Imagine if, when you were a kid, your parents used elaborate and painful methods to force your head or feet into bizarre and permanent shapes. Or imagine if the surest way to get a decent job was to stand perfectly still while your friend hacked the side of your face with a cutlass. Now imagine never washing your hair until it became a hardened crust or being completely covered in mites and lice for your entire life. Or imagine living in permanent fear that your neighbors might at any moment decide to hunt you for the fur on top of your head.
Of course this isn’t fantasy: It’s history. Over the centuries, human beings have practically turned themselves inside out—and on occasion happily turned others inside out—for the sake of status and style. Let’s take a wee stroll down memory lane.
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