Body Piercings: An Enlightenment and a Step Back in Time.

Essay by Orangeis4evaHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2003

download word file, 5 pages 2.3

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...