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Extreme Ethnic Body Modifications Around the World / Voyage
When westerners hear the words “body modifications,” hardcore kids with stretched earlobes and assorted nose rings may come to mind. Think again! Traditional cultures around the world still practice body modification that seriously puts our punks to shame. Although many of these practices may seem exceptionally invasive and painful to us, they are seen as rites of passage for young adults in the eyes of their elders. After all, if they can handle the suffering of the modification, they can handle the challenges of being an adult in their community, making us think that bar mitzvahs aren’t so bad after all!
For the most part, the cultures in the world that still engage in intense body modifications are those that have been left relatively untouched by the outside world or who have actually gained influence from the practice. Body-mod tourism isn’t as rare as you’d think and it’s controversial. Although an influx of tourists has brought wealth to impoverished tribes and attention to cultural practices, some argue it has also led to a deteriorating way of life for many rural people or the cheapening of certain traditions.
Whether or not you support this kind of tourism, one thing is clear: travelers can still catch a glimpse of some pretty unbelievable ethnic body modifications that are currently in practice all over the world.
The image is ubiquitous with Thai tourism: thick, golden coils wrapped around a young woman’s impossibly elongated neck. Although this image may seem like a page out of National Geographic (or off the wall of your local Thai restaurant), this exotic and oddly beautiful tradition is much more than it appears.
Although the rings, which women begin to wear around the age of five, may look like they’re stretching necks, they really aren’t. In actuality, the heavy rings push down on the women’s collarbones, changing the angle of their shoulders.
Продолжение читайте в журнале English4U №2 (февраль 2011) на который можно подписаться или купить здесь.