Top 15 Insane Beauty Standards From History

Since time immemorial, the beauty standards of women have been constructed by society, and women willingly or unwillingly had to adapt to these set of standards. Over time, the image and position of female beauty have changed.

Have A Look At These Top 15 Insane Beauty Standards From History That Will Shock You To The Core

1. Incredibly Small Feet Were A Rage In China

Insane Beauty Standards From History
Source: buzzfeed

Foot binding is one of the most infamous forms of body modification. It is still prevalent in some parts of China. Its origins in China are still unknown to many. Foot binding started when a girl reached five to seven years of age. The practice meant having her feet bandaged in a very tight fashion in her growing years, which resulted in the fingers of her feet breaking. The sole saw a bend down meeting her toes. It made their feet highly stunted. The main reason behind this practice was the aesthetic appeal of small feet in China. These feet were also called Lotus feet.

2. Eyelashes Were So Out During The Renaissance


The beauty standards of European women were entirely different from the rest of the world. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance were periods of great transformations in literature, arts, fashion, and beauty standards. Eyelashes in these ages became the symbols of possessing a desire for sexuality and lust. The demand for a fresh face was something prominent in those ages. As a result, women of the class would often remove their lashes completely just to fit in the standards of beauty according to their age.

3. A Veiny Cleavage Was A 17th-Century Must-Have

Source: bonhams

England was the center of many fashion revolutions and shocking beauty standards. At that time, there was an increase in cleavage fashion in England. Breasts at that time became one of the most striking features that women wanted to display. There was also another standard – paleness, as it symbolized wealth and an ability to stay out of the sun in comparison to workers who have to work for long hours in the sun.

4. Edwardian Women Went For The Tiny-Waist Look

Source: historicalsewing

Women’s fashion during the Edwardian Era was mostly about celebrating the mature female body. This further resulted in women wearing corsets as this helped them to create hourglass figures. This further put so much stress on the female body as this constricted their breathing and even put so much pressure on their organs. Their spines were also forced into some weird positions, and this affected them in the later stage of their life. This was one kind of torture that they had to endure just to fit into the so-called beauty standards of the Edwardian Era.

5. Eating Arsenic Was Apparently “Healthy”

Source: thoughtco

In the 19th century, a strange kind of fashion crept up on the masses. It was regarded as fashionable and the ideal beauty standard to eat arsenic as it was believed that it would give a shining look to the face and make eyes sparkle, adding some roundness to the body. People were too blind to notice the side effects that arsenic caused as it led to thyroid and even death in some cases.

6. Dimples Were A Painful Affair

Source: History By Zim

Another beauty standard was that a beautiful feminine lady was considered incomplete without dimples on her cheeks. In the year 1923, to solve this issue, a device was invented. It was put on the face and fastened behind the ears and chin, and with the help of two outgoing rods, it was pressed heavily on the cheeks resulting in tremendous pain. With its use for a longer period, the dimples appeared. Studies also reveal that later, women suffered a great number of jaw and teeth problems.

7. Ancient Chinese Women Kept Their Eyebrows All Colorful

Source: allure

Ancient China is full of different types of beauty standards. Women were very creative with their eyebrows. To fit with the beauty standards of those times, they would often paint them with different colors like black, blue, or green paint and shape them according to the prevalent trend.

8. Japanese Women Actually Wanted Black Teeth

Source: popjapan

Japan had different beauty standards that mostly did not match with the rest of the world. One such thing was the fashion trend of black teeth in Japan, and it was a sign of beauty. For thousands of years, women in Japan would blacken their teeth after marriage. This continued for a long time in the 19th century, and it was considered a symbol of being beautiful and symbolized marital commitment.

9. Skull Shaping Was An Important Preference For The Ancient Maya

Source: kidsbritannica

Around 1000 BCE, the ancient Maya started modifying their infant’s skulls. A child’s head was strapped to a board or bound with various tools, forcing the human skull to reshape itself. It was painful for the infant. As a result, their heads looked much extended. It was done as a sign of ornamental beauty.

10. Genital Piercings Were Huge During The Victorian Era

Source: royal

Victorian England often came as a period that noticed many new fashion trends. During a certain period in Victorian England, wealthy women of the high class would pierce their nipples and connect them with a chain. Men would also pierce the head of their penis. This piercing is known as Prince Albert, and it is said the Victorian prince himself sported the look. 

11. Lip Biting Was Not Sexy But Used As An Alternative For Lipstick

Source: tenor

It is a well-known truth that Queen Victor prohibited the use of cosmetics. This made it difficult for women to dress up and put on makeup, so they did something painful and hard. Instead of using blush and lipstick, they had to bite their lips and pinch their cheeks to appear attractive. 

12. Painted Legs Were The New Black During WWII

Source: smithsonian

There were nylon shortages during WWII, and women’s leggings were lacking. However, stockings were still considered necessary at that time, so dozens of paint products hit the market. But some women would just go for what was available, like acrylic paint, or even use gravy to paint their legs to get a stunning nylon look.

13. Being Tall Went A Long Way

Source: cbsnews

Women of the 15th-17th centuries wore chopine shoes to protect their dresses from mud and demonstrate high social position and get ahead in that era’s beauty standards. Shoes spoke about the identity and status of their owner. The height of chopine shoes could reach 50 cm, so the ladies who wore them needed a maid who would support her mistress.

14. Long Fingernails Were A Fad In China

Source: tumblr

Men and women belonging to the Qing Dynasty grew nails that were 8 to 10 inches. This indicated that they were wealthy enough to not do much work with their hands. Instead, they relied on servants to do necessary things like dress or feed them.

15. Bleeding in 6th Century Europe

Source: mimimatthews

Throughout the Middle Ages, ladies wanted super-duper pale skin because tanned skin was associated with outdoor labor. The pale look was popular for hundreds of years, but it was achieved by many different means through time immemorial. Women would often bleed themselves with leeches to achieve a pale complexion. This brings a novel meaning to the phrase, “beauty is pain.”

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