How the Internet sees beauty


Matthew Bower used Image Atlas, a photo search tool that indexes “top image results for given search terms across local engines throughout the world,” to chart how beauty is understood around the world:

He’s struck by the fact that even in non-Western countries, the images of beauty reflect fair-skinned, Western-looking women:

There’s a staggering number of beauty products, makeup applicators, and spa treatments, all of which essentially suggest that beauty is something to be purchased and applied. Notice that a person living in Jamaica gets the same search results as a person living in the United States. Some of the anomalies are interesting as well: North Korea’s results are mostly nature scenes, Kenya’s results include a graphic of the world wearing a graduation cap, and Zimbabwe depicts more products than people.



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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.