Lip Plates – Culturally or Aesthetically Appealing?

Piercings may have become popular in mainstream culture recently, but the practice of body piercing is not new. Piercing dates back to Bible times and earlier.  We saw in Black Panther some women adorned in lip plates.

Which tribes wear lip plates and why do they wear it?

To an outsider, a lip plate may be viewed as a form of body mutilation rather than body art but to a Mursi or Suri woman, it is an expression of female maturity and a sign that she has reached child-bearing age.  It is also a distinguishing trait that ensures she is not mistaken for a member of neighboring rival tribes who either do not pierce their lips (Kwegu tribe) or only wear small plugs inserted into their lower lips (Bodi tribe). Although labial plates were also traditonally worn by Suya men of Brazil, Sara women of Chad, the Makonde of Mozambique, and the Botocudo of coastal Brazil , the only tribes that still follow this tradition are the Mursi and Suri tribes of Ethiopia.

Does knowing about the culture behind something make it more aesthetically appealing and accepting to us or do our opinions remain the same regardless of knowledge?  The wearing of lip plates is one of the many examples we can apply to this question.

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