The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Androgyny

Teeth mutilation such as the elaborately filed teeth of this Bagobo tribeswoman at left is common in indigenous cultures. It has also entered into contemporary body art practices, although not to the extent seen in primitive cultures. The ritualistic teeth filing done by the Bagobo was thought to be part of a larger rite of passage in which several procedures were carried out with the intention of inflicting severe pain. One can only theorize as to the reasons for this practice although it must have had some connection to spirituality. It may also have been a simple test of survival, winnowing out those who could not tolerate such a procedure. Such extreme physical alteration not only separates the weak from the strong, but also tends to remove gender identifying features.

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