The desire for a long neck started in the fifteenth century, the collars gradually began to loosen and both Italian and Nothern paintings included women exposing more open necklines. From the book ‘Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I read page after page of strange ways of elongating the neck.
The ruff is an item of clothing worn in the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century. It was worn by women, men and children. What started as the outlining of the neckline rapidly transformed into a framing of the face. At their extreme, ruffs could be a foot or more wide. The widening of the ruff made the head look separate from the body. It also created an optical illusion: the broadening plane of white conveyed a greater distance between the head and the torso. The ruff made the head look like it was floating above the body.
(Padaung women with brass neck coils)
The most extreme of ways of lengthening the neck still occurs in Africa, Thailand and Burma. Brass neck coils are worn by the Padaung women of Burma. The women are fitted with the coils at the age of six. Though I have heard it can even be as young as 2. The neck rings push the collarbone via a counterweight, about eight pounds, and the causes the collarbone change to an angle of over forty-five degrees. It is caused by extreme triangulation of the shoulder.
(X-rays showing the effects of Burmese neck coils on the human skeleton)
Paduang men have often pressured their daughters to wear the coils as tourists will pay to take photos of the goose-necked women. Though most women do this by choice because of their tradition and belief.
I find this particularly interesting, however, I do not know if I would want to take on such belief. These women must be pretty tough and stay true to their religion which I admire and respect.