She Did What to Her Body?
Since the dawn of time, women have changed their appearances. Whether it be a new hairstyle, make-up, or clothes, the options for individuality and beauty seem endless today. Women on average spend $217 on makeup, $417 on body care products, $1,069 on clothing, and $250 on shoes for a total of $1,953 per year (Parker). That's $1,953 per year on appearance items that most women won't even keep or use the following year. It is also just the tip of the disposable beauty iceberg as it does not include hair and nail visits or tanning. So what about more permanent modifications like plastic surgery? In the US alone, $10.1 billion is spent annually on plastic surgery (Mele).
While the annual costs of modification may seem extreme, modern civilizations consider these expenses common or necessary to achieve maximum beauty and femininity. In fact, women of all cultures endure hours of grooming and undergo sometimes very painful procedures. Three examples of cultures whose women undergo extreme body modifications to fit societal standards are the Kayan, Mursi, and Apatani tribes.
Originating in Burma, a small group of the Kayan tribe better known also as the “giraffe women” have gained worldwide attention for the practice of wearing neck rings. Now living in Thailand, the Kayan women begin at the age of five by wrapping brass coils around their necks. As she ages and grows, the coils are replaced with larger coils creating the appearance of a giraffe-like neck. Instead of actually lengthening the neck, the heavy metal coils press on the woman’s collarbone changing the angle of her shoulders and compressing her ribcage. This compression is what gives the illusion of a longer neck. It is said that the origin of this practice is unclear but Kayan woman say it is to establish tribal identity and beauty. This practice is also said to ensure that women will marry within their tribe. According to a BBC report, most of these women must resort to...
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