Posts tagged ‘piercings’

What Is Body Modification?

Simplest answer is anything that is done to your body that alters your natural appearance. That can be as mundane as women wearing makeup or having pierced ears, braces and plastic surgery. Yes, those are body modifications, we are just so used to it that no one thinks of them as true modifications. The difference is usually noticed when the piercings are in areas other than the ears or a large amount of them before it is seen as a true modification. Plastic surgery is considered body modification when taken to extremes.

Tattooing, piercing  and scarification has been accepted body modification in various countries for centuries.  Tattoos have been around for quite some time in the USA but it has been in the last 20-25 years that tattoos are more acceptable with less of a stigma attached to it especially for women. Extreme piercings and scarifications are still generally looked at as taboo in our culture as well as those individuals that choose to tattoo their faces.

Most people consider body modification as anything that is done to your body that is a permanent change. Now there are numerous types of modifications that fall into this category.  Tongue splitting, giant lobe rings that stretch your earlobes into the size of tennis balls, cutting designs into your flesh and hoping for raised scar tissue in the shape of the design, these are the more permanent modifications and are still looked upon as taboo. Society as a whole has not embraced these practices.

I am a tattooed woman so I have practiced a form of body modification most women haven’t done, yet I personally would not go as far as some do with tattooing or any of the above mentioned modifications. While I would not do some of these modifications I will stand up for the right of the individuals to do what they want with their own bodies even if I think they are crazy for doing so. Not long ago I would have been looked down upon  for having ink, now no one looks twice at me unless it is to check out my ink.

Body modification can be as simple as makeup or as complicated as scarification with a whole lot in between.

Tattoos: Attention Seeking or Self Expression Part 2

In Part 1 of this topic I addressed the issue of non-tattooed individuals thinking of tattoos as “graffiti”  on the skin of those of us that are tattooed. In Part 2 I want to address the notion that all of us with tattoos are “attention seeking” and that that’s it in a nutshell. No other reason to get a tattoo is there?

I cannot speak for everyone with a tattoo but I personally have mine for a variety of reasons. My first tattoo is a tribal style butterfly on my inside right ankle. I see butterflies as a symbol of change and growth and this butterfly was chosen to represent my own personal change and as a reminder of that.

My second tattoo is also a butterfly sitting on a flower vine with my daughter’s name underneath. This is located on the inside of my left wrist since this is the side closest to my heart. Now I love my son as well but my daughter is my first child and only girl. This tat is symbolic of her growth from a child to womanhood and into her own person yet the vine/flower is the connection to me, her mother.

My third tattoo is the Geisha on my back which is my largest tattoo (at least to date) and represents ultimate femininity and gracefulness all of which I am not. I have always been more of a tomboy and a total klutz.  My Geisha represents what I sometimes wish I could be, a total “girly-girl” and my longing for something I will never be.

All of these tattoos can be covered up though the tats on my ankle and wrist are usually visible but they don’t jump out at you. They are definitely  not  what you would classify as “in your face” at all. Most people don’t even realize that I have tattoos so how is getting a tattoo attention seeking behavior?

Attention Seeking:

People craving attention can use any number of ways to receive it from clothing and hairstyle choices, acting up or acting out behaviors, and yes, piercings  and/or tattoos. But to call any form of self expression as being attention seeking is ludicrous and just plain dumb.

For example:

Once upon a time any man with a crew cut was a military man and any shaven headed man was a racist “skinhead”.  Women with long hair and makeup were feminine and heterosexual and any woman with extremely short hair and no makeup had to be a lesbian. Sad part is that some people still believe this outdated stereotyping. I know – I don’t wear makeup (very rarely) and have had extremely short hair styles as well as not normally wearing dresses or super feminine style clothing. Some people during my life have thought I was gay solely based on appearances.

Now I’m also not dumb enough to state that no one with tattoos is ever seeking attention. All one has to do is see someone like this to know that is not the case:

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I see this as both a form of self expression and attention seeking since it is very “in your face” and you will see the tattoos and piercings prior to seeing the actual person she really is. Yes, she chose this and while I don’t agree with someone doing this to themselves I defend their right to do it.

But how is this attention seeking?

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This is a lovely tattoo which can be and probably is, covered up and not visible at all times. It is artistic and probably symbolic or meaningful to the wearer.

Most tattooed people enjoy the art and share their love of it by wearing it on their skin. What is the difference – other than the permanency of it – from someone choosing hairstyles and/or clothing to express their individuality or self expression.

Goth in the extreme:

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Semi-Goth and more acceptable:

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Is the first one attention seeking? Sure, but it is also a form of self expression just done in the extreme. Any “style” can and is done in varying levels of extremism from mild to “in your face” whether it is more normal and mainstream styles up to and including fringe styles. To lump everyone not fitting into the narrow definition of normal (what is “normal” anyway?) is being very dismissive of whole sections of the human population.

What do you think when you see these individuals? Are you sure you are right? Are they seeking attention or just forms of self expression?

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We are all unique individuals with our own preferences, styles and form of self expression. What a dull and boring world we would have if this were not true. Try and see people for who they are not to try and pigeon hole them by what they wear, how they are dressed or whether they have piercings or tattoos. Enjoy the uniqueness of life and don’t be afraid to be an individual. If someone laughs or points a finger than they have a problem not you. While we will not all agree on all styles or extremes of styles, let us agree that we can disagree and we can all express ourselves how we choose to especially in the United States of America.

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