They come in all sizes and shapes and you can see them clinging to almost anywhere in the body- from the belly button to anywhere below the belt (literally!). Men, women, professionals, athletes, punks, rockstars, and celebs absolutely love them. They are considered chic and make for a great style statement.
What are they? The all-stylish piercings, of course! With the trend of body piercing hitting an all-time high, more and more people are being pierced today. From celebs to corporate people, everyone has spikes and studs to flaunt. Piercing has become an integral part of our mainstream fashion culture and considering its growing popularity, it is clear that the trend is here to stay.
However, have you ever wondered about the origins of this art? If you think that the vogue of body piercing is the latest emergence, then you are in for a surprise. The art of body piercing did not spring up with rock ‘n’ roll bands and biker gangs. In fact, it has existed across millenaries – serving as a sign of status, identification, and protection, and has been adorned by men and women for about 5300 years now.
Although archaeologists have found remnants of earrings in the world’s oldest mummy, the Romans were the first to kick off this trend. They gauged their nipples as a sign of valor and also to fasten their cloaks. In the Victorian era, girls pierced their nipples to enlarge them, while African women did multiple piercings on their ear lobe, ear rim, and other body parts to oppose the slave trade.
Ancient Egyptians pierced their navels as a sign of their regal lineage, while the Arabs pierced the left side of their scrotum to prevent testis from returning to the body.
Ear piercing is perhaps the oldest existing form of piercing and, arguably the most widely followed fashion trend. Earlier, women and men pierced their earlobes and rims to indicate their nobility and wealth. The African warriors stretched their lobes as a sign of their invincible valor, while a few tribes wore it as a talisman to ward off evil spirits.
However, today the trend of piercing earlobes has seen a paradigm shift; it has come to do more with fashion than any other customary practice. With the art of ear piercing moving into new and complex terrain, this trend has definitely caught the fancy of millions of men and women worldwide, who aren’t afraid to experiment with it.
Punching holes in the face is apparently no new thing. Just like ear piercing, even the trend of getting lips, eyebrows, noses, and chin pierced has existed across cultures and tribes. Traditionally, African women pierced their lips before the wedding, while nose piercings were common among the Middle Eastern tribes. However, contemporary facial piercings are more inclined towards imaginative art rather than ancient beliefs.
For teenagers, facial piercing is more about embellishment and self-expression. However, people opting for this trend should ensure that they take all proper measures to prevent infection and other complications associated with piercing. Infections can leave behind unsightly marks and scars that can mar your appearance for good.
Even before you raise your eyebrows, know that this bizarre trend of piercing one’s genitals is not the imagination of a harebrained 21st Century hippie; this trend has actually been passed on to us by our ancestors and they did it for a cause.
While Roman gladiators pierced their penises with rings to keep their vital organs out of the way while they were fighting, Borneo men did it to diminish their sexual appetite. Even the Puritans, during the Victorian Age, pierced their penises as a mark of chastity.
Genital piercings are difficult to get and maintain for obvious health concerns. However, if you are keen on getting your genitalia pierced, then you have a wide array of fashionable options like ampallang, dydoe, frenum, Prince Albert, and guiche.
Oral piercing is another daring, cool body piercing trend that has inspired many. It involves getting tongues, lips, cheeks, and uvula pierced. This piercing trend owes its roots to ancient cultures where the oral piercing was done to mark developmental milestones like attaining puberty. Today people opt for these intraoral or perioral piercings for purely aesthetic reasons.
However, there are a few potential hazards of getting your mouth pierced that must always be kept in mind before taking a final decision. Apart from chipping your tooth, the metals studs inserted in your tongue, chin, or lips can also damage the gums, and trigger allergic reactions too.
Solomon had rightly said, “What has been in old times comes around again”. This statement holds true for body piercing also. Perforated booty is indeed a treat for the eyes. But then, like all other piercing trends, even body piercing has a long history to boast of.
The Pharaohs pierced their bodies to flaunt their nobility, while the Romans got their nipples pierced for more practical reasons. Body surface piercing is the ideal way to draw eyes to one’s assets and is usually a huge attention grabber. On the flipside, piercing body parts can damage the tissues and delay healing. No wonder that people are advised to think, rethink, and think about their piercing decisions over and over again.
Body adornment and embellishment have been, for a long, an integral part of human history, and the art of body piercing is certainly an old one. As a sign of authority, a symbol of culture, an embellishment, and now, as a means of self-expression, the art of body piercing has existed across centuries.
It’s indeed delightful to see how tiny studs, spikes, and bobbles can amplify your look and image to great heights. Today, the art of body-piercing is deemed as a form of independent expression; it’s a sign that you are willing to go to extremes to exhibit your inner self. However, make sure you get your piercing/s done by an experienced piercer to avoid any unnecessary complications later on.