Piercing for Beauty
From Women's Studies
Women have modified their bodies for beauty for millennia. Today, such modification for beauty includes piercings. The piercing of ones ears, sometimes done very early in life, is considered by popular culture to be normal for a woman, a way for her to further accessorize and display beauty. Often, piercings today go beyond the traditional earlobes and extend to the rest of the body. This concept of piercing ones body for beauty is not new, but it has gained ground in America over the last several decades.
Piercings are a form of body decoration that date back millennia. A piercing involves creating a hole in the skin in which jewelry is inserted. The pierced hole is most often created in the earlobe, but can exist at other locations in the body. The piercing of the earlobe, termed 'ear piercing,' has roots in Western society.  Creating a piercing is not a risk-free activity. Piercings can create allergic reactions in the body, scars, and infections. The piercing requires cleaning and care after it is created and the hole can close up if the jewelry in place is removed. 
Piercing Popularity in the USA
Body piercing has gained popularity in American popular culture over the last thirty years. By the 1970s, piercing of the ear lobe for earrings was commonplace.  Previously, piercings held a stigma in American society: they were thought to tarnish one's identity. Throughout the years, perceptions have changed and piercings have become more and more mainstream in popular culture. Recently, piercing of other parts of the body have become popular as well. A study of piercings in the United States found that 1 out of 5 American women have a piercing..
Piercing for Beauty
The concept of creating holes in ones body for beauty may seem odd to an outsider. Many cultures, including Western popular culture, hold motivations to pierce one's body. These motivations involve fashion, a desire to improve appearance, and a want to be included in with popular culture. Popular culture dictates that pierced ears for a women is considered normal behavior. In a study of 400 students at an American university, 69.7% of women had a piercing, 79.8% of women had considered getting a visible piercing, and 69.4% of the women surveyed stated they want a piercing at some point in their life. A study of piercings in the United States found an increase in the number of people with a piercing or considering getting one in each successive age group. The study found that rate of piercing did not vary by income, and very few people claimed to have been intoxicated at time of first piercing. This provides proof of the acceptance of piercings in popular culture and shows that they are only becoming more prevalent in the pursuit of beauty. 
Celebrities show how incorporated piercings are into popular culture and how piercings are considered to add beauty:
Image Sources: http://fashion-editor.blogspot.com/2011/02/ear-piercing-at-claires.html http://childrensfashionblog.com/celebrity-tongue-piercings http://www.polyvore.com/beyonce_yellow_pink/thing?id=6203598
- ↑ Stirn, Aglaja. "Body Piercing: Medical Consequences and Psychological Motivations." The Lancet 361.9364 (2003): 1205-215. Print.
- ↑ "Piercing and Tattoos." National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 17 July 2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/piercingandtattoos.html>.
- ↑ Carroll, Lynne, and Roxanne Anderson. "Body Piercing, Tattooing, Self-Esteem, And Body Investment in Adolescent Girls." Adolescence 37.147 (2002).
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Laumann, Anne E., and Amy J. Derick. "Tattoos and Body Piercings in the United States: A National Data Set." Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 55.3 (2006): 413-21. Print.
- ↑ Horne, Jenn, et al. "Tattoos and piercings: attitudes, behaviors, and interpretations of college students." College Student Journal 41.4 (2007): 1011+. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 Nov. 2011.
By Ruthie Greenblatt