While we’re starting to see piercings on a decent portion of the population, there’s still a large group of people who are flummoxed by the idea. And, that’s okay. It makes sense that someone might be confused as to why you’d want to go through the pain of having a piercer stick a needle through your body only to put some sparkly jewelry through it.
But, body piercing is so much more than that. While, for many, their piercings are nothing more than a fashion statement, there are tons of cultural, spiritual, and physical reasons for getting a body piercing. Whether you’re curious about getting a piercing, you don’t understand piercings, or you love piercings and are looking to celebrate them, here are five reasons why people get pierced.
1) For a cultural or spiritual connection
Although many blame the ‘90s for the influx of the body piercing trend, piercings are steeped in rich tradition in cultures across the world. Many African tribes, for example, boast a long history with piercings. In some tribes, the women wear septum rings in lieu of a wedding ring. Ancient Aztec cultures wore many piercing types, from earrings and stretched lobes, to nose rings, and even lip plugs. These indicated a number of things, from coming of age to social or military status.
Today, piercings still have a strong connection to culture. Many people in Latin American cultures pierce their baby girls’ ears shortly after birth. This practice has a long history and helps connect them to their traditions. Additionally, there are many religions that use piercing as part of their ceremony.
It’s important to realize that a person’s body piercings might be their deep connection with their culture, their religion, and their family.
2) To claim your body as your own
Like enjoying your first (legal) alcoholic beverage when you turn 21, body piercings have become a sort of rite of passage for 18-year-olds. Until your 18th birthday, you can’t get pierced without the permission of a parent or guardian. Once you turn 18, however, you’re an adult and can now lay claim to your body.
While older generations might see this as a foolish act of rebellion, the piercees see it as an act of empowerment. It shows the world that they have reached the point of adulthood and that they can make their own decisions about their lives and bodies.
3) To enjoy body positivity
These days, it seems as though everyone has an opinion about how you should treat your own body. Women are constantly told how they should look and dress. Men are told to stick to more masculine attire, coached to stay away from anything that might seem too feminine. Body piercings allow you to dictate how your body looks to reclaim it as your own and feel good in your own skin.
Body piercings are gender neutral. Men and women alike look fantastic in any piercing. The only thing that precludes you from getting a piercing is your body shape. Because of this, men and women sometimes use piercings to celebrate their bodies and decorate them the way that they want to. In a sea of opinions surrounding how a person should look, body piercings allow them to choose how they want to look. And that’s beautiful.
4) For (alleged) health benefits
We’d like to take a moment to note that health benefits for body piercings have no medical or scientific backing. However, many have claimed that their piercing has helped relieve certain symptoms.
The daith piercing, in particular, has been sought out in order to help with migraines. The logic behind this is that the daith piercing goes through an acupuncture point that’s known to relieve migraine pain. Therefore, it’s speculated that a daith piercing will provide constant pressure to this point. While many claim that the daith piercing has helped with their chronic migraines, most experts chalk this up to the placebo effect.
Whether or not the health benefits of the daith piercing are true, it’s becoming a commonly sought after piercing for those suffering from chronic migraines.
5) Because they love the way body piercings look
Yes, body piercings can come from a place of spiritual connection and body positivity, but we can’t look down on those seeking piercings just because they like how they look. Body piercings offer an individual style that’s largely low maintenance (once the piercing has healed), and it gives you a chance to change up your look.
It falls somewhere between getting your hair dyed and getting a tattoo. While pink hair will only last a few months, you can wear your piercing for years. Unlike a tattoo, however, when you decide that you’re done with your piercing, you can simply take the jewelry out, and you shouldn’t see too much of a scar (as long as the piercing hole is small enough).
Some people decide to completely change their wardrobe. Others decide to get pierced. It all comes from the same place: the desire to look and feel fantastic.
While these reasons are not exhaustive, they show that piercings are a dynamic practice; you can’t assume the reasons behind someone’s piercing. So, if you’ve always dreamed of getting a piercing, but you’ve been afraid of what other people will think, we say go for it! Someone will always have an opinion, but your piercing is a personal, beautiful expression, no matter what that expression means to you.