Body Modifications Among the Nacirema (1)

mike shupp (ms44278@HUEY.CSUN.EDU)
Mon, 15 Jul 1996 08:59:56 -0700

On Sun, 14 Jul 1996, mike shupp wrote:

Let's be more specific, and consider some concrete examples of
body mutilations/markings:
A. Perforation of the ureter in Australian aborigine males
B. Removal of the clitoris in African native women
C. Circumcision of infant males in Jewish/ANE cultures
D. Foot binding, head binding, etc.
E. Maori (and other) facial scarring and tattooing
F. Tattoos voluntarily acquired by seaman, soldiers, and
related groups (outlaw bikers, prisoners, etc.)
G. Other decorative mutilations, cultural sanctioned or
traditional, such as earlobe piercing
H. Flagellation, hair shirts, etc. when self-inflicted
I. Role-related castration (eunuchs and singers)
J. Mutilation and tattooing beyond usual cultural norms
K. Mutiliation as punishment (whippings, amputations and
ear lobe cropping)

Some additions/amplifications to the list, after communications
from Kristian Pedersen, Daniel Solomon, and Robert Snower:
L: Elongation of lips and earlobes
M: Neck "stretching" by rings
N: Corsets
O. Plastic surgery
P. Rib removal (in Victorian ladies)
Q. Eye fold removal (in contemporary Orientals)
R. Caste marks
S. Hair cuts, wigs, powders, and adornments
T. Costume (yamulkas, etc.)
U. Cosmetics and scents
V. Nose piercings and adornments
V. Nipple piercings and adornments
W. Genital piercings and adornments
X. Bullimea and anorexia
Y. Sun tans and sun avoidance
Z. Sex change surgery

Tentative observations toward a typology of body modification

Social breadth
Culture-wide circumcision (e.g.) ritual?
Class caste mark
Occupation miltary haircut traditional?
Individual nose stud optional?

Role Assignment
Gender sex-change
Age group penile perforations
Social Rank floured hair

Distortion neck "stretching"
Coloration sun avoidance
Patterning tattoo
Embellishment piercing
Removals amputation

More on the subject when I've thought some more.
Comments or additions, anyone?

Mike Shupp
California State University, Northridge