Body modification has been around since the beginning of time, for one of the longest times dating back years ago and even prevalent today is body modification in African Tribes. Seen as socially acceptable in African culture as a way to enhance beauty by giving status in tribes, it is also a right of passage from boyhood to manhood in children. Body Modification: Tribal and fashionReview
Yet in today's modern society seen in America and in the UK, body modification is a practice done by the different, strange, awkward,
and out there kind
of people. Where a nose ring might get you a husband in Africa, it could cost you a job in America.
(on her way to a job interview? maybe?)
So where does the line of socially unacceptable cross that of culturally respectable?
Growing up, you may have brushed through the pages of a National Geographic. What was something that stuck out to most? The pictures of tribes people, naked in the bush adorned with jewelry in all sorts of places?
Delving into the social standard practices of body modification in Africa, you will see many with the following; scarification, piercings, stretched piercings, and teeth filing and even in extreme cases mutilation.
(Maasai man with pierced ears)
Ritual scarification is used in many tribes in Africa, done by burning, cutting, or making a slight incision to create a prominent scar. Done in patterns, it's used to identify members of certain tribal families. It is also done for social and culture acceptance. Not only done in the men of the tribes, but also to women and children as a coming of age rite of passage. In women it's seen as something beautiful, marks showing they are suitable mothers and wives.
(Sudanese immigrant with body modification)
Body piercing is not only something done in American culture, but for hundreds of years by African tribes. Jewelry can be worn in almost any part of the body including the lip, ears, nose, and eyebrow. Nose piercing, which is very common not only in Middle Eastern parts of the world but also in Berber and Beja tribes of Africa, the wife is given the ring at their wedding, the size of the ring denotes wealth and is good security for the wife if she is to get divorced.
However, I want to know among the African American population, is body modification seen or done as somewhat of a ritual or a rite of passage? It's almost seen as somewhat of an oddity to see a person of color with a piercing. If trying to get a piercing to be different wasn't hard enough, adding in the color factor can really make you stand out.
Check me out with my piercings...