Mursi women live in the Omo valley, Ethiopia. They are famous for their lip plates, which they wear to attract men. However, the practice of wearing lip plates is dying out as more women enter the work force and become independent.
The Mursi tribe is made up of about 20,000 people who live in southern Ethiopia’s Omo River Valley.
Mursi women are known for their lip plates – a large wooden plate (usually made from the wood of a wild fig tree) that is inserted into the lower lip when girls reach puberty. The average size of a Mursi woman’s lip plate can be over 8 inches long.
The purpose of inserting these plates is to make them more attractive to men and increase their chances of getting married. If a woman has no lip plate she will not be considered ready for marriage until she gets one.
Mursi women have traditionally been dependent on their husbands for food and money so it was important for them to find a partner who could provide for them and provide for their children after marriage.
However, today many Mursi women no longer want to wear their plates because they don’t want others to think they are poor or uneducated.
The Ethiopian Tribe Where a Lip Plate make Women more Attractive;
Mursi women have been wearing lip plates for about 400 years. The practice was introduced by the Karo people, who once lived in the areas now inhabited by Mursi people.
Lip plates have become an important part of the Mursi culture and identity. The lip plate is worn on their lower lips and is only removed when they want to eat or drink something. It is made from either soft clay or wood and weighs between 5-15kg (11-33lbs).
The lip plate creates a permanent hole in the lips which causes them to swell and stretch out. This can take many years and many plates for it to be fully formed.
The Mursi practice female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls and also use lip plates as a form of marriage payment to the father-in-law. Lip plates are worn on the lower lip with an opening in the center allowing them to eat and drink without taking off their plate.