Throughout history, various fashion trends have faded in and out of popularity, creating an ever-changing standard of style. Although constantly adapting, a few have survived the ages and stuck around. One of these surviving trends is body modification. Body modification has become extremely prevalent in today’s society, yet there’s one part of it that still seems to spark controversy: men’s earrings.

Ear piercings have been a beauty standard since ancient times, but only relatively recently has it become rare for men to have their ears pierced. In September 1991, two German tourists in Austria discovered an ancient mummified man who had died around 3230 BC. This man had his ears pierced, exemplifying the extent to which humans have been partaking in body modification. In the Ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese cultures, men commonly had their ears pierced. With the rise of the industrial revolution, this trend began to die out, although it would soon come back.

During the 1960’s, the trend of men’s earrings came back with the rise of the pro-peace movement. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community started piercing their ears during this time, leading to the common belief that getting your ears pierced as a male is emasculating. This belief started the ignorant left vs right ear debate on piercings. This is the beginning of the modern outlook on men’s ear piercings. A separate meaning was given to a small, simple body modification, creating different opinions on the matter. 

In the 1980’s, it began to be fairly common, and several male influencers and idols of the time began to wear earrings. A mark of indifference towards society was associated with ear piercings. People saw these men as rebels against society. This may have been the case, but some stigmas still exist around this trend. Due to these beliefs, many men disapproved of ear piercings, leading to these male idols not being very popular with the male population, who saw them as feminine.

As of right now, there are many male celebrities and influencers with their ears pierced. A few notable examples would be Zayn Malik, Justin Bieber, Niall Horan, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Mendes, and Johnny Depp. As evidenced, it is extremely common nowadays for men to get their ears pierced, and fairly popular as well.

This fashion trend has been over-complicated to the point where it’s meaning is blurred. I will put it as simply as I can. An earring is just that: an earring. It has no meaning to it, it is simply a piece of jewelry. I am not defined by my ear piercing, nor does it change me in any way. By no means does having my ears pierced define any of my qualities or beliefs. It is rather a small piece of jewelry that I like to wear. You can wear what you wish to wear, especially considering there is nothing truly inappropriate about having your ears pierced.

A good rule to consider is “Don’t give your own meaning to another person’s fashion”. If you really care that much, just ask as to what it means to them. Ear piercings are done for many reasons, commonly for religious or ancestral purposes. This is true, but some guys just think they look good with them. I may be somewhat biased on this matter as a male with pierced ears, but I believe that what I’ve stated is perfectly reasonable. There is usually no hidden meaning behind trends, and if there is, the person partaking would most likely be happy to share.

By Matt Clement

Matt (He/Him) is a Junior and first year reporter for the Timber Creek Talon.