"Women of all cultures have recognized the potential of the arms and hands for decoration. This has included permanent marks, such as scarring and tattoos, which are often used to define a woman's status."
I'd like to make sure if this "scarring" refers to the mark left by injuries.
I don't understand why scars can define a woman's status and how they can be a kind of decoration.
Could you tell me what "cosmetic injuries" are? What kind of status of a woman do they imply?
Not being an anthropologist I can't tell you about what status is involved. But I could imagine a system in which a woman with no scars was available for marriage; one scar -> married, but no children; two scars - married with one child... and so on. Note: This is an imaginary system!
Last edited by BobK; 12-Oct-2006 at 10:59. Reason: Clarify punctuation
There's an explanation here (scroll down past all the photos to find the essay). Or if you don't want to see the pictures, I've quoted the relevant part below.
Scarification is a long and painful process, and a permanent modification of the body, transmitting complex messages about identity and social status. Permanent body markings emphasise fixed social, political and religious roles. Facial scarification in West Africa is used for identification of ethnic groups, families, individuals, but also to express personal beauty. It is also performed on girls to mark stages of the life process, such as puberty, marriage etc. They can assist in making them more attractive to men, as the scars are regarded as appealing to touch as well as to look at, but also as testimony that women will be able to withstand the pain of childbirth.