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If you guessed weird new trend, PLEASE do not stop reading.  I know that myself and many others have heard similar remarks “why do something so weird,” or “what’s the point of making yourself look like that”.  For this point, I’m going to ignore the obvious answers and bust out some historical evidence for you on the trendsetters that started this whole idea of stretching piercings in the body.

It’s well known that piercing in general started thousands of years ago; remains with earring hoops have been found going back as far as over 1500 years before the birth of Christ even.  It didn’t take long for stretching to become popular as well.  As early as the time of Egyptian Pharaohs people were known to gauge their ears and septum’s.  So what have we proved so far?  That for arguments sake, weirdo’s who like stretching have always been around.  Here’s the relevant information.

Starting with the Egyptians: not only did the pharaohs commonly have stretched lobes, they were the only ones allowed to.  Having the wealth and status to allow for such stretching was a sign of their nobility and the weight of their adornments.  This was a trend throughout the entire region; the pain and cost of the stretching process became a sign that an individual was well off or a high standing member of society.

Now here’s the counter point that it’s weird or odd.  While the Egyptian pharaohs were filling their ears with inch wide disks, the Mayans on the other side of the world used stretched ears lobes and nose bones as a symbol of both their religion, and abilities in battle.  The larger the bone (and I do mean actual bone), the more experienced the warrior or the more quality his skills.  In south Africa it was the lower lip that was commonly pierced and stretched along with the lobes to denote ones status in the tribe, or in women’s case, the number of children they had and helped to raise.

Even in the tribes of Papua, New Guinnea that never had contact with the modern world until the 1980’s, the tribe leader who first made contact with modern man clearly had the largest lobes, most piercings, and the largest piece of carved bone running through his septum.  These people have been passing down traditions like this since before history itself, and they’re still maintained as a part of their society and structural class.

Piercings and stretching aren’t a fad or a fashion style modernly conceived and ready to fade away, it’s a human habit that no matter where in the world or in history you are is a part of society.  After at least 3 thousand years, the only real changes to it have been in the materials that we use (things like Bioplast and Acrylics that have only come around recently) and in technological advancements like dermal anchors and the ability to craft more intricate piercings.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see a Government or Congressional leader who wears their plugs with pride to the assembly room floor.

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