Samples - Teachers

The golden rings that circle the Padaung woman"s neck cause an aethetic conflict as difficult to understand as as the the politics of ancient Burma. (CREATIVE HOOK SENTENCE)

The women of the Karen hilltop tribes of Northern Thailand strive to lengthen their necks with brass rings to create the ultimate of female beauty. Each ring is added one by one starting at about 5 or 6 years old. Scientists say that this elongation is a myth. An orthopedic surgeon will tell you that this would lead to paralysis or death. In fact the appearance of a longer neck is a visual illusion. The weight of the rings push down the collar bone, as well as the upper ribs, so that the collar bone actually appears to be a part of the neck! (SCIENCE FACTS)

There are many different accounts of why the Padaung practice this custom. Their own mythology explains that it is done to prevent tigers from biting them. Others have reported that it is done to make the women unattractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders. The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this - that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband. Adultery, though, is said to be punished by removal of the rings. In this case, since the neck muscles will have been severely weakened by years of not supporting the neck, a woman must spend the rest of her life lying down. According to Paul and Elaine Lewis in Peoples of The Golden Triangle, adultery and divorce among all Karen groups is extremely low. (CULTURAL FACTS)

Whatever the origin of the custom, one of the more common reasons it continues today, particularly in Thailand, is tourism. Although the Padaung have migrated to Thailand from Burma in only the last ten year), they have become the most popular "attraction" for hill-tribe trekking tourists. Many believe this as exploitation. This amazing custom creates both ethical and aesthetic questions about beauty, exploitation, authentic tourism and our own take on how we see our world. Before you answer................What do you do to stay beautiful? (ESSENTIAL QUESTION)