Body piercings have been the object of much controversy -- besides being an artistic expression and a celebration of one's physical endowments. The belly ring is such a piece of jewelry.
In times of old, body piercings were treated differently, depending on the culture. As most body piercings had ritual or ceremonial value, many cultures prohibited specific types of body piercing that were purely for the sake of adornment. The warriors of old Central and South American civilizations sported body piercings, specifically in the nose area, in order to appear more intimidating to their enemies. On the other hand, lip piercings and decorations were meant to enhance attractiveness, especially among women of the day and age.
And while body piercings were more or less common in ancient Egypt, the ancient Egyptian pharaohs actually appropriated specific types of piercings. For example, no one BUT members of the royal family should wear a belly ring, on pain of death! Talk about the price of vanity.
Nowadays there is still some stigma associated with body piercings, especially among young women. It may be true that piercing is not always a safe practice, but more and more tattoo parlors are adopting measures that will ensure that infection is at least avoided. The increasing popularity of body jewelry cannot be ignored, especially since things like the belly ring and lip ring are making their way to MTV!
Yes, we're talking about Britney Spears and her belly rings. We're talking about the famous "stars and moon" dangling belly ring she wore to the MTV music awards last year. We're also talking about Christina Aguilera and her "Nirvana nipple ring," among lots of other unconventional accessories -- made slightly less unconventional by their appearance on international TV.
Belly rings are popular among young people who like to get together and dance. Dancers on TV are popularizing it as a sexy accessory. There are no pharaohs nowadays who would want to lop off Britney Spears' head for donning this spectacularly alluring piece of jewelry. From a status symbol to a sexy fashion accessory, the belly ring sure has come a long way.