To make the body beautiful, alteration and adornment to it is a universal phenomenon. All civilisations have attempted to change their body in order to fulfill their cultural form of beauty, religious and/or social obligations. There are numerous methods for alteration-ranging from ceremonial body paint to the amputation of appendages. In modern society many people today are looking more like tribal warriors of many African cultures. In fact many of these modifications actually do come from many ancient cultures. So why is body alteration just now coming to the attention of the modern world? It is because a greater amount of young adults are finding that imitating traditions of primitive cultures an excellent method to express themselves. However, the quest for nonconformity is not the only reason people change their appearance. There are some people who are not satisfied with their appearance and fascination with alteration is also reason for one to alter their body. Body piercing can be defined as any object, intentionally left in the body, for which there is no physiologically functional purpose, and must have he placed in an event which took a conscious decision. Hindu man and woman have known this art of body piercing. Also has had a long history in Europe, with references dating back to the Roman Empire. When viewed as a material aspect of our culture, body piercing is an attempt to create an alien other: Something to shock and disconcert: An attempt to break out of the biological and cultural confines that limit the range of personal self-expression.
Earlobe piercing is the most socially acceptable (among all genders) form of body piercing in developed countries. Other popular piercing in today’s society includes the navel, tongue, lip, eyebrow, and the nose. These are usually used to express ones eccentricity and individuality. Ear piercing are most widely practiced piercing among cultural groups in Africa, India, Indonesia, North and South America. In some countries ear piercing mark the life stages of an individual and to signify group affiliation. Ear cartilage piercing, especially popular among the Masai and Fulani, also emphasised beauty and wealth. Stretched earlobes are dominant among groups in Indonesia and South America. Stretched earlobes have increased in popularity among modern-piercing enthusiasts.
Henna, also known as mehndi, is the painting of the body using temporary ink (usually a dark orange colour) made from the herb henna, widely used in the Middle-East mainly in India. The patterns of henna painting vary from culture to culture. There are three main traditions that can be recognised, aside from the modern use of henna as a trendy temporary tattoo. Generally, Arabic (Middle-Eastern) mehndi features large, floral patterns on hands and feet, while Indian (Asian) mehndi uses fine line, lacy, floral and paisley patterns covering entire hands, forearms, feet and shins; and African mehndi art is large, and bold with geometrically patterned angles. African mehndi patterns usually use black henna while Asian and Middle-Eastern mehndi is often reddish brown. It is also a common custom in many countries to step into the mehndi, or simply apply the paste without creating a pattern in order to cool, protect, or treat the skin. This practice is rapidly growing in popularity because it is easy, temporary, and inexpensive.
Tattoo is defined as an indelible mark or figure fixed upon the “body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars. Primitive people used body paint, scarification, and/or tattooing for wars, different clans and family purposes. Tattooing was introduced into our society approximately sixty years ago, and is how said to be one of the most popular ways in expressing one’s self. Amputation of body parts is yet another form of body modification. Amputation is one of the most extreme body modifications possible. Fascination with amputation is often attributed with dysmorphophobia (the fear of deformity). This is a psychological problem in which people, which are dissatisfied with their own body, cut off parts until satisfied.
In conclusion, people today, primarily in their teens and twenties, are primarily looking to distinguish themselves from the uniformity of modern society. Body alteration is the tool that these young adults use to express their individuality. Along with a rise in popularity of body alteration it is also becoming contradictory. The generation X of modern society are using ancestral customs to illustrate diversity but in actuality are forming monotony within their own social group.