Africa is a massive continent filled with diverse groups of people. This distinct factor is one of the reasons why Africa has become popular all over the world. Apart from the fact that Africans are known to be people of different skin complexions rich in melanin, what's also unique about them is their perceptions of beauty.
Akin to a lot of other cultures and ethnic groups, there are several standards of beauty that can only be understood by a select few.
These perceptions of beauty might seem absurd and frankly unimaginable, however, these practices have stood the test of time. Here are a few unique standards of beauty that can only be found in Africa:
Lip plating is a very bizarre practice considered beautiful in various African countries, most especially southern Ethiopia. The Mursi women of southern Ethiopia carry out this practice, as they believe stretched lips are beautiful. They also believe it is a transition into womanhood. This practice usually starts when a girl attains a young adolescent age of 13. An incision is made in her lower lip and a small peg is inserted.
This is replaced with larger ones as the year progresses. Once it gets to 4 cm, the woman is allowed to stop adding on bigger plates. However, most Mursi women have their lips stretched as wide as 20cm, which is large enough to accommodate a dinner plate.
Stretched earlobes are a standard of beauty, specifically practiced by the Massai Tribe of Kenya.
This extreme body modification is carried out by men, women, and children. The earlobes are stretched with items like stones, elephant tusks, and bundles of twigs. They are then decorated with several ornaments used as accessories. This practice is still being done by individuals who are and aren't natives of this tribe.
Scarification is a standard of beauty that cuts across several parts of Africa. Although mostly known to originate from the Karo women of Ethiopia, several countries like Nigeria still practice this. The process involves cutting the skin with a knife or glass, filling in the scars with potent plant extracts, charcoal, or gunpowder. This causes the scars to form keloids in the pattern the cuts were made.
This practice is extremely painful and slow, however, it was done for several purposes like attracting the opposite sex, relation to the spirits of the tribe, and treatment for recurrent illnesses.
Body painting is one of the oldest beauty practice that spans across nearly every part of Africa. Body painting can be dated as far back as when life began, as there were depictions of such practices in caves discovered. Each painting holds different interpretations like royalty, marital availability, war, and festivals.
The body paint is sourced from using oil, chalk, clay, and plant extracts. Also, some tribes like to make use of tattoos for the same reasons.
All of the aforementioned practices are found in different parts of Africa. However, one common feature they share is the use of accessories. The perfect use of accessories helps increase the overall beauty of the whole look. There are also several practices that would blow your mind, for example, people of the Calabar tribe in Nigeria ensure they “fatten” a bride to be. They usually take her to a fattening room where she will be fed, for about two weeks until she is fat enough. This is done because they attribute beauty to a woman being thick. With these practices, you can only imagine how diverse and beautiful Africa is.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies