The Most Extreme Body Modifications Of All Time Will Make You SCREAM.
For most of us, body modifications mean one of two things: A tattoo, or some kind of piercing. Sure, some folks take it to the next level with things like mass-piercings all over their bodies, implants, and even plastic surgery -- but for the most part, our American body mods are pretty benign.
Across the world and throughout history, though, body modifications have been more extreme than we could ever imagine. From the neck plates of Thailand to the teeth-sharpening of Indonesia, there are some body mods that simply take things to the extreme. Unfortunately, these historical practices weren't all about self-expression: Instead, many of them were symbols of oppression and the cause of endless health problems.
Despite that, we have to respect the choices made by other cultures throughout history, even if it seems antiquated and violent to us today. Each of these tribes, groups, and countries had their reasons for their extreme body modifications, and learning about what those reasons were is absolutely fascinating. Check out seven of the most peculiar examples below.
#1. Historically, lip plating can be found in certain countries in Africa, Europe, and South America.
In fact, the practice can be seen as far back as 8700 B.C. It's currently still in practice by the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia, where it's done at the same time as the removal of the two front teeth. Typically, the plates denote social class and status.
#2. Skull elongation sounds dangerous, but it was something that was done for years.
In Peru, Iraq and Egypt, elongated skulls have been found that trace back to thousands of years ago. The process is begun when an infant's skull isn't completely formed, making it easier to "mold." It, too, was a sign on status.
#3. Breast ironing is an awful technique found in Cameroon.
It's used to stop girl's breasts from growing, so they don't look like women and aren't distracted by boys. The process is pretty horrifying They apply hot spatulas and pestles in order to dissolve the fat and make the breast flat. Of course, it creates numerous health issues, including breast cancer, cysts, and problems with breastfeeding.
#4. Feet binding is probably one of the most well-known extreme body modifications.
Done in China to little girls with the explicit intention of stopping their feet from growing. This deforming custom lasted for almost 1000 years, until it was banned in the 20th century. It was a symbol of wealth, since the idea of not needing to use your feet meant you had money and didn't need to work. Unfortunately, it just caused generations of women to live with disabilities and health problems.
#5. Scarification is done by the Sepik River Tribes in Papua New Guinea.
They spend weeks doing these rituals, and consider it a rite of passage. That's not the only place it's done, either. In South Sudan, the Dinka tribe practice facial scarring, etching patterns into girls for beauty and three lines across the faces of boys to represent manhood.
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