Over the weekend, two of our faves, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, got their noses pierced. Well, Katy pierced her right nostril, and Gaga took it up a gauge with her septum piercing. In light of these recent events, we’re re-examining the trend, which is making a comeback in a big way.
Quick history lesson: The art of nose piercing has it roots in Eastern religion. In India, the practice dates back to the 16th century, where the piercing of one’s nose connotes a young woman’s marital, family, and financial status. Religiously speaking, the piercing is not only seen as a way of honoring Parvati, the Hindi goddess of love, devotion, and marriage, but also of Ayurvedic beliefs. The left nostril in Ayurveda is linked with the female reproductive organs, and is thought to ease menstrual pain and to make childbirth easier, thus making it an ideal spot for nose piercings.
In Muslim culture, things are slightly more complicated. There are conflicting beliefs about whether or not it’s permissible to pierce and adorn one’s body according to Islam. Ultimately, though, the piercings are seen as visible shorthand to demonstrate certain cultural values associated with religion or social mores in Eastern society.
In Western culture, nose piercings don’t have any significance other than being decorative. They’re seen more as an ornamental fashion statement and a good way to upset your parents (sorry, mom). That’s not to say this resurgence in facial piercings isn’t without precedence. Rihanna’s been spotted out and about with a septum piercing, and it was highlighted in a Princess Mononoke-themed spread in W magazine.
Previous pop stars and starlets who have been pierced include Kelis, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera, Evan Rachel Wood, and Scarlett Johansson (which might seem out of character now, but remember Ghost World???), among others. However, the crown for septum piercings belongs to Janet Jackson. Lest anyone forget her run of videos from Velvet Rope.
Who’s next to get pierced? And furthermore, what other ’90s trend is going to reemerge next?