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A Closer Look At Ear Piercings

Updated on January 25, 2012
Ear Piercings
Ear Piercings | Source

When I was younger, I was a major tom boy. I loved playing football, baseball, and hanging with the guys. I also loved fishing and hunting. When it came to ear piercings, they were way too girly for me! There was no way I was getting my ears pierced! Well, I gave in when I was 14, and got my ears pierced. For most girls, that’s really late. For me, not late at all! Little did I know that I would be addicted to getting my ears pierced when I was older, and have 5 in one ear and 4 in the other. No one would have guessed it!

Mr. T
Mr. T | Source

The History of Ear Piercings

Ancient Persia
The earliest known form of body modification is the ear piercing. Men were seen wearing earrings due to archaeological evidence from Persepolis in ancient Persia. Hieroglyphics, or carvings in the walls, show pictures of male soldiers with earrings in their ears.

Biblical Reference
Another way we can tell that earrings were worn in early history by men and women alike comes from Exodus 32: 1-4. It reads:

1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

2Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 

We all know that sailors "earned" an ear piercing as well. In early history, any sailor who had his earlobe pierced was known to have sailed either around the world, or crossed the equator. Also, keeping in line with the sailors, they were have thought to worn a golden earring in case they were to drown at sea. This way, they would receive the proper burial and service that they felt they deserved. However, the only way they would receive this "Christian" burial as they hoped for, their bodies must wash up onto the shore for someone to find them and the gold earring.

In the 1960's the ear piercing wave had made it's way to the "hippie" and "gay" communities. Men mainly took part in the piercings, which were then done at home because the market was not up for the retail of ear piercings and earrings. If you've ever seen the movie "Grease," you'll notice that Sandy gets her ears pierced by her friends. This is because females took part in what they called "piercing parties" to get their ears pierced.

Punk Rockers/British Athletes
Whenever you see a punk rock artist, you will more than likely see an ear piercing. That trend came about in the late '70s and 1980's. They would pierce their ears with safety pins, or get their ears pierced by the very few amateur piercers that were out there. Because of the punk rocker trend to have their ears pierced went over so well, British athletes starting joining in on the fad in the 1980's as well. Mr. "T" is a great example of a man with piercings. He started the trend early of getting both ears pierced. This did not catch on in America until the 90s.

Piercings Today
Today, you can really get any part of your ear pierced if you desire to. There are some main piercings that most people look to get done though. These can be seen in the picture above.

Ear Piercings
Ear Piercings | Source

What Parts of The Ear Can You Pierce?

As I said above, there are many parts of the ear that can be pierced. 9 to be exact. These are the names of each of the piercings in correspondence with their number.

  1. Helix
  2. Industrial
  3. Rook
  4. Daith
  5. Tragus
  6. Snug
  7. Conch
  8. Anti-Tragus
  9. Lobe

How many ear piercings do you have in both of your ears combined?

See results
Earlobe Gauging
Earlobe Gauging | Source

Gauging Ears: What Is That?

Have you ever heard someone say that they are going to stretch their earlobe out? Well, if you have, or even haven't, this is called "Gauging." When you gauge the earlobe, you take circular earrings (see side photo) and gradually, size by size, make the hole in your ear bigger. You can choose to leave the circular earring in your ear, or take it out. When someone does this, it is permanent. There's no growing shut of the hole and no gauging it back down to it's original size. You are left with that sagging earlobe for the rest of your life.

Gauging has been around for a long time. If you've ever watched the National Geographic Channel, you would probably have seen the African people with earrings stretching out not only their ears but their lips and other body parts as well. It dates back even farther though, as bone, wood, horn, and stone were found being used in ancient times to stretch the earlobe. Take a look at the chart to see the Measuring System of stretching earlobes out.

Crazy Body Piercing
Crazy Body Piercing | Source

Piercings I Never Thought Possible

There are many people out there nowadays that get piercings that I've never deemed as even possible. I've noticed people with studs into the backs of their necks, along their foreheads, and even into their stomachs! I'm not against the belly button ring, but a stud in your stomach?! These piercings that I just mentioned are permanent piercings.

I've also seen a lady with the gap between her 2 front teeth pierced into her gum! That makes me cringe every time I see it! I can't imagine having it scrape off of your teeth like that all of the time. That goes through me!

It's almost amazing to think we've perfected the science and art of piercings all the way that we can now put permanent piercings into people and even pierce their gums!

To watch a video about permanent piercings, click the play button below to see a lady receive 6 studs into her hip.

Wrap Up

Over time, the piercing world has evolved and become more mainstream today then it's ever been. More and more you see people with one piercing or another, even if it's just a lobe piercing. The fact that certain body parts and areas can be pierced actually amazes me. The fact that we've grown with technology to do these things in a clean and sterile environment makes the piercing industry not only trustworthy, but deems them responsible. Dirty needles and disease are a thing of the past with piercings, and hopefully people can appreciate others with piercings, no matter how different they are. I like piercings. The ones I receive are not permanent, and can be removed at any time if need be. As long as piercing places keep it clean and safe, pierce on! Keep the world of piercing alive.


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