One very strange aspect of our society’s culture and the culture of many societies around the world is that of body modification. Body modification has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years for different reasons. Early modification had something to do with cultural significance in many cases but in other cases it was simply due to vanity. People from cultures around the world throughout time have been concerned with their personal appearance and would go to great lengths to improve it.
The concept of beauty would seem to be one that was the same throughout the globe and throughout time but that is simply not the case. In one particular African culture long necks are considered beautiful. It is in fact considered so important that women have long necks that they place metal rings around their neck starting at a very young age and progressively add more rings to force their necks to stretch into abnormally long proportions. This modification is so severe that if the metal rings were to be removed from their neck, these women would not be able to hold their heads up.
At one point small feet were considered beautiful and very important for women to have in Japan. It was considered so important for women to have small feat that starting from an infant, Japanese women had their feet bound in tight ribbons to prevent their feet from growing.
One of the most common types of modification is tattooing. Tattooing has been going on throughout the ages and it is only getting more popular as time goes on. One of the reasons for this increase in popularity is due to television programs that have glamorized the tattooing culture. People from all walks of life are being tattooed these days. In days past, tattoos were reserved for specific social groups. This is not the case anymore and people are tattooing themselves simply because it is the popular thing to do and it has become more culturally accepted.
More severe forms of body modification include branding. When a person is branded, a very hot metal device is heated to super high temperatures and that instrument is held against the skin for several seconds to cause a severe burn. When the burn heals it leaves be hing a raised scar of a particular design that the individual chose. This particular type of body modification is quite dangerous as burns easily become infected.
One very strange body modification that is coming into vogue with the underground pop culture is implants. A stainless steel or Teflon piece is implanted under their skin to form bumps on the outside of the skin. This is quite rare still but it is gaining in popularity.
Another strange type of body modification is called “guaging”. Having ones ears pierced is certainly not new but this particular spin on ear piercing is somewhat new. It starts by an individual simply having their ears pierced. Then a larger device is inserted in the hole every week or so until the hole stretches up to 2 inches in diameter.
Whatever form of body modification one chooses, whether it be tattooing or having metal implements implanted under the skin, the reasons are generally very personal nature. Although it is becoming more and more popular to see people with strange body modifications many of these body modifications are still quite taboo. The only exception would be getting a tattoo. This is one particular type of body modification that is gaining in popularity at surprising rates.