Wearing earrings in American culture was a right of passage for women but more men have been wearing earrings in the last 50 years.
The significance behind ear piercing was distorted by pop culture. Pop culture used to determine sexual preference based on which ears men had pierced but now it has been dropped as a common practice.
The ancient tradition of men piercing their ears dates back to tribal Indians who used gemstones and piercings in religious rituals. These piercings symbolized age, wealth and standing within the tribe. Ear piercing was a rite of passage with the Canela people of South America. In other cultures, large earrings and plugs symbolized how open men were to wisdom from elders and how attractive they were to women.
Ear piercing was popular with men and women until the early Middle Ages. During the Renaissance, men that wore earrings were of status or wealth. Centuries later, male slaves wore earrings to show that they were owned by a slave master.
In the 1920s, sailors pierced their ears for superstitious reasons. If their bodies were found, the earring was taken as the payment for a burial. Sailors also wore earrings if they sailed around the world or survived a sinking ship. Earrings became popular again during the counterculture with hippies and equality activists and in the 1980s quickly spread to mainstream culture in which celebrities and athletes pierced their ears. Now, men pierce their ears for social, rebellious or stylistic reasons.
Eric Lanier, a junior at California Baptist University, pierced his ears at age 18. He was a gangster for Halloween the year before and wore magnetic earrings with his costume. When he entered college, he decided to try something different and get his ears pierced for real.
“The experience was positive,” Lanier said. “Everyone seemed to like it.”
His friends were positive about the change, saying that it was different from is personality. His family members, however, warmed up to it slowly. At first they did not understand and thought that men in their family did not pierce their ears. Over time, they accepted it and were no longer negative about his decision.
Looking back, Lanier is glad he pierced his ears.
“I am glad I did because now if I ever want to wear them, I can put them back in. If I want to throw something on to add to an outfit, I can choose,” Lanier said.
Lanier does not regret piercing his ears and does not believe having pierced ears will affect his career as a high schoolnEnglish teacher.
“Maybe if I was going into the corporate world, it would be a potential issue but I do not see it affecting my