Stretched lips and red skin
The Mursi people
In the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, girls learn to stretch the skin of their lower lips using special disks. The larger the disk, the higher the girl’s social status, and the larger the dowry that has to be paid before a marriage.
A similar thing can be found with the Suri tribe. They are a small African tribe inhabiting an area in southwestern Ethiopia along the Sudanese border. They are one of several tribes in the fertile Omo Valley, and they number an estimated 20,000 people.
The Himba are nomadic pastoralists who live in the Kaokoland area of northwestern Namibia. They use red ocher and fat to protect themselves from the sun. This gives their bodies a red color.
In some regions of Tajikistan, a monobrow is considered a sign of female beauty. If nature hasn’t granted a girl this desirable feature, she might decide to apply some black makeup in a line between her eyebrows.
Local people are convinced that joined-together eyebrows are an indication that a person will have a fortunate life.
These beauty traditions may seem amusing to some of us, and others may appear primitive. But how often do we take a look at our own standards of beauty and traditions? Punching holes in our ears and placing earrings in them, walking in uncomfortable high-heeled shoes to make our legs longer — perhaps these seem equally strange to others?