now thats dedication
I’ve helped out many different clientele from different age groups both male and female. I would say most of my work has been done on people between 18-35 years old. One of my favourite clients was a middle aged professional woman with existing “self cutting” scars on her inner forearm from a darker period in her early teenage years. She came to me with hope that she could be proud of showing off her arm once again as she mainly wore long sleeve shirts year round to hide these scars. After a consultation with her we decided on a flower design that incorporated and disguised her self inflicted scars. Now it’s a positive scar that’s she’s proud to show off rather than a negative memory.
Scarification involves the ritualistic cutting or burning of the skin to achieve permanent designs in the skin. Historically, scarification has been practiced by many cultures around the world, for example, many tribes in Africa and New Zealand practice scarification in order to denote their belonging to a specific group. Modern day scarification is practiced for those, and many other reasons such as the marking of ones personal identity, the passing of life stages, or ones spiritual/emotional growth.
We will now be discussion “heavy modification”, such as scarification, branding and body suspension.
I conducted an informal survey of (approx 50) students and teachers to assess the trends regarding body modification acceptance in the community.
Results of the survey
Obviously those who are pierced/and or tattooed are more accepting of others body modifications. 100% of respondents who had piercings/tattoos would date someone with them, even if they were ‘heavily modified’.
55% non-modded respondents said they would date someone with minimal body adornments. That number dropped down to 36% if they had more than one piercing or tattoo, and 40% said they wouldn’t date them at all.
Interestingly, males were less accepting of their potential partners’ body art. 29% of (40%) those who said they wouldn’t consider dating someone with a tattoo or piercing were male.
47% of respondents said they felt uncomfortable around people with piercings and tattoos.
8% said, “It depends if I know the person”.
45% said they felt comfortable.
In concurrence with this data 50% of those who replied they would still date someone heavily modified because: “It doesn’t change who they are as a person”, “it’s an expression of who they are”, “It’s the inside that counts”. Interestingly, these same respondents also reported low comfort levels around modified individuals.
30% felt that piercings/ tattoos are accepted in society.
30% felt that only minimal body art is accepted.
40% felt that they are not currently at all accepted in society.
Yet, 92% said they felt there are stereotypes and stigmas attached to body modification in our society.
The most common listed were
What one can conclude from this (limited) data is the trend towards acceptance of minimal body modifications. Small tattoos are becoming fashionable and commonplace in high school and college campuses as well, common piercings such as on the nose, eyebrow and belly button are no longer anything shocking. However, to ‘rebel’ one must conform. Modifications are accepted as long as they are minimal and discrete, but once one “crosses the line” the stigmas and judgments return.
“Recently a woman, in her mid-twenties, came to my office who attracted my attention by the extremely striking metal rings and nails that were at the two ends of her lips. They were so close to the edge of her mouth that they made one wonder if they would not impede activities associated with the mouth, including speaking. When I asked her as to why would she pierce her body and put rings in them and especially at such awkward spots, she could give no reason other than she likes body piercing, she is in to tattoos, and it is an expressive art.
It was obvious that this was a superficial explanation and the deeper unconscious motives that lay behind her compulsion to disfigure herself were unknown to her. For body piercing is a form of disfigurement - though we should not forget that it is as much adornment as disfigurement - and to practice it one has to undergo pain. So it is a form of beautifying oneself, by adding something external on to one’s body [because one feels as if one is lacking something?], and is achieved through masochistic punishment of oneself.
Patient admitted that at one time she had nine holes pierced through her nose, and even had rings through her eyelids. Since harm coming to the eyes in dreams is often used as a symbol of harm coming to the penis - threat of castration - one has to wonder whether her masochistic tendencies were not a symbolic punishment for aggressive tendencies towards male genitals.”
Piercings and tattoos are beginning to become assimilated into mainstream pop culture, as demonstrated by movies such as ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’.
The Relationship Between Body Modification and GPA -Lindsay A. Krell, Loyola University, New Orleans.