Culture Vs Torture

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What for some means culture, for others might be a torture. Sometimes traditions of a small group, a tribe or even of a whole country, traditions that give their own identity and the diversity in this world can be a bit strange for the outsiders.

Let’s take for example an aspect of the Chinese culture: foot-binding.  Although today it is not practiced anymore, there are many women with bound feet still alive. A long time ago, what might seem grotesque nowadays, was considered to be an art, and pretty popular also. It was the art of beautiful legs and identity. And all these despite the fact their feet were contorted by bandages, usually hiding infected, gangrenous flesh.

Photograph © Isiah W. Taber

Copyright © Beverley Jackson

There are also various tribal traditions that might seem out of common. Each tribe has its own identity given by different marks like tattoos, paintings, piercings.

Baliem Valley images and other images from Papua – Copyright © 710928003

The following two pictures are part of Chris Rainier’s book, Ancient Marks, based on his continuing documentation upon vanishing tribes. The first one is the portrait of a man from Burkina Faso. His scars, symbol of bravery and tribal initiation, indicate his tribe and village and are made through a painful process with razor blades. This process starts in childhood and continues into adulthood. The second one is the image of two tattooed Auckland men belonging to the anti-European Black Power Group. Their markings are made in the spirit of the Maori traditional tattooing art combined with various symbols of the U.S. Black Power movement (1960).

Copyright © Chris Rainier

Copyright © Chris Rainier

And we should not forget the long neck women of the Padaung or Kareni tribe of Myanmar (Burma).  They extend their necks by fitting copper coils around them and consider it a sign of beauty. In the end, their necks become extremely long (to almost 40 cm) and, at the same time, very weak and they cannot support their heads without the coils.

Longneck Padong Hilltribe Girl – PHOTOGRAPHIK  © E.G. Hodske

Longear Padong Hilltribe Woman – PHOTOGRAPHIK  © E.G. Hodske

Each tradition and culture has a strong meaning and history for the ones which are part of it.  And therefore they should be understood and admired for their life and beliefs, for their strength. What would be the world without diversity?

Irina Alexandra is a young entrepreneur and architect, with a passion for miracles and weirdness of life.

She has been writing articles on Weirdomatic for the last 7 years in a search for all the amazing things we tend to ignore.

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23 Responses to “Culture Vs Torture”

  1. Cultura Vs tortura…

    Lo que para unos es considerado cultura, tradición, etc. para otros es sólo tortura, sometimiento, rasgo distintivo de la casta, tribu, sexo, etc., algunas no tan lejanas a nosotros. De esto trata esta entrada (en inglés), con buenas fotografías qu…

  2. I just discovered this site , and I´m pretty impressed. A lot of remarkable things, the name weirdomatic is chosen wisely!
    As for the longneck women, there has been a documentary (I think on NG) about them, and it came out that not the neck is elongated but the shoulders were pushed downwards. One could even see x-rays of those women on this show, and one of them actually took of her copper coil (which they usually don´t do, because it takes hours and hours to take them off and put them back on.

  3. (One could even see x-rays of those women on this show, and one of them actually took of her copper coil (which they usually don�t do, because it takes hours and hours to take them off and put them back on.)

    the ladies with the longleck. It would be suicide for them to take the copper coils off. when they start puting on the coils they are very young like the picture of the little girl on this page. but as they keep adding more and more. there necks become to thin and to weak to hold their head alone with out the coils. with out the coils there neck will snap. the human head weights more then you think. the neck need to be able to hold it up…

  4. this shiit is crazy

  5. And then there are Vomitoriums….

  6. I was watching a show about the rings around the neck and like spacekeeper said they normally don’t take them off. Although it is thought that they cannot support the 10 pounds that is our head, they can. What the rings do is just move the location of the collar bone, it doesn’t cause the neck muscles to atriphy. The women that took off the rings had had an indentation from them but otherwise looked normal. That is also a dieing practice, just like to foot binding. I suggest that everyone reads Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I know that i am enjoying it.

  7. Out of all of the pictures, I think scarification is the most easy to stomach upon sight. I mean, I understand the others… and why people would do them, but sometimes I think it’s a little extreme. Scarification, to me, is kind of like getting tattooes, though instead of putting ink in your skin, you design scars.

  8. omg! i am reading a book called snow flower and the secret fan. and they explain the process of footbinding! it sound sooo painful!

  9. I’m reading snow flower too…I, obviously have heard of foot binding but never had the drive to find out more about it…it is truly amazing. I don’t really understand how this translated to beauty but I guess that is the deep cultural stuff that doesn’t make sense to most of us. All I can say is WOW after looking at several pictures of women. OOOWWWWW!!!

  10. i love that book i’ve read it like 3 times!

  11. Vomitoria were exits not places to vomit. (that mistake came from the 1920s). Even though the Romans did vomit after a meal, they did so in the toilet. One urban myth overturned.

    The neck rings can be taken off without killing the women. Another urban myth!

  12. omg

  13. omg, crazy people… thanks God.

  14. Where be all the primitive white peoples wif dinna plates hangin in they moufs?

  15. “……Each tradition and culture has a strong meaning and history for the ones which are part of it. And therefore they should be understood and admired for their life and beliefs, for their strength. What would be the world without diversity?…..”

    I totally agree. This summer I will be taking my daughters to Africa for a new cultural experience. I plan on having a village medicine man and some of his cohorts pin my daughters to the ground while they slice out their clitoris, and half of their vaginal plumbing with a dirty razor blade — all without anesthesia ! Then, I will have them sew everything up tight until they are older.

    We are al very excited about the trip. I believe as you do that we should all understand and amire other cultures. And what can be a better way of doing that than experiencing it ourselves.

    Next year, I’m going to take my young son for a summer stay with the Etoro are a tribe in Papua New Guinea. He will be giving elder tribesmens blow jobs for several weeks, and learning how to swallow.

    Yes, we must learn to admire all cultures of the world.

    If any of you have young children, I will be happy to take them with me on my “cultures of the world” appreciation cruse. Just let me know ! The above items I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg of the things we will be experiencing !

    I wish you could have been with us last year. I found an old Han Chinese woman who helped me crush all of the bones in my daughters feet so she could learn first hand about the old and “admirable” custom of footbinding. Yeah, she screamed a lot, but she will thank me someday. Just wait till they start slicing her privates off in Africa, than she”’ REALLY start screaming !! Ha Ha. Culture is just so much FUN for little girls !

    Like I said, thank God for the Etoro tribe, as my son was starting to feel left out !

    Keep up the good work ! And thanks again for giving me that beautiful sentiment to quote at the beginning of my comment. I wish more people were as liberal as as you !

    Take care !

  16. crazy people

  17. ewwwwwwww that is so sick

  18. they are the true free pepole

  19. that is sooooooooo nasty!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  20. this to us might seem wrong and disgusting and we may not accept another tribes culture or practices but it is best to respect them because what does not seem right for us is perfectly normal for others.

  21. I am impressed that what we today called products of torturesuch as decorations, tribal identity, bravery, womanhood, manhood, induced in cultures had not been achieved without intentional repeated and inflicted pains. The acceptance of these as pride was to cover shameful humiliation done early in childhood and innocence and avoid being called coward, childish, weakling, etc, subject to social alienation for those who refused to circum to these form of cultural significance.
    what we actually refer as torture falls to brutal induction of these without consent or due to fear of any sort. I know these cultural decoration are not longer admired these days but the victims remain adamant to cover such a shame and continued to humiliate new generation. As a researcher all these have to be stopped, we better used ink, colours, or non painful colouring if we want to keep those immaginary beauties.

  22. To the Wierdomatic team, Well done for such usefull collection

  23. Actually, the necks of the paduang woman are not lengthened. Their chest wall is pushed down creating the impression of long necks. Wonder if breathing is affected?

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