By Aisha Onize
Strange things do not ever cease to happen as people’s modality for aesthetics is relative as well as differ from person to person with a great level of individual choices and preferences undertone. In the 21st century today, stranger things happen. No wonder the century has people with a fetish for body piercings.
Body piercing is a form of body alteration which involves the process of puncturing or making an incision on a part of the human body thereby creating an opening in which jewellery is used to embellish in order to make it look beautiful and defy the norm.
It is important to note that the chronicle of body piercing is traceable to ancient times and practised in various forms by both sexes throughout the world. Although some types of body piercings have enjoyed widespread popularity and with representations in historical records dated as far back as 1500 and earlier, others were historically found in African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and American cultures. The practice of the art has declined and also improved in Western culture and experienced increased popularity with newer body sites making the list.
Surprisingly, body piercing comes in diverse types and exists in various parts of the body such as the nose, tongue, lip, ear, eyebrow, septum, navel, nipple, and the genitals.
The significance of the aesthetics cannot be overemphasized since some people view it as a symbol to portray nobility, wealth, class, also as subject to trends and fashion. Despite its widespread acceptability into the mainstream, it has sparked up controversies which consequently led to some countries imposing laws limiting piercing practice. As well as the societal prejudice it suffers alongside disapproval from some religions with exception to medical reasons and permissible to women as long, there is only one set of piercings in the lower ear lobes.
However exciting as the art might sound, reasons for and against piercing differ owing to the fact that some people engage in it for a spiritual purpose. Others for self-expression, aesthetic value, to enhance sexual pleasure, to conform to their culture or rebel against it. Some others, though, for mere societal pressure and recognition.
Contemporary body piercing tools include the piercing needle, the indwelling cannula, the dermal punch, the piercing gun, cork, forceps, needle receiving tubes and anaesthesia. The jewellery mostly used in adorning already pierced bodies are usually metallic with specifications of course.
Nonetheless, body piercing is an invasive procedure with notable risks which include allergic reaction to the metal in the piercing jewellery, infection, scar tissue, physical trauma, oral trauma, and so on. Although, precautionary measures are advised to be taken in order to protect the health of the person being pierced and that of the piercer through appropriate sterilization of metallic tools, equipment and piercing jewellery, also sanitization of the body parts, and sterile gloves worn by the piercer to avoid cross-contamination. A rigorous procedure such as this requires without doubt a healing process and piercing aftercare to aid rapid healing as well as some instructions given to the client in order to avoid skin irritation and damage even though it is all on the basis of the placement of the piercing on the body since some parts take longer time to heal.
Regardless, some people have practised extreme forms of body piercing, with Guinness conferring World Records on individuals with hundreds and even thousands of permanent and temporary piercings. Therefore, in some parts of the world is now associated with gangsterism since people with body piercings are most likely to be regarded as irresponsible, wild especially for the feminine gender where people discriminate against females with piercings as well as have tagged them with derogatory terms.
It is no news that the society we live in today castigate and at the same time glorify what they term ‘bad behaviour’ with a bias to the calibre of the piercers as most people idolise them. Piercing has however gained more recognition than regular and has been completely entrenched into our fashion trend. It also grows with the pace of time and more inventions are welcomed to the art day by day.