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Why the modern man or woman stretches their ears

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.

gauge for 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 your ears 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 for ears), 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 for ears), 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.


  • I started stretching back in 1999. Went from a wire gauge to a 18g. Had a dream that I could see through my ear. That was the seed.
    Later in life I learned about symmetry and the perception of beauty; noticing the size difference between the upper and lower halves of my ears, I figured it would be aesthetically more pleasing to me. 5/8" and no regrets.

    - Tim
  • i knew i wanted to stretch my ears from when i was about 12. i saw an older guy (prob like 20) with gauges and thought he looked like the coolest person to ever exist. i began stretching at 17 and am now done at at 00 gauge.

    - Nathan
  • I began stretching my ears I wanna say like 2016/17? I guess I was just kinda bored of my regular piercing I had in my ears & liked the look of gauges. It was different & there was so many cool different jewlery. I gauged them up slowly & a couple times I actually took them out & started over because I missed my old earrings. For the past 2 years I’ve been at a size 00g- 14mm & have no intentions of going bigger. There so many cute jewelers for size 00g.

    - Emalee
  • I first started stretching 7 years ago (32 age) a few of my friends had them. I planned to stop at 00g, then its was “the next size up” “the next size up”. Ended up at 40mm, it became so addictive. But I had to have a limit and that was it. It wasn’t cheap.

    - Sphereslip
  • I stretched when I was 19 a little. Took them out and joined the Air Force for 7 years. And immediately stretched them back out. I’ve been at 44mm or 1 3/4” for couple of years. I’ve thought about journeying to 2”. But I think I’ll stay here. I work in software. So I can do what I want. Tribe? We’ll yes metal is life and Valhalla is real.

    - Coco

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