Body Modifications Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

cultures have customs and traditions involving body modifications and while some generate serious controversy in the contemporary society, others are widely accepted. Some are inclined to associate body modifications with vulgar ideas and believe that people who have them are uncivilized. The fact that most body modifications involve a form of self-mutilation further contributes to making it seem that a person would have to be out of his or her mind in order to do something like this. The reality is that body modifications are an active concept today and some people believe that they are a good way to express their feelings and thinking in general.

'Normal' body modifications

Numerous individuals believe that there is nothing wrong with having a tattoo or having a part of one's body pierced. Most of the modern society promotes the idea that it is perfectly normal for girls to have their ears pierced and there are great deals of intellectual individuals who have tattoos. This is why it would be wrong for someone to discriminate a person on account of his or her body modifications, as stereotypes are not really important when considering this practice in the present.

Body modifications are, in the eyes of many, a way to express feelings and a way to improve one's physical appearance. A person can be much 'cooler' if he or she has a good-looking tattoo, a piercing, or if he or she has turned to cosmetic surgery in order to improve the looks of a particular part of his or her body. People in traditional communities are generally likely to be hesitant about supporting body modifications seen in more open-minded cultures. However, these individuals are also likely to favor a particular type of body modification that has been an active part of their culture for hundreds and even thousands of years.

While most body modifications today are performed because people are concerned about their appearance, some cultures promote this custom on account of it being a rite of passage, for religious reasons, or in order to mark an important event in the person's life.

Relating to body modifications as being a fashionable performance is somewhat wrong, especially when considering tattoos. To a certain degree, one can perceive tattoos as actually being people's attempt to act in disagreement to fashion by performing an act that stays with them throughout their lives and that comes to represent who they are in particular situations. Unlike a set of clothes that one buys because he or she observes that it would be fashionable to do so, tattoos represent an act that a person does knowing that it would be likely for them to wear these respective body modifications until they give their last breath.

Some tend to discriminate toward people who have body modifications without even having a complex understanding of what such behavior implies. Very little people think about bodybuilding when hearing the expression 'body modification'. Many even consider that bodybuilding is a very healthy custom that represents the exact opposite of body modifications (Leone). It is really very easy for the masses to discriminate against someone who has body modifications, but the thing is that people have been modifying their physical appearance for thousands of years and it would be safe to say that even prehistoric individuals modified their bodies with the purpose to improve their appearance. "Tattoos are believed to have originated over 10,000 years ago, and the oldest documented tattoo belongs to Otzi the Iceman who died in 3300 B.C and whose body was found in 1991." (The History of Body Modification Around the World)

While some religions promote body modifications, others...
...Tattoos have long been considered to be characteristic to criminals and many communities criticize individuals wearing them on account of their presumed desire to be rebels. King George V's decision to get a tattoo played an important role in the Western World's understanding of the act. People started to consider that tattoos were actually a good way to express themselves and started to get tattoos in an attempt to improve their appearance. Tattoos have recently started to be very common and they are no longer taboo as technologies advanced and as artists have directed their attention toward using people as their canvas.

Criminal organizations such as the Russian Vor V Zakonye or Mara Salvatrucha on the American continent are among the groups recognized for making people feel that tattoos are characteristic to criminals. Individuals who are a part of these communities use their tattoos as a means to show their rank and in order to display the number of victims they are responsible for. Some are even known to have killed tens of individuals throughout their lives and are believed to feel little to no emotion when having to kill someone. "The tattoos of offenders have sparked particular interest as they can be highly symbolic coded messages that have been thought to be a glimpse into the psychology of the criminal underworld." (Illegal ink: reading meaning in criminal tattoos)

Body modifications as a strategy to improve one's position in society

Body modifications are, for some people, methods of increasing their wealth from an artistic point-of-view. Ranging from improving one's physical appearance in order for others to consider the respective individual more attractive to improving one's physical abilities through certain modifications, these acts can reach really impressive heights. The body is sometimes perceived as a rough diamond that one needs to perfect in order for it to really be appreciated. Some modify their bodies in order to be more beautiful and some do so in order to be more efficient. Tiger Wood's LASIK eye surgery stands as a perfect example of a person willing to modify his or her body in order to achieve best results possible. People are practically turning into super-humans as they make full use of technology available in the present.

There are a lot of critics when considering body modifications that are more invasive than others. These people believe that instead of becoming 'wealthier' by modifying one's body a person is actually likely to lose in the long run, as he or she might find that things that were appreciated at one point are no longer impressive in the future. Even in the case of people like Tiger Woods, critics consider that people lose touch with their humanity as they struggle to be perfect. "Becoming a DIY superhero could rob us of some essential quality that has to do with being vulnerable." (Miah)

People can currently increase the size of their breasts, look more like their favorite star, lengthen their legs, and practically do a series of modifications that are similar to morphing into someone else. One can go as far as to say that today's society is rapidly heading toward a post-human era -- a period in which people are going to be more and more determined to change things they don't like about themselves up to the point where they are going to be more like robots.

Body modifications as an inherent concept in society

One of the first things that critics need to acknowledge with regard to body modifications is that they are perfectly normal and that people have always been interested in altering their bodies for some reason. The human species is especially modified, ranging from the elaborate clothes people wear to the numerous body modifications they perform in order to improve their bodies. Many regard body modifications as their opportunity to be different from the rest and the fact that people are constantly trying to be unique makes some more determined to modify their bodies in comparison to others.

Scarification is among the most criticized body modification and it is not as common…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works cited:

Leone, Lori, "The Art and History of Body Modification," Retrieved August 25, 2013, from

Miah, Andy, "Make me a superhero: The pleasures and pitfalls of body enhancement," Retrieved August 25, 2013, from

"Illegal ink: reading meaning in criminal tattoos," Retrievd August 25, 2013, from

"Scarification: Ancient Body Art Leaving New Marks," Retrieved August 25, 2013, from

Cite This Essay:

"Body Modifications" (2013, August 25) Retrieved March 8, 2021, from

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