Having an elongated neck has been a standard of beauty for centuries, and it’s a goal some of
Though strange to some, it’s one of the oldest types of body modification in
Its origins are mysterious.
In southeast Asia, historians have been able to date the practice of using neck rings all the way back to the 11th century. However, no one has been able to discover a concrete reason for why they did it. One of the biggest legends surrounding the rings
Within Africa’s Ndebele tribe, the women of the tribe wear copper and brass rings not only around their
Girls start wearing their rings early.
At the age of 5, girls in the Karen (or Kayan) and Padaung tribes of Myanmar are fitted with their first rings. Wearing them isn’t always an easy task, though. The coils, which are typically made of brass, weigh around four-and-a-half pounds to start with, and then more coils are added over time.
In some cases, the coils they wear are replaced entirely so that thicker coils can be added in their place. It has been said that many of the girls and women enjoy having their coils changed because it is the only opportunity they have to see that area of their bodies uncovered.
Surprisingly, their necks aren’t actually longer.
Though the point of wearing the coils is to elongate a woman’s neck, that’s not actually what it does at all. Yes, their necks clearly will look longer after wearing them for some time, but it’s not a result of their neck bones somehow stretching out—it’s because the weight and pressure of the coils on their collarbones
Wearing the rings
That’s not the worst part.
The neck is a fairly sensitive
The problems don’t stop there, though. The rings can cause near-constant chafing on the skin of the neck and shoulders, which is also more likely to become pretty susceptible to bruising while the rings are on. One woman even discovered that mold had been growing
Still, it’s a tradition that people once fled their homes to protect.
When Burmese military forces took control of Burma (now Myanmar) in 1962, they hoped to help modernize society there. One of the ways they planned to do this was by eliminating what they considered to be “primitive” aspects of the culture, including neck elongation.
To protect the tradition, many tribes in the area fled to nearby Thailand and, although it did help them keep the practice of wearing neck coils alive, it also turned the tribes themselves into a tourist attraction. However, many women both young and old are more frequently making the decision to remove their rings, despite social repercussions.
One American woman even tried it out for herself.
Inspired by a National Geographic documentary, a Los Angeles woman named Sydney V. Smith decided to have a set of neck rings fitted just for her. “In middle school, they called me ‘giraffe girl,’” she said in an interview with HuffPost. “Then I saw the pictures of the long-necked tribes in Thailand and Burma in National Geographic and I became fascinated with them.”
She was even featured on an episode of the show My Strange Addiction because of her obsessive interested with neck elongation, though she eventually did have them removed. Don’t be quick to judge, though—she ultimately just did something other people use exercises and surgeries to achieve.
When she did wear them, Smith said, “You’d be surprised at how many women see me and ask where they can get it done.”