Eye of the Beholder

We live in a very visual world. Image is everything in many aspects of society. In the US women are expected to look a certain way to be considered beautiful. One of America's current image obsessions is having white, straight teeth. Whitening kits are all over your drugstore's shelves and being reviewed by Instagrammers and YouTubers on a daily basis.

It would be very easy to become self conscious about a less than Chiclet-perfect smile...but I hope this post will shine a bit of light on something. The cliche and overused "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" isn't cliche at all. It all depends on perspective. Maybe in the US a perfect smile is what's expected, but in other parts of the world a unique and less-than-perfect smile is what girls aspire to have.

In 2006 I was in Kyoto, Japan. One of the things I stocked up on was Japanese fashion magazines. The colors and layouts are the epitome of the term "eye candy". They're stuffed with photos rather than advertisements and pages of makeup tutorials and vibrant fashion layouts.  But, I noticed something "strange" about the models in the magazines: they were smiling bright despite having less-than-perfect teeth.

In Japan, yaeba, or "snaggletooth" is considered cute.  So, girls desiring to have this "flaw" added to their smile have the option of buying a mold to cast their own yaeba. This false tooth slips perfectly onto their own, giving them the desired, unique smile. Interesting that they desire such a smile...

Image from JapanTrendShop.com (Yes, you can buy the kit!)

Yet here in the states, certain stars are ridiculed for not perfecting their teeth...

...or for straightening them too much!

No one is perfect and makeup shouldn't be used to erase what you are. There's nothing wrong with a little contouring or bronzing, but don't try to be someone you aren't because you feel you don't fit a certain standard in society. In Japan pale skin and yaeba are praised, while tanned skin and straight teeth are praised here in the states. It's all relative! Remember, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

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