The longest neck in the world… what a glorious accomplishment!
And before you think we’ve talking about a giraffe, please note: We’re talking about HUMAN NECKS!
In Western culture, a long neck can appear regal, feminine, and dainty. However, in other parts of the world, primarily a tribe called Padaung located in Myanmar and northern Thailand, it’s a custom.
And a very profitable custom, to say the least.
Who Has The Longest Neck In The World?
The women of the Padaung tribe in Myanmar and northern Thailand hold the record for having the longest necks in the world. The country that’s famous for its islands and amazing street food also features women who bind their necks to make them appear longer!
It’s been an age-old custom for young girls — even before puberty — to start wearing iron coils around their necks. They start with just a few, and more and more are added over the years to give the appearance of a long neck.
A very, very long neck indeed.
The women of the Padaung tribe hold the record for the longest neck in the world. As far as this world record goes, they really stick their necks out.
How Long Is The Average Neck?
The longest recorded neck length is 15.75 inches long. Record-keepers base this measurement on the distance between the earlobe and the collarbone. The average neck length of a Padaung woman is 10 inches, which is double the average length of a human neck.
Can You Make Your Neck Longer?
Before we dig into whether or not you can make your neck longer, let’s explore the phenomenon.
While it may seem that the neck itself is stretching, it’s not. For a long time, experts thought that it was actually the distance between the vertebra that was stretching and lengthening. After researching the women with the long necks — complete with x-rays — they found something different
The neck itself isn’t stretching, however, the collarbone and the ribs are pushed down. Therefore, this make the longest neck in the world an optical illusion. It appears as though the neck itself is stretched, when in actuality the supporting structures of the collarbone and the ribs push down. This makes the appearance of a much longer neck.
Therefore, the women who have the longest necks actually have the most pushed down collarbones and rib cages, creating the image of a long neck. To physically lengthen the neck would cause paralysis and death.
In other words, technically you could make your neck longer. This will involve wearing thick, heavy coils around your neck from a very young age. You’ll then have to systematically add coils to slowly increase the length without causing too much pain. You’ll have to sleep and bathe with said coils. When you do take them off occasionally, you risk passing out.
In conclusion, if you really want to have a longer neck, you best get started quickly because it’s not something you can do overnight.
Padaung Women and Thailand’s Long Neck Tribe
The Padaung tribe consists of around 10,000 people. “Padaung” actually means “long neck” in the Shan language. Their homes and villages are found scattered in the area between the Kayah Stage and the Southern Shan State.
The longest neck in the world phenomenon is a result of a long-held tradition. The people of the Padaung tribe feel that a long neck is beautiful, like a swan.
Originally, it was supposedly only supposed to be young girls born on a Wednesday of a full moon who were supposed to wear the coils. This, however, is said to be a myth.
Over time, the tourism that resulted from the coils and the women became strong. Therefore, the coils started to be seen as an investment, because of the tourist dollars that they attracted to the tribe.
The coils themselves are made from brass and gold alloy. Because the long-neck women cannot lean their heads back they have to drink from straws. Journalists report that their voices also sound different, as though they are speaking from the bottom of a well.
What Are Neck Rings?
The neck “rings” that cause elongation of the neck are not actually rings, they are coils. They appear to be bronze, but are actually made of brass and gold alloy. As the young girls age, new coils are added slowly so they don’t experience too much pain.
No one really knows how the custom evolved to what it is today. Because the tribe has no written language, even the elders are unsure. One possibility is that men put the rings on their women to deter slave traders. Yet another suggests that the rings prevented children from being killed by tigers.
Because of this, the rings were supposedly kept after tigers no longer became a concern, because the Padaung men found the women with the neck rings more sexually attractive. It was the rings they found attractive, not that their wife had the longest neck in the world.
Many, on the other hand, say that the entire custom has been built up and perpetuated by the tour guides who charge tourists to visit the area, and take pictures of the women with the rings around their necks.
Tourism and Neck Rings
The neck rings are a very popular tourist attraction. Several hundred Padaung people live along the Thai-Myanmar border. Some fled to Burma to escape war. Many, however, have come to Thailand to make money displaying themselves to the tourists.
Visitors will pay $10 to go to a village and take pictures of the long-necked women. Critics have called these villages “human zoos”. The long-necked women are seen as the star attraction to their village, and the surrounding areas. If the long-necked women were to stop featuring themselves and being open to tourism, businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and transportation would all take a hit.
As a result of the tourism, the Padaung women are able to support large families. In fact, many are said to be “collaring” their daughters not out of respect for tradition, but to help them make money in the future. The parents of these girls are often grateful for the income, and men are said to be happy to marry a long-necked woman because of the money she can bring in.
As many as ten thousand tourists visit Nai Soi to see the women with the long necks. The girls pose for photographs, sell postcards, and also help to sell jewelry to the onlookers.
Why Is A Long Neck Appealing?
According to the Google, a long, slim neck is considered more attractive in women because it’s more feminine. It’s said to be an elegant feature in a woman, and shorter-necked women tend to envy women with longer necks.
Many models have longer necks, and it’s typically seen as a trait of beauty and desirability. Longer necks give you more options with hair styles, as well as jewelry.
You now know all about the long-necked women of the Padaung tribe. Their long necks are the subject of much debate, as well as the draw of much tourism.
Because of this, they’ve gained international fame and recognition. But if you want a longer neck for yourself, you may consider googling different clothing options. There are fashion tips you can implement that’ll help your neck look longer… like a swan.
As a result, when it comes to binding your neck, heed the warning: Don’t try this at home!