"Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" is a piece of satire that begs readers to examine the curious rituals of typical Western culture from the lens of an outsider.
One main point of this piece is that Americans (and other similar cultures) place an incredible emphasis on the human body. Great "gifts" (or money) must be given to acquire "magic" (or medicine) in order to treat various human ailments. People equate healthy bodies with the ability to acquire friends and lovers. Despite having to return to the "medicine men" over and over and enduring great physical discomfort in an effort to maximize the ability of the human body, these people continually subject themselves to pain—and at great cost—in their vain quests.
Another main point asserts that the standards of perfection for the human body fall greatly outside the possibility of typical human existence. Still, people fast to make themselves thinner and then attend ritual feasts where they become fatter. This cycle is never-ending, and humans engage in the fast/feast cycle mindlessly, always discontent with their own bodies. Women with small breasts endure procedures to make their breasts larger, and those with large breasts endure procedures to make their breasts smaller. Therefore, the only plausible explanation is that "the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation." People are endlessly discontent with their own body type and subject themselves to torturous procedures in futile attempts to find self-satisfaction.
In short, the piece satirically examines the Western emphasis on appearance and a willingness to endure torturous procedures in efforts to maximize the greatest potential for the human body.