What does the ideal woman in your country look like?
A website in the UK went about answering that very question with something called “Projections of Perfection: Across Borders.” In short, the project asked female graphic designers to photoshop the perfect image of a woman (using a base photo provided to them).
Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men. The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world.
When you ask 18 different people to draw anything (let alone a human), you’re going to get contrasting results. Take a look at China and Spain for example.
The website briefly touched on this:
Some designers in North, South, and Central American countries produced an exaggerated hourglass figure; others in European and Asian nations chose to render her so thin that her estimated BMI, according to a survey we conducted (described below), would fall under or dangerously close to 17.5.
There are a few glaringly obvious problems with this project, most notably:
1) The photoshop skill of the designer is too large a variable.
2) The opinion of a single person (or even a handful of people) is not an accurate representation for an entire country.
For what it’s worth, the website said it accepted “contributions from four men with the caveat that they first seek input from women and base their design changes on this feedback.” Um, OK. “Excuse me sir, we want your opinion on something but then we’re going to alter your opinion after we get an opinion from somebody else.” I believe that is the fourth step of the scientific method.
You can see the entire photoshop project here.