers to amend an image of a woman in her underwear to reflect the ideal body in their country – and were left astounded by the results.Perfection appeared to vary considerably depending on the country, with Spain opting for a fuller-figured look and China Photoshopping the model to the opposite extreme.Other countries involved in the survey included the UK, the US and the Netherlands, as were Italy, Egypt and Syria.
The original image that that was sent to 18 designers around the world to Photoshop, left, and how the UK, presented its ideal woman; the USA opted for bigger hips and a small waistThinnest of all were the retouched pictures from China and Italy, which in both cases, also amended the model’s other physical attributes and underwear. The resulting designs had estimated weights of 7st 3lb and 7st 7lb and Body Mass Indexes of 17.0 and 18.0 – the latter based on the assumption that the model was 5ft 4″.
Colombia opted for a more curvaceous woman, while Mexico slimmed her hips – China’s designer opted for a very slim frameThe remaining Photoshopped bodies all came within the healthy weight spectrum, although silhouettes varied considerably.In the UK, a boyish shape with a large bust proved popular, while in the US, Kim Kardashian-style curves and a noticeable thigh gap was most liked.The Philippines opted for a similar, if slightly thinner, silhouette to the UK while Venezuela wanted a curvaceous body with a very large bust.
The designer in Italy jazzed up the woman’s underwear to make it more sexy, and elongated her legs; Egypt gave her curvy thighs and South Africa opted for a more boyish frame Explaining the concept behind the experiment, the unnamed medics involved, writing on the Superdrug Online Doctors website, said: We asked female graphic designers from around the world to Photoshop a female form by making her, in their opinion, more attractive to other citizens of their country ‘Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men. The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world.’
Peru’s ideal woman is curvy with a small waist, whereas in Syria, their ideal woman has a tiny waist compared to their hips ‘Drastic changes in hair colour, attire, and waist-to-hip ratio were common. ‘Some designers in North, South, and Central American countries produced an exaggerated hourglass figure; others in European and Asian nations chose to render her so thin that her estimated BMI, according to a survey we conducted… would fall under or dangerously close to 17.5. According to the NHS, “Adults with anorexia generally have a BMI below 17.5.”’