Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clay Discs in the Lips

What is beauty? Who is considered beautiful? Each society, culture or generation would be able to answer  those questions, however the answers would be infinite.  In the 1700s it was quite popular for women to shave off their eyebrows and replace it with mouse fur, I bring this up because it successfully proves my point. That beauty and the conceptions of it, are in constant change...because, honestly, I hope that no one is walking around with mice skin glued to their faces.

It is amazing to realize how different the conceptions of beauty are around the world. For example, in certain tribes in Africa it is custom for women, at a young age to cut a hole and insert a clay disc in their bottom lip. It is a life long process by gradually increasing the plate size. The goal is to stretch one's lip as much as possible. This has been a long lasting tradition. Dating as far as 8700 BC, even in multiple countries around the world such as: Kamchatka, Iran, the Balkans, Sudan, Mesoamerica, and Coastal Ecuador. Though, in each culture the placement and style of the plate varies. The Makonde people of southeast Tanzania wear the discs in their upper lips. 

Beauty is a controversial word because it can mean have so many definitions, some we can't understand. To us, in our society, we might find lip plating strange or repulsive, but to the Africans it is their conception of beauty. For the bigger ones plate, the more beautiful they are considered.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I can't imagine you can do much with a disc like that in your lip... seems so dysfunctional! Anyway, is your blog going to describe different beauty practices in other cultures? Or perceptions of beauty closer to home? Whatever you do I'm sure will be interesting. There are so many variations to beauty other than the stereotypical.