There are various ways by which humans apply art to the body, these are called Body Art. Body art is done for the aesthetics, status, or identity. Some cultures adopt one and criticize the rest, or sometimes, adopt a fair share of one and condemn its ‘excessive use’. Body Art includes piercing (for the purpose of wearing jewelry or other ornaments), tattooing, branding, and scarification. I will treat ‘Body Piercing’ in this article.
I still don’t get the unfair criticism of Body Piercing. We express ourselves in different ways. I come from the Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria, a place where virtually all female pierce their ears, mostly from birth. And in this same society, nose piercing is considered as a sign of waywardness. I think nose piercing is cool, but really, they all don’t make sense to me, not even ear-piercing. I was at a gathering some time ago and I saw a woman probably in her mid-50s with her ears pierced in about 5 different locations each. She adorned the ears with beautiful jewelry. It was a beautiful sight, I must confess. But at that same gathering, I could see some people eyeing her with disdain. I don’t know if they were irritated by the fact that it was ugly to them or they just felt that it was wrong to pierce one’s ear in more than one spot.
Ever heard of The Taínos? It is a beautiful set of islanders in indigenous Columbus.
“The islanders were friendly and open to trade with the Spanish sailors. They traded anything for anything: balls of spun cotton, parrots, and spears for the sailors’ glass beads, red caps, and trinkets. Most interesting to the explorers, however, was the fact that the islanders had small pieces of gold pierced in their noses. In addition, they told Columbus that the inhabitants of other islands wore gold bands around their arms and legs. They also described countless islands, all like theirs. The Spaniards, believing that they had arrived in the Indies, soon called all islanders Indians.” -Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009.
This is just to show that a pierced body doesn’t affect a person’s behavior, therefore stereotypes against body piercing is unreasonable and baseless. The next time you see a person with a pierced body, as unreasonable as it may seem to you, the worst you should do is keep your mouth shut.