Bodies & Clothes: Cultural implications
Under this heading I have chosen to sub head “Body modification” as I think
some cultures feel this method is more sufficient and important to them than clothes
Every culture, race and ethnic groups has a certain relation to clothing. There
is a endless selection of clothes. Many trends are available for all shapes and sizes,
age, gender and nationality. Only we can decide what type of person and status we
portray by our choice of garment. We wear clothes to influence other peoples
perception of us. We recognize certain people by their garments. For instance, the
army, policemen, doctors and firemen. Each of these wear a certain uniform that
allows us to recognize who they are. Many culture groups have a certain way of
dressing due to religious beliefs. E.g. Muslim women cover ninety five per cent of
their body at all times. That’s what they believe is the right way to dress. Other groups
are free to choose what they want to wear and how to wear it.
Body modification is a universal culture. All cultures, tribes and populations
have attempted to change their appearances and body to in order to fulfil their cultural
beliefs, religious and social obligations. Body modification has been practiced for
thousands of years. It can be as simple as cutting your hair, changing your make up
and clothes to the extremes of plastic surgery. Even dieting and body building is
considered a form of body modification, as we are changing the way we look in order
to appear the way we want to be seen. For some people simple modifications as some
above don’t please them entirely. They seek some permanent body modification such
as tattoos or semi permanent such as piercing. Others seek adrenaline rushes from
body modification such as suspended flesh hook piercing. This is when eight metal
hooks are pierced and inserted into your back and legs so your can hang suspended
from your piercing. Other crazy forms of modification are a technique called body
branding where the use of extreme heat is applied to the flesh creating a decorative
scar. Just like the branding of a cow with a hot iron bar. Scarification: this involves
cutting into the skin to form raised scar tissue. This method can be used to create
patterns and words on the body. It shows up when the cut scars over. It’s a ancient
African tribal form of body art. It is believed that scarring was developed because they
have to dark of skin to be tattooed on. It is a ritualised practice in most tribes to this
day. They believe that these scars will protect them from the evil spirits of death and
to receive family pride e.g. coming of age ceremony when boy becomes man. The
scars bring honour to the entire family.
For the duration of my essay I am going to focus on two of the most known
types of body modification which are tattoos and piercing. Tattoos are pictures or
deigns that have been imprinted on the person’s skin. They are personal to the
recipient getting tattooed as some can be symbolic or simply appealing to the person.
Tattoos are stencilled on to the body or drawn on the skin. They then get a tattoo
machine and put black ink on the needle and trace out your design to make them
permanent. Some are coloured in depending on the design.
The earliest known evidence of tattoos on the body were from Egypt when
archaeologists discovered the remains of a female mummy dated to 2000bc. This
female mummy displayed several dots and lines across her body for ritual practices.
This was the earliest evidence of tattoos until the discovery of a five thousand year
old preserved ice man from the mountains between Austria and Italy in 1991. This
was the best preserved corpse of that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document