We are often brought to believe in a somewhat narrow definition of beauty. Yet, beauty is a multi-faceted concept which can mean different things depending on whom you talk to.
In the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia, home to the Mursi people, local women are famous for the colourful clay plates they wear in their lower lips.
When they are 10, Mursi girls pierce their ear lobes, and when they are 15, they cut through their lower lips to enhance physical beauty and seduction skills.
“Look at me. Without my clay plate, I look horrible. But let me wear it, and you will see. I will be the most beautiful woman on earth!”
In the local context, Mursi women are great masters in the art of seduction. They get creative with their ornaments, using face and body paint, beads, horns, and scarification.
In the light of the many gifts which accompany each marriage, unmarried women use as many beauty symbols as possible to attract a potential husband. Presents include 38 cows and one AK47 gun given to the bride’s family.
Here we are reminded of a simple, yet powerful, fact; beauty criterion are relative.