Why the modern man or woman stretches their ears

I have always been intrigued by the social behaviors of humans.  I love people watching.  Sometimes it gets me wondering why people choose to express themselves in certain ways.  The question today is, "Why do people stretch their ears?"  The following is meant to refer to  society as a whole.  (I know there are many varied reasons why an individual may want to stretch their ears.)

History has shown us that ear stretching was initially used to show that an individual belonged to a group or a tribe.  It was accepted by the group and they were marked as being "one of us".  When someone did not have stretched ears they were considered to be an outsider or someone who did not belong to the tribe.

Why do people stretch their ears

The Modern Day Ear Stretcher

Fast forward to the modern day practice of ear stretching and you will see quite the opposite.  People seem to be trying to break out of the mold and express their individuality.  Maybe they want to steer away from their current "Tribe" and join a new "Tribe" that better understands their beliefs and ideas.  It seems that the individual is expressing who they are or want to become.  The person who was once accepted as part of the tribe is now shown to be the "weird one" or "outcast."

20 - 30 years ago ear stretching seemed to be very different from what it is today.  Body modifications like stretched ears were rarely seen (except in traditional tribes).  In the Western culture they were mostly seen in groups like punks or goths.   Nowadays it continues to be on the rise.  Ear stretching is growing in popularity with both men and women and it does not seem to be confined to any one type of group.  It is truly an artistic accessory to add to the look or style of each individual.

The point of no return

There is a point in stretching your ears that is known as the "point of no return."  In a lot of cases, when the ear is stretched above 10mm (00 gauge), it is not able to properly heal and will never go back to what it was before.  Below this "point of no return" seems to be what is more accepted these days.  This was not the case in the 80's or 90's.

It seems that the higher the ear is stretched past the 10mm mark (00 gauge), the more one might receive judgmental looks or opinionated remarks.  Comments like "That is disgusting.", "Can I stick my finger through your hole?",  or "Didn't that hurt?"  If you have stretched ears, these comments and questions are all too familiar.  It's just the way our society is.  Perhaps in another 10-20 years it will be a nonissue.

The New Tribe

No matter for what reasons people decide to stretch their ears, one thing is for sure.  The art's popularity is growing.  The New Modern Era Ear Stretching "Tribe" is growing.  The tribe is expanding around the world and immensely diverse individuals are finding common ground through the art of ear stretching.

What's Your Story?

I am taking a survey to hear your story.  Please comment below and tell me your story of why you stretch your ears.


  • Travis Smith

    I have difficulty understanding the big gauge’s. I get it when someone makes a choice. I’m older and remember when guys would only Pierce the left ear. I saw tattoos get more mainstream. I’ve worked with guys who at one time would fit something as big as a soda can in their ears. The result is not nice looking when nothing is left in it. It seems like a decision made by a teenager with no boundaries. Adulthood and life comes into play. Gauge’s will hamper individuals who went big back in the day when dealing with people on a professional level. Wright or wrong. It’s a reality. I don’t care for how it looks. Reversed Mickey mouse ears. That should not matter but it does.

  • Mickie

    I’ve had my ears stretched for about 10 years now; honestly I’ve had very few negative comments. Most people who personally dont like them, dont say anything because it doesn’t matter. I’ve had normal piercings obviously, and those who knew me pre ear stretching say that stretched ears just work for me. I will happily answer any questions from anybody, children to elders, and all in between. My grandma in particular is very fascinated by them, and we even have gifted her faux ones! She loves them. Stretching your ears is not a sickness. The real sickness you and your negative societal views

  • Natalie

    I stretched my ears specifically because I wanted to be different from everyone else. I grew up in a very strict, christain home, and body modifications were frowned upon. When I grew up, I craved the feeling of being different and stepping outside of my families constant restrictions. I enjoy the feeling of people being freaked out by my ears, I love being different.

  • Brenda

    I am currently a 23 year old nurse. My ears have been stretched to 6mm (2g) since I was 17. I got into school with these ears and I got my job with these ears. I keep in mind I could let them close because I understand when I am elderly they will likely not look right. I stretched my ears because I wanted to show people that I will not fit into a box. They are a great way to start a conversation with someone off the street or in a shop and even give me something to talk about with my patients. The only people who say bad things about my ears are my family and it’s purely out of ignorance. They don’t care to learn about why I’ve done this. To this date I also have 4 tattoos on my left leg that my family does not know about because I know what they’re reactions will be, but when I’m out and about I get many compliments on them. To my body modifications can also act as a type of therapy in a way. As someone who used to self mutilate this gives me a healthier way to harness those urges. Don’t hate something without learning about it first. Take the time to understand the world around you and if you don’t understand then what makes you think you have the right to tell someone else it’s not okay? God tells us to love thy neighbor. This means despite there looks, beliefs, or other preferences. Don’t be a hater.

  • Holly

    I love the “it’s disgusting” comments…. *Eye roll. Why not just say it’s not for you? Why tell someone their personal choice is disgusting? People are so rude.

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