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Transcript of Pierced
Piercing is a form of body modification.
It is the practice of decorating the body by puncturing the skin to attach jewelery.
To alter the appearance for social status and acceptance, religious purposes, family position and tribal affiliation (DeMello, 2007).
The first instance we have recorded information about people having piercings was during biblical times.
(KJV, Genesis 24:22) "And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands..." refers to Rebekah, Isaac's wife, who received the piercings as a betrothal gift.
(KJV, Leviticus 19:28) "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord."
(KJV, Ezekiel 16:11-12) "I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists and, a chain on your neck. "And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears..." the Bible is mentioning piercing of the body as part of an approved covenant between God and the people of Jerusalem, who were adorned in God's favor.
The Pagans (people who were not involved in the worship of God) of biblical times practiced body art such as piercing their flesh (and marking tattoos) to show respect towards the dead, but this was a sign of worship to those who have passed.
It is uncertain when piercing began.
It is believed to have started thousands of years ago (Armstrong, 2005).
It is thought to have been practiced in all cultures (Hopkins, 2000).
The Middle East provides the setting for various stories surrounding piercings.
Indicated ownership (slave pierced his ear)
Bridal dowry (property or money given to the brides husband by the bride)
Representation of health
Tools used to pierce the skin:
Middle East: Ear and nose piercing
1500- Egyptian rulers (such as queen Nefertiti) and mummies of the time have been found with single and double piercings of the ears.
1500- Women of India wore nose rings brought to them by Moghul Emperors from the Middle East.
400 B.C- Greeks wore earrings made of glass paste.
200 B.C.- Romans copied the Greeks by wearing earrings (made of gold and gemstones.)
1000 A.D.- Piercings re-introduced to the Europeans.
Late 1800 A.D.- Ear piercing became popular in the United States.
Early part of 20th Century- Piercing of various additional body parts in the U.S., and including nontraditional adornments became popular.
Why and What?
Socio political status- Every piercing signified a specific status.
Roman gladiators’ nose rings symbolized strength.
Egyptian piercings portrayed wealth and beauty.
Greeks and Romans showed social status with earrings.
Middle Eastern- marriage ceremonial gifts.
Religious rites of passage (India, Middle East.)
Europeans included ear piercing as a fashion statement in the 19th century.
Americans use piercings to make a statement about and show affiliation with subcultures.
It is not known for certain, but it is believed to have been Indian women who have visited the United States, bringing the custom of nose piercings.
Americans then had the idea to pierce various additional body parts. The Hippies (during 1960’s and 1970’s) started this trend first.
Piercing became widespread and popular in the 1990’s in several subcultures.
16th century artists such as Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raliegh popularized ear piercing such as, hey wore gold rings in their ears. (picture below)
North American Indian tribes (NezPerc, tribe of Washington state) practiced septum piercing.
Sailors believed that if they pierced their ears then their eyesight would become significantly better. (1600-1700)
Sometimes these men would be washed up on shore found with these piercings (making more people aware of this custom.)
Opened the first piercing studio in California, circa 1978. The name of his shop was Gauntlet.
He made the ball closure ring become more popular in the U.S. (picture shown below)
People born from 1953-1963: 2% have body piercings
People born from 1964-1974: 13% have body piercings
People born from 1975-1986: 32% have body piercings
People born in the 1990’s: approximately 51% have body piercings.
Today, Elaine Davidson of Scotland holds the record of most piercings with over 9,000. (pictures below)
Statistics show that about 83% of Americans have their earlobes pierced (72% of them being women.)
Most body piercing jewelry consists of rings, hoops, studs, plugs, gauges, or barbell-shaped ornaments.
Body areas pierced:
Nose- septum (piercing in the tissue dividing the nostrils), nostril piercing
Ears- lobes (9), helix/cartilage (1) are the
two main parts of the ear that are pierced. (pictured to the right)
Reasons people have piercings:
Cultural tradition and spirituality
Group affiliation- subculture membership (1960’s Hippies, 1970-1980’s Punk Rockers, 1990-current Gothic)
Resistance- protests against parents or society
Individuality- self identity; showing distinction from others
Personal narratives- expression of personal values; experience of rights of passage
Beauty, art, and fashion
Armstrong,, Myrna L. "Tattooing, Body Piercing, and Permanent Cosmetics: A Historical and Current View of State Regulations, with Continuing Concerns." Journal of Environmental Health 67.8 (2005): 38-43.
"Body Piercing Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. N.P., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013.
DeMello, M. (2007). Encyclopedia of Body Adornment. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
Fallon, L.F. "Piercing and Tatoos Health Article." Body Art and Tattoo. Thomson Gale, 2006. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
Hopkins Tanne, Janice. "Body Art: Marks of Identity." BMJ 64th ser. 320.7226 (2000): n. pag. NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 2000. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.
"Modifying the body: Motivations for getting tattooed and pierced Wohlrab, Silk and Stahl, Jutta and Kappeler, Peter M. ScienceDirect Body Image 4(2007) pages 87-95
Nose Piercing." Nose Piercing -Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 11 Nov., 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
"Tattoos and body piercings in the United States: A national data set" Laumann, Anne E and Derick, Amy J. Journal of American Academy of Dermatology Mar. 26 2006.
By Julianne Saum