To Learn More About Cultural Beauty Standards, This Woman Asked Artists From 25 Different Countries To Photoshop Her Face

When American journalist Esther Honig sent her un-retouched photo to over 40 Photoshop artists around the world, she received a vastly different virtual makeover from each. “With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’,” Honig writes on her website.

Each designer did make her beautiful — by their own nation’s standards, which illuminated just how different each culture’s version of female attractiveness is. Honig’s project, called “Before & After,” was inspired by the many freelancers offering Photoshop skills that she came across on Fiverr. Some of her photos were sent to experts, others to amateurs [Uh, ya think? — Amelia], but each came back with an enlightening lesson about how we define beauty — and no two cultures’ images were exactly alike. Even though she expected to see drastic results, Honig herself was still unprepared for the shock she felt at seeing some of the retouched photos.

Even as Photoshop notoriously allows us to obtain beauty standards we could never reach on our own, it also creates an even more enigmatic concept of what an ideal look is. The wide variety of images brings home what we already knew – that ideal beauty is hardly a singular concept. It’s humbling to consider that despite all the striving (and spending) so many women endure to achieve their own concept of aesthetic perfection, they’d be toiling away for a totally different look if they lived on the other side of the globe. The fascinating full series of images is available on Honig’s website, and will definitely throw your perspective for a loop!

[Esther Honig via BuzzFeed] [Image via Esther Honig]