#ThrowbackThursday : Cat Got Your Tongue

Tongue_Piercing

#ThrowbackThursday : All About Tongue Piercings

Happy Thursday, folks. We’ll be doing a special feature for #tbt to rewind in history for the full specs on tongue piercings. We’ll be taking a look at all things tongue piercings, past, present, and future. If you are a fan of tongue piercings or simply are fascinated by body piercings and other body modifications, we’ll be taking you deep in it.

Before we get into it, we want to let you know that we want to hear from you. Give us a shout out at Marketing@BodyJewelry.com or submit your photos on our site so that we can get connected and get to know you. We love featuring real people, like Brittany and Katrina, so don’t be shy, give us a holler. Join the ambassador program to receive fun, beautiful body jewelry from us every month and a chance to be featured on cult following media and blog.

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That Thing In Your Mouth

Believe it or not, the scientific name for that muscle in your mouth that you use to swallow food and make phonetic sounds, is called the tongue. No, there is not  a more “nerdy” name for it like we do for most of our other muscles, like the gluteus maximus, a.k.a butt. Piercings done to tongue is can be centered or off center, to the side or in doubled or even tripled up. Most commonly, we see the single, centered piercing with a straight barbell, although lately there has been an increase in the popularity for double tongue piercings, known as the venom piercings.

Where Did It Come From

We may be fooled to believe that tongue piercings are a cosmetic body modification that originated with some of the first known professional body piercers, however, it began long before that. Way back, like indigenous Aztec and Mayan tribes in South America. So, why were these cultures piercing their tongues and what the heck did they use for piercing tools and jewelry?

For starters, the indigenous tribes and their people were a lot less concerned about vanity that the modern tongue piercing seeker. For them, it was a rite of passage and a way to honor the gods. By showing the willingness to experience physical pain, it was thought to please the gods by showing honor, dedication and the full acceptance that the human body served as a vessel for the spirit. In fact, indigenous tribes in Africa, South America and beyond have long been practicing body piercings as a rite of passage for centuries…

Although we commonly see hollowed, beveled 14 gauge surgical needle, clamp and cork in modern day for the actual process of piercing the tongue, these tribes had no such luxury. In fact, quick and clean was not the what they were going for when they practiced the art of tongue piercings. Quills, sticks, ivory and other naturally available materials were utilized to pierce the tongue. Squeamish? Well, be glad…be very glad that you had the luxury of having someone else pierce you. For these tribes, piercings were often done to themselves to really show the gods how much suffering they were willing to endure. Paintings from these tribes depict a large stick with thick string being used for this bloody ritual practice.

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Long before modern contemporary body modification hit main stream, indigenous tribes were practicing all forms of body mods, including tongue piercings.

 

Modern Muse

Aren’t we so darn lucky that we get to have a professional, trained body piercer to do our dirty work for vanity sake? The modern tongue piercing is considered one of the most practice piercings to date, along with the ears, cartilage, nose and navel. The average age of those obtaining body piercings here is somewhere between 17 and 25. (Yes, there are some states that allow body piercings to be performed with a guardian before the age of 18, or above the age of 16)

Stars like Mel B (formerly of Spice Girls), Drew Barrymore, Evan Rachel Wood, Willow Smith, and the rapper Game are just a few celebs in the spotlight that have or are rocking a tongue piercing. Our piercing influence may be coming from these hotties, but did you know that in the early days of the tongue piercing in modern society was actually derived by the performers at carnivals and fairs, more commonly referred to as “carnies”.

 

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Tongue Piercing Variations

Why do we do it? For starters, in the early 90’s, when body piercings became high profile, thanks to music and fashion scene of the grunge era. The trend gradually increased through the 90’s until present time. In the more recent years, the venom piercing became another heavy hitter in the tongue piercing world. This piercing resembles the two venom glands that a snake would have in its mouth, side to side, hence the name. Another more recent tongue piercing variation is the marley piercing, which is a piercing that is done to the underside of the tongue’s fibrous tissue.

The double tongue piercing that we see gaining traction is the paired vertical tongue piercings – one on the tip side of the tongue then one behind that piercing towards the back of the tongue. We  truly love and appreciate double tongue piercing, it brings a new twist to a cult favorite.

 

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The Royal Jewels

We have come a long, long way since the traditional, surgical steel barbell to dress the barbell. With the introduction of anodized titanium, colors of the rainbow can be achieved for the tongue piercing. Other body jewelry that explores the depth of how custom we dress our tongue is just phenomenal; from delicate diamonds, yellow, rose and white gold barbells, acrylic multicolored pieces of art, pink and white surgical steel, glow in the dark and so much more.

Take a look at Tongue-Spiration extended Idea Book below for visuals on what we mean when we can take body jewelry to the sky’s limit.

Tongue-Spiration Extended Idea Book

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