This Essay examines American and African body modifications and how we view other cultures

Essay by sweetstrwbry22131High School, 12th gradeA+, June 2004

download word file, 14 pages 4.6

Body Modifications Pertaining to Culture

Throughout history people in nearly every culture have gone to great lengths to decorate or alter the bodies they were born with. From body painting to piercing to scarification, from tattoos to plastic surgery, from the Bronze Age to the computer age, cultures from around the world have changed their ideas of how a body should look, and have altered themselves to fit their standard of perfection. In doing so people have gone through drastic measures to achieve their goal of looking this way. In many different cultures people change themselves, and in many different ways do they find others beautiful and in certain cultures, their beauty is seen differently. By analyzing different forms of body modifications in both the American and African cultures we will be able to see how body modification is related to what is perceived to be beautiful in a culture.

Studying the origin of body modifications and how they are used in each culture is necessary to compare the reasons and effects of body modifications in both America and Africa.

One important way to change your body in both African and American cultures is the tattoo. The word, tattoo originally came from the word 'tatu' which in Tahitian means to mark something. They are the most popular body modification recorded in history, the number of people who have acquired tattoos, as of this moment, totals over 39 million people in North America alone. Tattoos can be dated back to 12000 years BC and are recorded to have been found in ancient Egyptian times, although researchers believe it was invented far before that. Tattoos have always had an important role in ritual and tradition. In Borneo, women tattooed their symbols on their forearm indicating their particular skill. If a woman wore...