The Story of Traditional Body Branding and Scarification


Have you seen the tattoos of loved ones that don’t age so well? Perhaps the name of a snubbed ex-girlfriend or a relative that faked their own death? Well, the former isn’t as prevalent, however, we’re certain it is happening. It might even happen at the same rate as body branding and scarification.

The practice of branding your body is a rare practice, but it is now gaining and is gaining popularity. America’s resident representative of how-the-hell-did-that-guy-pull-her, Pete Davidson, went under the blade (or iron) according to his girlfriend Kim Kardashian. In March, she was on The Ellen Show and talked about their relationship. Davidson reportedly added another marking to his collection of tattoos, but her name was actually engraved across his body.

Scarification is the word that branding falls under. Specifically, branding refers to the act of burning the body. A recent picture of Davidson would indicate that his branding has a darker hue (similar to ink) due to the burning. Patients who undergo scarification typically have pinkish hues of the tissue underneath.

But, branding is actually the result of scarification’s long history. Different cultures of indigenous tribes were known to brand or cut their bodies to create body art. The branding as well as the body markings were taken by colonizers. On one side, we had modern tattooing, and on the other, slave owners used it to establish control over their captives to show proof of ownership or punishment.

How did we get to this stage? This art form has gone from cultural importance to unethical practices on livestock and slaves to tributes to vocally celebrity fried and overexposed. It’s a remarkable cross-section between the two. It could be an everyday occurrence within the body mod/tattoo community. Although it is not an addiction, tattooing or body modification tends to be repeated activities. It is rare to find one person without a tattoo.

Because Davidson has been covered by tattoos (some of which he’s in the process of getting rid of) It’s likely that his desire was to take it to the intensity to prove his loyalty. Kardashian talked to Ellen Degeneres about Davidson’s thoughts on branding.

“‘I do not wish to get rid of the mark or conceal it, and I just wanted it there like a scar on me,” said Kardashian.

Some may see the gesture as sweet however the method is not as exact or secure as getting a tattoo. This is more likely to be infected and the damage is permanent. This is not a good option suitable for people who are easily triggered However, it is part of the body of Davidson.