The Most Bizarre Beauty Trends: Lip Plates
For whatever reason, the thought of puncturing oneself only to insert a blunt object into its fleshless hole is one that is and has been shared throughout the world for centuries. Invented independently at least six times, the labret (any kind of lip piercing ornament) has nestled itself into cultures and regions ranging from the Balkans to Coastal Ecuador. For Suma and Mursi women living in Ethiopia, the size of the lip plate is thought to convey the amount of cattle to pay for the bride. Others speculate that the lip plate demonstrates female strength and self-esteem.
History’s Bizarre Beauty Trends: Foot Binding
Perhaps the cruelest and most barbaric definition of ‘beauty’, the bound foot has thankfully become a rather painful relic of the past. Gaining popularity among the court dancers of the Song dynasty and eventually spreading to the wealthiest subsets of China, the bound foot became popular throughout Chinese society.
One prevailing thought is that the dainty, concubine feet freed well-to-do Chinese girls from manual labor and thus served as a highly-coveted status symbol–albeit one whose bearer would presumably prefer not to have. By the 19th century approximately 40-50% of Chinese women had bound feed; and for the upper class it was closer to 100.