Tag Archives: Africa

Tattoos, a Culture and Style


A culture most of the Western world is familiar with, tattoos have not so much become a symbol of beauty but more of a form of expression. Since tattoos come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and have no distinct stamping ground on the body, they have become popular among society because it implies uniqueness from the rest of the world. Despite the fact that probably a little less than half of middle age people have a tattoo, it is still considered unique and special to have this permanent stamp on your body. But it just goes to show, how much people are concerned with the appearance that they show the world. This is only the most recent motivation for the tattoo though. In older days, the tattoo was not the most glamorous thing to sport by the average person, it was mostly worn by sailors, gangsters, bikers as a sign of being part of a certain group of people. With time, it probably eventually evolved into an appealing mark of macho-ness for men, and simply became trendy for women and teenagers.

Harcore enough?

In some countries however, tattoos are a cultural mark where people will tattoo sometimes their entire face or body part as a sign of cultural pride and integrity. Practiced in the Maori tribes of New Zealand (the place of origin of tattoos according to archaeological evidence) men will get traditional tattoos representing the wearer’s ancestral importance. It is usually tattoed on the head, considered the most sacred part of the body and (obviously) bears an undeniable declaration of who you are.

Even in Africa, where ink is not particularly visible on the skin, participate in the cultural trend. They practice a form of tattooing called scarification where the skin in risen by cutting it to leave a visible scar after it heals. They make geometric patterns on the body or face which are meant it be a rite of passage; it shows age, wealth, social status and is consider a sign of beauty. This cultural tradition is still practiced many places in Africa and once again, shows the lengths we will go for a little bit of sexual appeal.

New Zealand Maori tattoo traditions further explained: http://www.newzealand .com/travel/media/features/maori-culture/maori_ta-moko-significance_feature.cf m


The Lip Plate


Considered a sign of beauty in the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia Africa, the lip plate is worn by women daily who seek acceptance and to appear desirable to men. When the women are ready to marry, they begin the process of the lip plate by making a hole in the lower lip with a wood stick which is expanded a little everyday. Eventually, when the hole is big enough, women insert a plate and gradually the plate is replaced by a bigger plate until it has reached its full size. It is a very painful process which girls have to undergo for months, where somtimes the teeth have to be broken to insert the plate, but once suceeded, they are seen as the epitome of beauty! also, the bigger the plate, the more beautiful the woman..

The plate is a usually a sacred object and dyed and decorated according to the wearers preference. Women are also shaved, like the men, because they hate hairiness.