FC: The art of Neck Stretching: Beautiful or Weird?
1: Many cultures have different ways to portray beauty. The women of ancient Greece and Rome wore corsets to make the waist tinier, In China during the 10th century they practiced foot binding. In Asia and in some parts of Africa women believe their attractiveness is related to the length of their necks. However, to Achieve this beauty they go through a lot of pain.
2: The bronze coils force the chin upward while pressing the collar bone and ribs down, making the neck longer. They way as much as 11 pounds (Gray). | Anyone who wears the rings for several years will undertake painful difficulties with the neck muscles and pain from the weight of the rings. On the other hand the rings can be taken off. Since the neck is so used to having the rings there, once they are removed the patient suffers from severe pain that lasts up to three months. Complications include the muscles of the neck becoming so weak that the women
3: may end up choking to death on their own tongue. Often the weakened neck muscles are unable to support the weight of the head and can result in the windpipe being crushed (Willis).
4: There are many myths and stories of why the Padaung wear the rings. It is said to be that the headman of the tribe had a dream a tiger was going to kill his child, born on a Wednesday. He found that tigers kill their victims by breaking their necks. The headman decided all children born on a Wednesday should wear brass rings around their necks to prevent this (May).
5: Other than protection the rings are seen as symbols of wealth and status (Gray). To keep them from getting an infection they clean them carefully every now and then with tamarind juice which also makes them shiny (Willis). The longer the neck the more beautiful you are, and the more likely you will get a better husband. Due to the long necks these women have been nick named the "giraffe women". At about the age of 6, the girls are allowed to choose whether or not to put the rings on.
6: Ever since they began fleeing Burma more than a decade ago, the tribe have shown to be a major tourist attraction. It is surprising the things people do just | to get a glimpse of these women. A Thai entrepreneur abducted 32 of the Padaung women and put them in things called human zoos, in which tourist would stare at and take photographs. He charged the visitors $12 to see them. Billboards showing the women's necks are on roadsides all over the north. They advertise exotic sightseeing for
7: Thai and foreign tourists. There are villages in parts of Thailand where it is legal to take photos of the long neck women. They get paid as much as $38-$45 a month by the community. In refugee camps, the women are forbidden from leaving because it will hurt tourism. They were driven from their homes in Burma due to economic distress and military cruelty (Gray).
8: There are people who protest against the girls who wear the rings. They say it is dangerous and should not be done anymore. Then there are others who protest against the photographers. They believe the girls should be left alone, tourism should be left alone, tourism should not be allowed, and they are exposing their culture. The Padaung women themselves even protest by taking the rings off.
9: They say they don't like being put on display and that they are not happy (May). While wearing the rings they face many hardships. They do not have access to medical care, high education, or other rights given to citizens (Willis).