Body Piercings

Body piercings have been around for many years and they are used differently depending on the culture. In America, body piercings have been gaining more popularity. There have been more different types of individuals who are getting piercings, which has also been associated with the location of the piercing on the individual’s body. Piercings in America nowadays are certainly most prevalent among teenagers and young adults, around their early twenties, and they are expressive of a specific style and/ or personality that the individual wants to be associated with.

A symbolic anthropologist might see body piercings as representing defiance. When we look at the main age group of the individuals who pierce their bodies it usually varies between high school and college students. During my high school years I went through a phase when I wanted more and more piercings. I now have seven piercings, five of which I got in high school. I was lucky because my parents allowed my phase of piercings, but many of my friends secretly got piercings behind their parent’s backs. This is one way that piercings symbolize defiance from the current American view. High school is a time when people often go through many phases and rebel against their parents. Piercings can be one representation of this transition of rebellious behavior. Piercings symbolize ownership over the individual body and it is semi-permanent with little damage, unlike tattoos. The location of a piercing is also symbolic of an individuals style, and oftentimes personality. For instance, nose piercings may have been very different 10 years ago, but now it is far more popular among boys and girls in America. However, when someone pierces their eyebrow or lip, this piercing is much more associated with a different group of people, or perhaps just an individual who wants to be more original.

A post-structuralist who is interested in questions of power might notice that publically visible piercings tend to decline as an individual gets older. When I have applied for jobs, piercings have been something that must be hidden while working. Many jobs do not allow piercings because it is viewed as less professional, but many piercings may also be hidden and taken out when necessary. This is a view of a crack within a hegemonic system because wherever there is power, there is resistance, and the piercing is that resistance of enforced power.  A post-structuralist might mention that disciplining of the of the body results from disciplining of the mind. This idea is represented in having body piercings because people often do take out their piercings by choice, but there is also pressure by society to conform that may cause this.

People who have piercings that are not “normal” may be ostracized, but the piercing is representative of the individual.  Piercings are symbolic of what an individual wants to represent, yet it also serves as a crack within a hegemonic system because they serve as a resistance to power that is created by society.

—Jamie L.

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43 Responses to Body Piercings

  1. Annika Sandberg says:

    I find this topic very interesting for an essay. I think it would also be interesting to explore the idea of whether or not the gaining popularity of piercings is lending itself towards more acceptance among all individuals, and how this would in turn effect the symbolism of rebellion as well as the need to hide them.

  2. Stephanie Grossart says:

    Getting piercings at first is definitely a sign of defiance. Being able to alter your own body is a form of rebellion. Teens are constantly trying to discover themselves and try new things. I completely agree with the symbolic view. All Piercings, tattoos, and hair colors mean something to the person who got them. This was a great topic. When people finally grow up and realize who they really are they also realize they don’t need the piercings to be who they are.

    • Charles says:

      I do not entirely agree that piercings are a sign of defiance or that people do not need piercings to be who they are when they are older. Many people get piercings with parents consent, as Jamie said, and more than that, with culture’s consent. Furthermore, there are people who get piercings later in life when they “know who they are.” Also, women out of their twenties still wear piercings to express who they are just as people express who they are with their clothing, regardless of age. Defiance tends to be limited to phases and unless the point being made is that the style of piercing is what is defiant, then simple the act of getting piercings shouldn’t be considered being defiant.

    • Mateo says:

      Like CHarles, I do not agree that piercings are a sign of defiance or that people up an realize they dont need piercings to be who they really are. certainly defiant or rebellious overtones can play a role in piercings. To this extent it would be interesting to see a practice theory analysis of piercings and defiance. Are individuals getting pierced for defiant reasons but stating its for spiritual reasons. Are individuals getting pierced to fit in to a social or cultural category or norm while in reality having little to no desire to do so. Then what are the social and cultural connotations and stigma for piercings, in regard to who gets them, the regional mentality in which the individuals operate, and the degree of what is and is not acceptable from both the individuals viewpoint and the cultural viewpoint. Which then opens a seg-way into culture and personality.

  3. Emma Simpleman says:

    I thought this essay was really good and although I somewhat agree with the symbolic view, I wouldn’t say that teenagers get piercings just as an act of defiance. I have numerous piercings and never got them as a way to rebel against my parents or whatnot. In fact, many of the times I have went to get a piercing, once of my parents was there with me. I also really enjoy the discussion of piercing through the post-structuralism view, and thought it was a very interesting way to look at the topic.

  4. Kait Bashford says:

    Good topic! I think that symbolic anthropology can be applied to piercings also as a form of expression, be it individual or cultural. You briefly discussed this idea when you spoke about an individual ownership of the body, as well as originality by comparing the location of a piercing to others whose adornment is similar to yours. It’s interesting to me how nose piercings have become much more acceptable in American society, yet the lip or eyebrow is still seen as extreme. I got my belly-button pierced in high school, and my lip pierced in college. I found that the navel was not a big deal to friends and family (even though I was only sixteen) whereas the lip was widely rejected even though I was twenty years old. It is part of American culture to express yourself, but as soon as you do something less-acceptable, self-expression is seen as a cultural genre. It’s also crazy that piercings are so much more approved of than tattoos, even still. These symbols of adornment and expression are chosen by the individual for whatever reason, then judged by society based on norms and current trends.

  5. Maiji Castro says:

    A very well defined topic with the use of symbolic and post-structuralist anthropology. However, in addition to those topics I think it would be interesting to approach body piercings through a culture and personality stance. Is United States culture encouraging body piercing as a means of rebellion and individual style or is it frowning on piercings all together? Through cultural and personality theory we could look at whether rebellious teenagers are acquiring piercings because it is deemed an acceptable way to act out or because they are true outliers of society. As well as determining how people just make them fit in their proper places if they are true outliers of society. As suggested in the essay above, does society just have the teenagers take the piercings out? Or perhaps getting body piercing is actually an acceptable way to rebel as a teenager and those who get them as a method of acting out against their parents and society are actually just conforming to it.

  6. Greyden H says:

    I have always found the topic of body piercings to be an interesting matter. When I was growing up, my mom would always point out people with many visible piercing (up to 10-20) and would say in a judgemental voice, that these individuals were doing this so get attention. I like how the author relates symbolic anthropology into the idea that getting many piercings is viewed as an act of defiance. It seems that the individuals are trying to express themselves in nonconventional ways. Body piercings have become much more popular in the most recent years, even I got my ears pierced during senior year in high school because all my friends were. There were many reactions to these instances, all of which were different. It is interesting to look back on that and realize how people interpret the act of getting body piercings.

    • Brianne Hart says:

      I agree with Greyden’s comment and also believe it is interesting to look at how people interpret body piercings and how body piercing interpretations have changed. I really liked the author’s use of symbolic and post-structuralist anthropology, these two views really offered a great and honest insight on piercings, which I completely agreed with. I also think it would be interesting to look at piercings from a feminist anthropologist view. This perspective might be interested in understanding more about the gendering of ear piercings. A feminist anthropologist might view ear piercings in American society as a gendered act that is used to further display one’s gender to society. I’ve seen and heard people question when a guy has his ears pierced so it might be interesting to see how gendered ear piercings has changed over time, or to see if they haven’t really changed.

  7. Drake Williams says:

    I’m very glad that someone decided to write an essay on this topic. I do wish that you had explored more representations of piercings. While piercings and tattoos might have started as a sort of counter- culture, there is a secret world within this culture that gives these things different meaning than defiance. Tattoo’s and piercings are, to most, just a form of personal expression, or symbols of extraordinary events. I personally have 13 tattoos and have been pierced over 20 times (though that includes a few doubles or re-piercings) and I do not get these piercings to defy anyone (though my parents do hate them). Piercings for me, and quite a few of my friends are almost a form of release. I have been pierced twice as an, albeit odd, type of acupuncture to relieve head pain related to a severe injury. On the other hand I do agree with your mention that the visibility of piercings goes down as age increases as I have even removed piercings for jobs, or just simply because I feel I have outgrown them.
    Regardless, of my disagreement I do find that your essay is well written, and perhaps for some very true.

  8. dianamorse says:

    Your insight on post-structuralism in regards to piercings led me to realize something about one of my pieces of body art. I got my most recent tattoo after a dispute with someone who was harassing me at work. The art itself has nothing to do with the event, but I got it with the intent of strengthening my own psyche against this person. Mind, this person was in a superior position over me at work. It was obvious complicated, and all of my body art has multiple meanings, but the new piece is very much a defiance by the intent.

  9. Blaine Wajdowicz says:

    Brianne, I liked your idea of applying feminist theory to piercings. Certainly, our society allows women and female identified people to wear earrings, but how about other piercings? Do gendered differences appear in varied piercings? For example would you look differently at a woman with an eyebrow piercing than a man with one? What about a belly button piercing? What makes it acceptable for one gender, but not the other? These are things a feminist anthropologist would be interested in.

  10. Allison Kessler says:

    I have never thought of getting piercings as an act of defiance because I was allowed to get my ears pierced once I turned 8. I look at piercing as used as a sign of maturity due to the regularity of upkeep that comes with avoiding infections and whatnot. It is also even the opposite of defiance with the idea that teenagers get piercings because everyone else has them. They may not always bee a sign of individuality since many are give the ideas of placement and style by others they know or even see on the streets around town. Piercings are a false sense of individuality because of how they are seen as expressive but may have become a cultural norm through the years.

  11. Scott MacDonald says:

    I too never thought of piercings as an act of defiance. I’ve always seen them as just another form of expression or body artwork. This is perfect for symbolic anthropology. It’s a physical representation that perhaps reflects that person’s emotions. However, I think there is a point where it becomes too much in a society and that’s where it is viewed as defiance. It’s all up to perception. There’s a very thin line as to what’s “acceptable” in our society.

  12. Dakota Mendrick says:

    I think that it would be interesting to look at the topic of body piercings from a culture and personality viewpoint. If teenagers are getting body piercings out of defiance, as the author suggests, that means they have rebellious personalities. Through the culture and personality theory, we can examine how body piercings are contributing to defiance among teenagers and therefore how it is affecting our culture.

  13. Alyssa Janssen says:

    I really liked your use of symbolic and post-structuralist theory to explore body piercings. Your point that body piercings have become much more acceptable in recent years was really interesting, especially considering that some piercings are still frowned upon, such as lip or eyebrow piercings. However, as a symbolic anthropologist I would argue that piercings are an act of personal expression rather than defiance. I know many people with piercings who got them because they like the way they look, not to stick it to the man. Your post-structuralist application was also very good, and I found it interesting that even though piercings and tattoos are becoming much more common, they are still taboo in the work place oftentimes need to be covered up. I would like look at this topic through the culture and personality standpoint, to see what it is about American culture that encourages young adults to get piercings. It would also be interesting to compare our culture to other societies that encourage tattoos and piercings, and see them as honorable rather than taboo.

  14. Anastasia M. says:

    I really like how you related piercings to hegemony. It makes a lot of sense that wearing piercings when not in a work place, and removing them for work would exhibit a crack. It makes the idea of hegemony a lot more relatable and understandable for a person like me who live in an extremely modern society and happen to have a bunch of piercings. As for symbolic theory, I don’t thing they are seen as a symbol of defiance this day in age, as they are not considered deviant anymore. My parents took me to get most of my piercings. Instead, they might be seen as a form of self expression, or inclusion into a certain type of people. Piercings could also be considered as a physical trophy for overcoming something emotionally or physically painful or challenging. Personally, I have nine piercings and I got each one as a symbolic “badge of honor” for overcoming hardships in my life.

  15. Jacklynn Sanchez says:

    This was really interesting to read! I think that another idea you could have talked about is practice theory. In using this theory you could have discussed how in the U.S we pride ourselves in freedom and individuality among all citizens, yet a lot of societies and/or families look down upon piercings and other body modifications. We say that we hold individualism within our culture, yet we don’t really act like it when it comes to older individuals judging younger ones for having piercings.

  16. Alexandra Sapien says:

    I can personally relate to this as a form of symbolic representation of defiance and rebellion. As a freshman in high school i got my nose pierced as a symbol my mother couldn’t tell me not to. And even though some teenagers get piercings in secret to get the point across to their parents, some get it in plain view so that their parents clearly know that they are defying them outright. Face piercing in general are a clearly defiant way to show the general public that you don’t attest to rules, and you want to show off that fact. I enjoy the post-structuralist way you described and somewhat, in a way added the practice theory into it by what people should do to get a job then their eventual reforming to taking out visible piercings to be integrated and accepted into a job field that has large prestige to it.

  17. lilykoral says:

    I found this to be a fairly enlightening essay on the topic of body piercings. However, I do wish you went more into depth about the placements of body piercings. One example that I can think of that plays into your theory of defiance is about my roommate. She recently got her septum pierced specifically because it defied cultural norms and because people don’t generally like septum piercings. This example explains the meaning behind some piercing placements as well as your claim about defiance.

  18. Amanda B says:

    Body piercings are definitely a commonality in culture. I found your analysis on the rebellious phase of teenagers to be very accurate. It is true that many parents do not wish for their children to get multiple piercings. But what about children (usually girls) whose parents had their ears pierced as infants? You could also add to the analysis by mentioning how a common tradition for certain cultures is to pierce their daughters’ ears once as infants, but do not allow them to get multiple piercings as they grow older. This seems to draw a different border between “normal” piercings for older generations, who think the only “normal” piercing is one on the earlobe of girls. Today, it seem teenagers and individuals in their 20s who may find multiple piercings around the ear acceptable, as you pointed out, but others (such as below the eye brow) are not part of the accepted piercings, and are open to different opinions.

  19. Sophia Grenier says:

    I really agree with everything you said. I have my bellybutton pierced, and to me, it isn’t a big deal.Just the other day, my shirt rode up and my roommate burst into a discourse about how I didn’t “seem the type” and she “never would have guessed.” It seems like a bigger deal to other people. Your analysis of piercings being forms of defiance is spot on. My desire to get a body piercing came mostly from my mother disapproving of it, and only a small bit from wanting it myself. I’d never really though of this from an anthropological lens, but you did a wonderful job of analyzing this phenomenon from that perspective.

  20. Danielle Maxey says:

    I thought your use of practice theory fit really well with your essay which I enjoyed reading though in my experience, neither of these seemed to fit for me. While I have had friends who fit into both topics you discussed. I did get a few piercings when I was a teenager. It wasn’t an act of rebellion however as my mom took me to get them done. I just wanted them. It would be interesting to read about that side of piercings that were not an act of rebellion. As for jobs, I have never had to get rid of them or even hid them. My job now states that they need to be, however, they do not enforce it. Perhaps it is because Boulder is partly a college town or maybe piercings are becoming more acceptable. It would be interesting to read a piece on that as well.

  21. Cassidy Reeves says:

    I thought you analyzed piercings in American culture really well. It’s a very relatable topic to college kids because everyone either has piercings or doesn’t have any at all; both of which make a public statement. While this would take a much longer essay, I think it would be really interesting to analyze piercings from a historical turn perspective. Many cultures in Africa gauge their ears but how did the practice become popularized in America? I’ve read some articles that say that early on in the history of American tongue rings becoming popular, they were identified with oral sex. Looking at the history of such piercings would validate these types of claims and also give us a better understanding of how a piece of body jewelry is perceived today.

  22. Rachel Echsner says:

    Piercing can definitely be somewhat controversial in certain settings like jobs and family. Personally, I have a couple piercings on my ears, all of which I got during high school; expect one that I got my first week of college (which very well could have been part of the whole “I can do whatever I want now!” phase). I could agree to an extent that getting pierced can certainly be an act of rebellion, but in many cultures piercing is seen as a beautiful thing. In the U.S. it seems like this is true to an extent. If you think about it, some mothers have their kid’s ears pierced while they’re still babies. Sure, there are some facial piercing that some people regard as strange, but almost every girl, and several boys, that I know have at least their ears pierced, if not more body parts. I would find it hard to believe that every single one of these people pierced their ears in an act of defiance. Piercing is an interesting issue to discuss because it can be viewed in so many different ways. I thought this essay was well-writen and interesting to read.

  23. Kitman Gill says:

    I’ve always been kind of intrigued by body piercings. When I first told my mom that I wanted to get an industrial (for those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a bar through the cartilage of the upper ear), I was in eighth grade. She said I could, provided I didn’t have to go to a tattoo parlor. I hunted around town until I found a professional that didn’t operate out of a tattoo shop. After I got my industrial, I wanted more piercings. My mother, exasperated with me, told me I could only get one a year. By the end of high school, I had four more piercings. For me, my piercings were an expression of individuality more than a way to rebel.

    However, I now find that I was, in a way, rebelling. I was rebelling against society’s stereotype that nerds don’t tend to have an excess of piercings. I was the valedictorian of my senior class. When people I’ve never met see my piercings, they don’t think of me as smart; likewise, when people who know me notice my piercings, they’re surprised. Even though they’re rising in popularity, piercings still have a stigma attached to them in the US. Why? I think this could be historicized. Why, and when, did piercings start carrying the stereotype they now do? Unfortunately, I don’t have these answers, but I think it’s a good thing to think about after reading your essay.

  24. Martha Daley says:

    I think it would have been nice for there to have been a wider variety of types of piercings explored, especially more permanent types of piercings such as gauges and how those would factor into the symbolic anthropological argument. I also think that practice theory might have been good for this topic, especially how so many media outlets in the U.S., including companies, promote the importance of diversity and how it is good to be diverse, yet most refuse to let employees express themselves through body modification, such as piercings. This is contradictory to the idea of diversity and rather sends the message that they want all their employees to look the same and would be a good example of practice theory that could have been added to the post-structuralist argument.

  25. Erica Blais says:

    I thought you really took an interesting approach to examining this cultural practice. Body piercing has been seen throughout cultures for centuries. I feel that it would be interesting to look at how piercings are interpreted in other societies because your points seem to be tied more closely with America’s society and values. While it seems that in our society body piercing is viewed as a symbol of defiance, in another culture it may be a symbol of rank, beauty, maturity, or body adornment. The idea of piercings and body adornment being tied to power and beauty could reflect poststructuralism in a different way than what you mentioned above. While in our society piercings are seen as unprofessional and going against the societal rules, in another society they may have religious or social value. They would not be taken out or hidden during professional and formal situations. Also, an increased value in body adornment may cause parents to have their children’s bodies pierced at a young age. I even know of people in our society who had their ears pierced when they were only about 2 years old. These children did not have control over whether or not they were having their ears pierced. This could be argued to be an example of bio-politics, or the control over someone’s body through power and authority. This topic could really be examined in-depth even more.

  26. Brianna Larkin says:

    I wonder if because of the reason how society perceives people with a lot of piercings, thats why some parents are hesitant with letting their child get piercing in the first place. I remember when i really wanted my 3rd piecing in my ears that when I asked my parents said no (this was about freshman year of high school). Because i wanted these piercings so bad I did my 3rd ones myself. As soon as my dad saw them he got pretty mad mostly because I went on and did it anyways but after a day I put them back in. Now I have eight and still want more. In my part I think it just helps differentiate someone from the big crowd, and that’s probably why I want piercing in the first place. I also agree on as people get older the piercings dwindle down to two especially as a women in the business world.

  27. Saskia Newkirk says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic, and I agree with the points you make. I would however, add to your discussion of piercings and poststructuralism by saying that the experiences you have had regarding piercings in the workplace can be seen as evidence of bio-power, or the state molding people as bodies in a new way. Although government did not directly ban you from having displaying piercings at work, this requirement can be seen as a product of values perpetuated by the state. The state promotes the idea that professionalism excludes things like piercings and tattoos, and this value is being imposed on, and shaping individuals in the workplace.

    • Jake Bradshaw says:

      I agree with you on the banning of visible piercings at the workplace as an example of biopower. As many body piercings in america are seen as counter-cultural they present a challenge to the authority of the non-pierced norm the state represents and to its professionalism that the economic institutions emulate. I would add that, from a Marxist perspective, this professionalism is emulated in order to maximize profit by attempting to reach a far broader market. In the case authored, this far greater market would be the patrons who accepted a non-pierced body as normal, as comfortable, as more inviting to conduct business with. By implementing this hiding of the piercings workplace code, the proprietor sacrificed the individuality of the worker as a person, by having them hide their piercings, in order to net more capital.

  28. Neil Tobiasen says:

    Very interesting topic throughout anthropology. African body piercings have been apart of their culture since anthropologists began researching their tribes. Body piercings in America have been modernized and are used to try and increase sexuality or even self-image. I can relate to getting piercings as a sign of defiance 100%. In high school, I got my ear pierced at the mall after graduating high school. I was 18, therefore legally allowed to have the piercings done. As soon as I arrived home my mother immediately told me to remove my earrings or to get out of the house. Just goes to show that you can’t always get what you want because the house always rules.

  29. Jon Mastman says:

    Good essay. I have never quite seen the appeal to piercings. I have heard and read that the act itself is sometimes fun and that it allows them to express themselves. It is their personal decision to decide what to spend their money on, but the section about hiding these “augmentations” during job interviews and I would think that it would lose all appeal. Unless the piercing was somewhere where it would never be seen in public, these are very legitimate concerns. However it seems that the most common areas to get them are on the face and ears.

    • Megan Salzer says:

      In high school I never really saw the appeal to piercings either. They just seemed like a lot of effort for something that you will probably take out in the future anyway. I feel as though it is deemed socially unacceptable for anyone to have their eyebrows, lips, tongue, and sometimes their nose, while not having your ears pierced for women is seen as bizarre. I thought it was interesting how the poststructuralist theory was applied to this practice and how bio-power can be involved in how the job markets judge potential employees.

  30. Alana Spielman says:

    I really enjoyed reading this essay. The theories you chose to connect to the topic of piercings worked very well. I also liked that while connecting to symbolic anthropology you used multiple angles for the same idea. For example when talking about piercings in your teenage years, the two perspectives of you or your friends really show the symbolism within this idea. When connecting to the theory of post-structuralism you did a great job of being very specific with your examples. Also taking the idea of piercings in the work place and taking it further that employers may view that as resisting authority. Overall, this essay does a great job of getting the point across as well as connecting theories to the idea of piercings.

  31. Miles Agan says:

    I think that your description about post-structuralism and body piercings is very interesting. I think piercings are a little less extreme than other body modifications depending on the extent. In the United States many people have begun stretching the holes in their ears bigger and bigger. This has been a cultural practice in many countries, but in the United States it is a way for people to rebel a little more than if it were just a regular ear ring. Permanent body modifications that are visible can limit people in the job market in certain cultures, but at least piercing can usually be removed or hidden without any permanent affects.

  32. Megan Salzer says:

    I really enjoyed your use of post-structuralism in regards to piercings and it actually allowed me to question my own piercings and body art. I received my first piercings when I was a baby and while I love the fact my mother had my ears pierced when I was so young, it is interesting to think that I had no say in the matter to what was being done to my body. I had my ears double pierced when I was 11 and my cartilage when I was 13. Even though my first piercing was done without my consent, it is interesting that I decided it was a good idea to continue with body art as I got older. I continued by getting my tattoo when I was 18 with my twin sister. Although we knew the consequences of our actions if our parents ever found out, we still decided it was worth the risk. It says twin in hebrew because some members of our family are Jewish and while in the Jewish faith this is considered wrong, we loved the idea and got them anyway. I love it and I don’t regret it, and while my parents still don’t know I have it, I got it for myself and my sister and no one else.

  33. Patrick Curtin says:

    I think this was a fantastic essay! I Still think getting piercings and tattoos as almost a small counter culture in america, at least for those who go to the extremes in terms of body mods. I think your use of practice theory fits in perfectly and how it effects both those with the art as well as those who see the art on others. I think I will probably get a tattoo on my upcoming birthday, because I think it makes us all unique, some people look similar, but they’ll never have the exact same body art, It makes us individual and different, something we all should be proud of. Overall this was a fantastic essay and I loved reading it!

  34. Michaela Quinlan says:

    I absolutely loved this blog post! As an individual with two facial piercings, 6 ear piercings and a tattoo, I completely align myself within both Symbolic and Poststructuralist theory. The symbolic theory discussion was extremely thought provoking and so accurate. When I was 15 I begged and pleaded for my mom to allow me to pierce my nose; after a year of constant struggle, my mom finally gave in and allowed it on my 16th birthday. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to piercing so badly it was a physical need, I wished to be “different”. The town I grew up in was extremely conservative and left little room for individuality. My parents were strict concerning bodily alterations so when I left for college I changed my nose stud for a hoop, got 4 more ear piercings. When I moved to Colorado I was even farther away I got a tattoo and pierced my lip. Both phases of action were somewhat signs of defiance against my parents because the farther I moved from the East Coast, the more freedom I had to alter my body. This ties in with the Poststructuralism discussion because the older one gets, the more freedom they have to express themselves separate from parental expectation. I find this among one of the cracks within the system because if a child has strict parents who resist in allowing certain types of piercings and tattoos, they will be more inclined to want them later in life. Thus, as a teenager grows older and becomes more and more independent, this defiance against parental expectation shines through the “cracks” of the hegemonic system as they choose whether or not to partake in body piercings.

  35. I agree that it seems like and act of defiance and that teenagers often rebel with piercings. My parents were very easy going about piercings but there were some limitations. We could get our ears pierced and at age ten and get any other ear piercings as well. We were allowed to get out belly button pierced at 15 and our noses in college. My sister of course got all these piercings every opportunity she got, However, I waited and ended up piercing my own ears at some point in high school. It was never really appealing to me I guess because of that fact that it was not something that I could not have. Many of my friends had restrictions but went ahead and kept getting piercings without permission and later regretted them. I think that many parents should be open about piercings because most are really not harmful and do offer self expression.

  36. Ashley Gates says:

    I really enjoyed your blog. I am curious though, what a Feminist Anthropologist would say about this subject. I know that piercings are something that are accepted on both males and females, but I know that my personal experience with piercings is one that a Feminist would be interested in. I personally grew up in a one-horse town and my parents wanted to keep my innocent image clear as crystal. When I was sixteen, like many other girls that age, I went through a phase of wanting my belly-button pierced. However my parents would not allow it at all. They felt that a belly-button piercing signified a “bad girl” or someone who was “slutty”. This is an example of how the sexuality (and possibly gender) of a female was constructed where I grew up. I passed through the phase and tried to forget about it but about a year after moving out I decided to get my belly-button pierced. I do not want to admit to it but I do think that it was an action steered by my own rebellion. After I got it done I was expecting to be judged as the “bad girl” (I do not mean that I wanted to be considered a slut) but I wasn’t. In fact, I found that most of my friends had the piercing already. I think that things like piercings and how well they are/are not accepted is definitely influenced by the sexuality of males and females in a particular society. Great blog post!

  37. Sarah Grace says:

    This is an interesting topic. I love reading body piercing, though I don’t have one. Through reading I learned so much, why people want it as part of trend and body fashion.

  38. August Clausson says:

    Tattoos and piercings are quite similar. Why do you think Tattoos are more frowned upon in society? If one sees an individual with a tattoo the immediate reaction used to be, and perhaps still is, “he is a thug”, yet I don’t think i can say the same about piercings.

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