Probably the most common type of all, this is often not even perceived as a statement of rebellion or alternative aesthetic. It is also the only piercing practice that stayed in human cultures consistently through all historical changes our species have seen.
But what are the origins and meanings of piercing the ear, and why the ear after all?
Equally embraced by both men and women, ear lobe piercings have a wide variety of meanings in different cultures.
In Africa, ears were pierced to keep the evil spirits away, often stretching the lobe to provide space for more ornamented wooden or bone pieces, which carried sacred and beneficial markings. It was believed that evil spirits can enter into a person through the ears, but no so if a repellent symbols waits them the very gate they are to pass.
In some cultures, such as Borneo, both lobes were pierced to who the dependence of a child on its parents. One lobe for each parent.
But Pirates and sailor had a more practical to ear piercing. It was believed that a pierced ear will improve the eye sight, just like we see in acupuncture, and thus give them an edge when in open waters. Also, wearing a valuable jewelry on ears would provide with material means for a drowned sailor to be buried in an appropriate manner.
Earrings were worn extensively in western civilization by both sexes until mid 19th century where they became almost exclusively a sign of femininity, until the Love revolution of the 60s where barriers between men and women started to dissipate and when popularization of male earrings appeared and form of rebellion against the established norms.
Today, it considered a normal thing, and only in cases of what we today call a piercing and I mean stretched piercing – it is frowned upon by those who still adhere to classical aesthetic values.