Why the modern man or woman stretches their ears

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.


51 comments

  • Carrie

    I started gauging my ears about 20 years ago. I was big into club shows (9:30club DC) As a beautiful female, I believe I originally started in order to balk the norm of what was acceptable in my sphere of class. I also have had locks for 17 years. After bearing each of my 5 children, I gauged up. I reached 3/4 inch after my last was born in 2009, and have remained there. It now is just who I am. I have a very respectable job with Social Services. I have always appreciated the fact that if someone chooses to look down upon me for these differences then that is their loss and one less jerk that I have to weed through to find genuine people. I also enjoy being the one to eradicate people’s judgements of my “type” by showing that I am a kind, intelligent and upstanding member of society regardless of my choice to live outside the Societal norm of appearance. I have no regrets!

    I also would like to share the point of “no return” is a lot larger than 00. I read an article of someone who, for their wedding, gauged all the way down from 5/8 by lightly sanding the inside of the hole to cause a controlled injury and healing process. And we all know that if an irritation or injury happens it swells then shrinks. So it makes total since that this would be possible if done over time.

  • Cayle

    My ears have been stretched for about 10 years. I’ve passed the point of no return and, as an adult with children, I’ve come to regret it.
    I still prefer wearing some sort of tunnel or plug to avoid the nasty look of having nothing in.
    I originally did it to fit in with the “emo” croud and i wanted to be different than the norm.

  • Kevin Randa

    I started to stretch my earlobes and when I started I didnt know why I was doing it. But as I continued to enlarge my earlobes which now I’m almost at a inch and a half . I have came to my realization as to why I believe I started and continued to enlarge my ear lobes. It wasnt to be differnt It wasnt to fit in it wasnt cuz i just wanted to . After becoming more spiritual and looking deeper in to other religions cultures I have came to conclude in my opinion that I feel like my soul as I would put it stems deeper then I could ever imagine I still can’t say for sure but I know I truly believe that in my past lifes my soul has came a long way holding on to information from all differnt cultures and religions and even gods / deities. I see it as a form and way of using my body to a differnt potential and helps me connect with my past life . We all have a purpose we dont do things for no reason so in a nutshell I feel that streching of the ears and body modification helps us connect with civilizations and become more connected with the world around us . Showing what we are truly capable of. body modification is just in my opinion a way for us to show true potential commitment and help us evolve. I feel we have driven far away from our true world and the true meaning of life our body is a temple let your higher power guide you do what feels right expand your mind and body in ways that some see as impossible or cant grasp amd always remember there is a reason for everything. Please comment back and let me know how you guys feel about how I expressed my views values and beliefs on this subject. Its my first time writing about this topic so I would love feedback

  • John D

    I’ve had mine at 0g for 12 years now. Reason? Brandon Boyd of Incubus was the first person I’d ever seen with them, back in 2004. I was purely fascinated with the look. I thought it added a great aesthetic, and even accentuated his looks a bit. (Peacocking?) That’s it. It’s a fashion accessory.

  • 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.

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