Essay on Body Modification D

Submitted By klc0214app
Words: 1022
Pages: 5

Body Modification. The term can have weird and scary implications for people who have no personal interest or experience in the subject, and it can be all too easy to judge or malign its participants and practitioners. But in reality, to willfully modify one’s body is to take part in a culture and tradition that spans class, race, and human history like nothing else. In the simplest terms, “body modification” means to deliberately alter one’s physical appearance, though people usually assume the phrase applies only to such practices as tattooing and piercing or the more esoteric branding and scarification. However, all one has to do is look at society’s present definition of aesthetic to discover that almost all of us engage in some form of body modding or other. For instance, it would be pretty hard to find a woman these days who doesn’t have her ears pierced, and one of the most involved, long-term, and committed types of body modification, bodybuilding, is not often even considered to be so. And, of course, surgical body modification has become extremely common in the form of cosmetic surgery, but that’s rarely considered shocking or odd unless the procedure goes wrong or the resulting aesthetic is outside of the socially accepted standard of beauty. In every group of humans in known and recorded history, there have been members who modified their bodies. The reasons behind their choices vary widely, even within a single society. In many cultures around the world, social status, group affiliations, and wealth are advertised with jewelry and adornments; in others, deeper meanings are behind the punctures, scars, and tattoos they wear. In certain African cultures, for instance, rites of passage successfully completed are denoted by scarring all over the face and body, painfully administered by the practiced hand of an elder or religious leader, the discomfort bravely endured by the new initiate, and the marks worn proudly ever after. In some groups of people in India and Southeast Asia, genital modifications are sought after by devotees of the arts of love, and desired and preferred by their partners. And, of course, in almost every culture there are modifications that are done purely for aesthetic reasons–adornment and beautification of both sexes and all genders, striving towards an accepted goal or standard of human perfection within their culture. It’s a commonly accepted misconception that body piercing is a relatively recent trend or fashion, but ear piercing, of course, is incredibly common in almost every culture throughout history, with a huge range of legends, myths, and meanings behind the jewelry worn and its placement. Nostril piercing has been documented in the Middle East as far back as 4,000 years. The fashion continued in India in the sixteenth century, and is still widely practiced there to this day. Both ear and nostril piercing and jewelry are mentioned in the Bible: Genesis 24:22, Isaiah 3:21.(New International Version) And piercings in other parts of the body, such as labret or lip piercings, are widely practiced often in the form of enlarged piercings and lip discs. Tribes across Africa, in Southeast Asia, and in North and South America all participate in lip piercing. And today, of course, all of these types of piercings are still practiced in the West, though the primary motivation behind them is aesthetic adornment and enhancement. Tattooing, as we know it, can be documented as far back as 3300 BCE as seen in the discovery of Otzi the Iceman in 1991 and ancient Egyptian mummies bearing tattoos of animals and various creatures. (PBS) The practice, however, is believed to have originated over 10,000 years ago. The mechanics of tattooing have changed a bit over the years, and the pigments and inks used have wildly improved in recent times, but whether hand-tapped, poked with a single needle, or administered with the telltale buzz of a modern tattoo machine, the basic reasons behind the choice to