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Beauty in different cultures

Piercing and lip plates are a strong part of the Suri culture. At the point of puberty most women have their bottom teeth removed in order to get their lower lip pierced. Once the lip is pierced, it’s then stretched and a lip plate is then placed in the hole of the piercing. Having a lip plate is a sign of beauty and the bigger the plate, the more cattle the woman is worth. This is important when the women are ready to get married. It is still unknown why and how lip plates came to be used. One theory says lips plates were used to discourage slave owners from taking the women who had them. In recent years, some young women are refusing to have their lips pierced.

For the women of the Karo tribe in southern Ethiopia, beauty is literally skin deep. During childhood, girls allow their elders to cut scars onto their stomachs. "The main reason for my scars is to attract a male that will give me joy, because I will be beautiful and hopefully get a husband," says one girl during her Taboo interview. Once a Karo girl has received the last of her scars, she's allowed to marry and have children.


The female members of the Kayan tribe (situated on the border between Burma and Thailand) have another ideal of beauty. Also known as “long necks”, they measure a woman’s beauty according to the brass rings wore around the neck. As they grow older they increase the number of rings which gives them an elongated neck appearance. They start this ritual as early as the age of 5 and their neck is absolutely transformed by the heavy rings. The elongated neck is a result of the pressure the rings put on their shoulders, clavicles and chest. The shoulders are being pushed down, that’s how the elongated neck appearance is achieved.

Chinese foot binding is the practice of modifying a woman's feet to make them about 3 inches (7 cm) long. It was once considered erotic and beautiful, though has since been seen as a form of female subjugation. The practice started in the 7th century CE, and despite various calls for reforms, was only banned in the early 1900s. The physical process of footbinding was extremely painful, and usually led to a lifelong disability. Though the practice was primarily restricted to Han ethnic Chinese women, an estimated 2 billion women had their feet bound in the 19th century alone.

Date: 2015-02-28; view: 3791

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