5 crazy things women used to do to be considered beautiful

Beauty standards have fluctuated wildly throughout history.

Women did questionable things to be considered beautiful [YouTube]

Beauty has always been a powerful influence on societal norms and personal identity. Over centuries, women have been subjected to extreme, mildly uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening beauty practices to conform to the standards of their time.

These practices reveal the lengths women have gone to meet societal expectations. Here are some of the most unusual and crazy things women used to do to be considered beautiful.

In Japan, from the Heian period until the late 19th century, women practised a custom known as "ohaguro," which involved blackening their teeth. This was achieved by applying a mixture of iron filings, vinegar, and tannin from tea or gallnut.

The practice was not only considered a sign of beauty but also indicated a woman's maturity and marital status. Despite its unappealing look, black teeth were highly prized and symbolised both attractiveness and social status in historical Japan.

In the 19th century, corsets were a fundamental part of women's fashion in Europe and America. Designed to cinch the waist and create an exaggerated hourglass figure, these garments were laced so tightly that they restricted breathing and caused long-term health issues.

Prolonged use could lead to deformed ribcages, misaligned spines, and muscle atrophy. Despite these risks, corsets remained popular because they provided the desired slender waistline that was synonymous with beauty and elegance during that era​​.

To achieve a fair and radiant complexion, women in the 19th century resorted to ingesting small doses of arsenic. This toxic substance was believed to improve skin appearance, giving it a fresh and youthful glow.

However, arsenic is a potent poison, and even small amounts could lead to severe health problems, including poisoning symptoms and potentially fatal consequences. The pursuit of beauty through such dangerous means underscores the extreme lengths women were willing to go for societal approval​. These dangerous beauty tricks show the extreme lengths women were willing to go to fit in back then.

One of the most painful and extreme beauty practices was foot binding in China, which began around the 10th century and continued until the early 20th century. This involved tightly binding young girls' feet to prevent them from growing, resulting in small, deformed feet known as "lotus feet."

The practice was incredibly painful and led to lifelong disabilities. Despite this, small feet were highly prized. They were considered a mark of beauty and elegance, and could even enhance a woman's marriage prospects​.

In the 18th century, European women wanted pale, flawless skin like porcelain. They started applying makeup made from white lead which was toxic for them.

This toxic substance provided a smooth, pale complexion, hiding blemishes and giving a youthful appearance.

However, prolonged use of lead-based cosmetics resulted in severe skin damage, poisoning, and even death. The health risks associated with lead makeup were well-known, but even though they knew the repercussions, the desire for beauty outweighed concerns for safety​.

This content was created with the help of an AI model and verified by the writer.

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