Why Are Stretched Earlobes So Popular?
According to archaeological findings, earlobe stretching has been popular for many millennia, so why has it been such an enduring means of ear decoration?
Or have earlobes always been stretched just for decoration, or have there been other more occult reasons for this practice. It certainly appears that in regions of Africa, South America and Asia, earlobe stretching has been a tribal practice and that stretched earlobes were not always just a sign of affiliation to a specific tribe or religion, but also of power or supremacy.
The practice may also have been associated with quasi-religious beliefs, and a necessity to stretch one’s earlobes to conform to the social and religious practices of the day. In other words, it was expected of people, whatever the reason, and that might also be a driving force for those seeking ear stretching today.
The Influence of Tattooing
Another reason for the increase in the popularity of stretched earlobes is the way that tattooing has now become ubiquitous among young people today, with most having a tattoo somewhere, and many sporting half or full ‘sleeves. Tattooing was something originally done by westerners who travelled the world – in other words, sailors, who were exposed to this form of bodily decoration.
However, it became popular among the aristocracy during the 19th and early 20 the centuries, and then commonplace with young people as a means of bodily adornment until everybody that wanted it was having a tattoo anywhere on their body. It is no longer a visible sign of being different or ‘modern’, and neither are ordinary piercings, even of the tragus, septum, eyebrow or lips which are also commonplace in the 21st century.
Stretched Earlobes – A Matter of Degree
Today, ear stretching can be used as a fashion statement more than any simple piercing or tattoo, and stretched earlobes are another step onwards from the traditional ear piercing that extended into multiple piercings and then piercings of other parts of the body. One aspect of earlobe stretching is that it can be carried out in degrees.
That means that while one person may have a 4 gauge stretching at around 5 mm, another can have a 00 gauge at just over 10 mm. So it is not just ‘I have a pierced earlobe and so have you’, but I have stretched ears and ‘Mine is larger than yours’.
It is no longer being a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’ but by how much! Stretched earlobes are popular not only because they display a willingness to adopt this new fashion trend, but that it can be adopted to degrees. The highest gauge is 20 g at 0.81 mm while the lowest is 00g at 10.4 mm.
As the gauge number reduces, the size of the hole increase. After 00 gauge sizes increase in mm or inches, so theoretically there is no maximum although most gauge charts show up to 1 inch or even 30 mm.
Is It Safe?
Is ear gauging safe? The short answer is yes if carried out under hygienic conditions and instructions are followed correctly. The safest way is to have your stretched earlobes done by a professional, using hygienic tools and practices. However, you can do it yourself if you are aware of the dangers and understand the procedures to follow.
Some of the problems associated with ear stretching are:
There is a point after which the hole in your ear will not return to normal. That varies according to your own physiology and the way the stretching has been carried out.
You can suffer a ‘blow-out’ when the flesh of your ear will blow out and extend beyond skin level. This can be dangerous and disfiguring.
If you decide at a later date that you no longer want this large hole in your earlobe, maybe for work or some other reason, reconstructive cosmetic surgery is very expensive. Not all employers appreciate these adornments, particularly when dealing with certain sectors of the public. It may be small-minded of them, but that’s irrelevant.
What Jewellery Can I Use?
Forget the small-minded people and get some fabulous jewellery for your stretched piercing. Among the jewellery available for stretched earlobes are some beautiful flesh tunnels and plugs that can be adorned with any precious or decorative stones of your choice. There seems to be a lack of genuine precious stones for ear stretchings, and diamond, emerald or ruby jewellery is not easy to find.
However, there are loads of glass, stainless steel and plastic plugs and flesh tunnels, including many decorated with genuine amber and this, is one reason why stretched earlobes are so popular Most people tend to tolerate organic or glass ear jewellery in the early days of their stretching, after which they can go on to silver, and even specially made platinum or gold plugs and flesh tunnels.
Stretched earlobes are popular in the 21stcentury because they are a step onwards from normal piercings, and with tattoos so ubiquitous there are few ways for young people to express their individuality. Stretched piercings are one way, and stretched earlobes are currently considered one of the safer forms of gauged piercings.