Re: Terminology-Bodily modification

Stephanie Wilson (swilson@BIGCAT.MISSOURI.EDU)
Wed, 19 Jan 1994 10:35:03 -0600

On Mon, 17 Jan 1994, Matthew Hill wrote:

> I suggest that the term 'corporeal enculturation' would be
> both broad enough and adequately fuzzy to be useful. The implication,
> of course, is that what is going on in modification of the body
> is bringing the natural, the body, under cultural control.
> Bob Graber argues that cutting of hair or nails should not be
> included. What of permitting growth beyond the general rule?
> Samson (biblical, not Garth) or the stereotypical receptionist;
> Chinese Mandarins or Rastafarians.
> And what of beards?
> Apropos: interesting article in most recent Anthropology Today
> on 'prison tattoing'. reference not to hand.

I must agree with Bob Graber that hair cutting and nail trimming should
not be considered mutilation. One factor to consider in this definition
is whether the process is can always grow out your hair
or nails again, but pierced ears never completely heal over. Also, hair
cutting and nail trimming may be environmentally necessary in some places.
For example it may be too hot in some areas for long hair, not to mention
the fact that long nails tend to break off in very painful ways...

Just my two cents,
Stephanie Wilson