The History of Body Modification

Topics: Body modification, Body piercing, Prince Albert piercing Pages: 4 (1615 words) Published: March 23, 2013
The History and Culture of Body Modification
What is body modification and why has it had such a large impact on society? For centuries humans have been using their bodies as a canvas to identify themselves to the rest of society. Body modification lets a person stand out or blend in; it allows people to describe who they are and where they come from without saying a word. There are many forms of body modification such as Tattooing, Scarification, Piercings, Stretching, Plastic Surgery, and Corseting. Each form holds a story, a reason why it is done. “ In the past three decades, Western body art has not only become a practice, and in some quarters a fashion, that has crossed social boundaries of class and gender, "high" culture and "low," but also it has been greatly influenced by "tribal" practices, past and present.” (Enid Schildkrout, Inscribing the Body, Para 10 line 8) Tattooing

The history of tattooing stems back thousands of years from all over the world for all different reasons. “In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old. The distribution of the tattooed dots and small crosses on his lower spine and right knee and ankle joints correspond to areas of strain-induced degeneration, with the suggestion that they may have been applied to alleviate joint pain and were therefore essentially therapeutic. This would also explain their somewhat 'random' distribution in areas of the body which would not have been that easy to display had they been applied as a form of status marker.” (Cate Lineberry, Tattoos -The Ancient and Mysterious History, Para 2 and 3) There is evidence that women in Ancient Egypt had...
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