Tribal Beauty


In traditional Berber societies, women bear a tattoo on their foreheads. When they marry, they then tattoo their chins. They wear these symmetrical marks proudly first as a symbol of their heritage and secondly as a sign of their marital status.

In his forward to the book “The Disciples”, with photography by James Mollison, Desmond Morris describes human beings as tribal at heart, with people in modern Western society searching for ways to define themselves as aligned with one group or another, in this case modern concert goers. In a society where we all shop at the Gap, our tribal status is conveyed through body piercings, hair styles, the cut of our jeans, the labels on our sneakers, we learn to read the signs of other tribes, and use these cues to gauge our interactions. Isn’t it ironic that while we struggle to create our identities, so many women are erasing the signs of who they really are through botox and plastic surgery. Or can this be considered another sort of extreme tribe. While we consider the extreme septic piercings of some tribes as primitive, are the painful processes that many western women undertake in the name of beauty any more sophisticated?

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