Body modification is the process of altering the human body to make it appear different or to add things to it that were not there before, for any non-medical reason. It has become more and more popular especially among teenagers and young adults today. Whether it’s an ear piercing or a tattoo, body modification has become a trend that is continuing to spread like wildfire. Not only does it attract attention, it may also hide or cover up pain or anguish that people need to let out and do so by modifying their original bodies. Although it may express freedom and uniqueness, it may also express self-destructive desires (Hicinbothem Gonsalez Lester 351). Some people may not feel like themselves in their own body, so they modify it to the way they feel comfortable, and how they think their body should be like.
The practice of inserting needles, rings, and other objects into the flesh has been documented in most cultures for thousands of years (Caliendo 474). However, most of those piercings were in the ears or nose and were done for religious or cultural reasons. It is very different today. You can pretty much get a piercing anywhere you want as long as you are eighteen years old. People get their body parts pierced for many different reasons. Whether it’s a navel piercing for girls who want more attention and think it’s sexy or a nipple piercing for the ones who desire more sexual pleasure. There are also gauges which are piercings that are stretched out and make the actual hole of the piercing larger. This is mainly done on the ears and it definitely draws a lot of attention. The holes can actually get to the width of a pipe. Obviously this process inflicts physical pain, but people do it to look different and to receive that attention. It could be attention that they never received growing up or even to this day. They want to stand out from the rest and look different.
Tattoos have grown in popularity and are now known as body art. They give people the freedom to, in a sense, draw on their body; however, tattoo ink is not like a washable marker. They are permanent and stick with you for the rest of your life. As early as 2400 years ago, tattoos were used among the Aztecs and Mayans in tribes to scare people and look fierce (Cronin). However, today they are so widespread it’s like everyone has them. Tattoos are very popular with gang members who get tattoos to show their loyalty for life. Not only is it on their body forever, its usually on places visible to everyone so everyone is aware of their gang. When you look at other people with tattoos, you wonder the reasons why they got what they did. Sometimes tattoos really do have deep meanings to that person but other times they are just random and have no meaning behind them. Tattoos, like piercings do cause physical pain, and it may be a way for some people to escape from the mental pain they are experiencing. They get to cover their body in any type of drawing or words or color they want to express them. Once they get that freedom, they go crazy with tattoos and get them all over their body. In a sense, their body becomes a canvas, and although they aren’t the ones doing the actual tattoo, it’s like they are the ones painting on the canvas.
Plastic surgery is also known as another type of body modification. It dates back to the 1800’s which then it was used as more of a procedure to fix something for a medical reason and not just a desire to look better. For better or worse, the driving force behind most plastic surgery developments during the late 1800s and early 1900s was war, with the awful injuries it often inflicts on its participants (American Society of Plastic Surgeons). Although it can be done for medical reasons, most of the