It's impossible to meet the incredibly unrealistic and changing beauty standards of our world, and many of us have already spent way too much time trying to pluck, paint, or contour ourselves into stacking up. It may not be a surprise to learn that this is basically a timeless issue, but some of the beauty ideals of the past are really hard to imagine as fun or glamorous.
Beauty standards through history have shifted into so many forms that some of the hottest styles of the past are basically horrifying, or at least way more trouble - and danger - than they are worth. Sure, makeup is a pain, but at least we aren't shaving back our hairlines or painting our legs with gravy juice anymore. Check out this list for some of the weirdest historical beauty standards ever.
Veiny Cleavage Was A 17th-Century Must-Have
17th-century England saw an increase of cleavage in fashion. Necklines plunged, and breasts became one of the most prominent features that women attempted to display. At the same time, extreme paleness was in style, as it suggested wealth and an ability to stay out of the Sun, unlike laborers. In order to extend the paleness achieved by powders on the face to the cleavage, women would draw blue veins on their breasts to mimic translucent skin.
Beauty Patches Were Super Classy
In the 18th century, the previous standard of bare-faced women disappeared, and women began wearing heavy makeup. They also started wearing beauty patches, small pieces of fabric that were adhered to the face. They came in many shapes, such as stars, circles, and squares, and their placement on the face had specific meaning. For example, one by the mouth implied flirtatiousness, and one on the right cheek meant that the woman was married.
Incredibly Small Feet Were All The Rage In China
Although foot binding is perhaps one of the most infamous forms of body modification, its origins in China are unknown, though historians know it was prevalent among the wives and daughters of nobles by the 13th century, and it spread from there. Foot binding usually began when a girl was five to seven years old, and it consisted of her feet being bandaged tightly while she was growing, causing the bones in her foot to break, the sole to bend down to meet the toes, and the toes to bend under the foot. This painful and disabling practice was based on the sexual and aesthetic appeal of small feet.
Skull Shaping Was An Aesthetic Preference For The Ancient Maya
Beginning around 1000 BCE, the ancient Maya started modifying the skulls of their infants. A child's head was kept strapped to a board or bound with various implements, forcing the skull to reshape itself. This was done to both males and females, and it is believed to not have been related to social standing, but a sign of ornamental beauty. Many other groups all over the world had similar practices, including the Germanic tribes like the Huns, as well as Hawaiians, Tahitians, Incas, and the Chinook and Choctaw tribes in North America.