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Body Piercings: An Enlightenment And A Step Back In Time.

1185 words - 5 pages

If we could experience time travel and visit the ancient civilizations and empires that conveyed their spiritual, social and religious beliefs through body piercing, several people would think they are not as appealing as pop-star Brittney Spears' 'cute' little pierced navel. Yet we wouldn't have to travel in time to experience and explore different cultures and their piercing practices. All that is needed is to hop on a plane and fly to Africa or South America and take a close look at the immense amount of groups whose piercings are as sacred as an expensive porcelain vase.For the narrow minded and ignorant, body piercing is limited to teenagers and a freak or two. However, it is something that can be seen around the world in men, women and children. In order to fully understand the concept of body piercing, one must study and respect the history behind it, rather than criticize it and draw negative conclusions.Evidence of body piercing goes back as far as 4000 years! The University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology displays a 4000 year-old clay figurine from Iran with multiple-pierced ears as well as earplugs carved from obsidian (a volcanic glass). These earplugs came from Guatemala and they date back to 1500 A.D. So, does this mean these people were crazy, freaky and they just wanted to be cool and different? That is very far from the truth.Moving forward in time... Soldiers in Caesar's army wore nipple rings to emphasise masculinity and status. Women in the 14th century pierced their nipples to show how elastic and youthful their breasts were. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria of England popularised piercing the male genitalia. High-class men would hook the penis to the back of the leg in order to prevent "accidents" and to keep a 'smooth' look in tight pants. For some, this may be a hard fact to swallow. But it's history and it's true.It is also true that piercings can be temporary. Many civilizations have historically used temporary piercings for Religious festivals, ceremonies and special rituals, like those of the Maya of Mexico and Central America, in which the tongue was temporarily pierced to commune with the spirits of their ancestors. Temporary piercings were and are currently practiced to purify the body, display proof of power and they have also been employed as a medium for artistic performances.Every individual has the right to choose if they will get pierced for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Those who chose to go to the grave with piercings would fall in the "Permanent Piercings" category. Permanent piercings are the most recognised form of body piercing and they also carry the most significance. In specific cultures, permanent piercings can be executed for several reasons ranging from sexual enhancement to marking the change from childhood to adulthood. For this transformation, many groups in Africa, India, South America, Indonesia, New Guinea and the Pacific pierce the nostril, lip and septum...

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