What is ideal beauty? Before traveling the world, I thought I knew. It was complicated, yes -- but as adults often reminded me: beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Ideal beauty didn't exist because everyone was entitled to his or her preference... right?
I attempted to convince myself that the coiled hair I tried to straighten and “fix” my whole life was just an effort in preferred neatness. That the boyfriend who suggested I avoid getting “too dark” during the summer just had a complexion partiality. That my beauty insecurities were based on the fact that I was no one’s preference.
It wasn’t until I started interacting with different nationalities and cultures while traveling that I began to understand the roots and implications of such beauty standards and how confronting them would reveal layers of ancestral truths. How curiously interacting with such standards would help me learn more about a country, its people, their colorful (sometimes dark) history, and even myself. Here are some of the beauty standard complexities I explored while traveling: