Body modification: the deliberate altering of the human body for aesthetic or non-medical purpose
That is the definition from wikipedia, other sources very slightly but are fundamentally the same, the only word deliberated over is ‘permanent
‘. When we think of body modification I bet most of us think firstly of body piercing, perhaps tattoos. How about plastic surgery? Circumcision? These are other permanent modifications, yet hair dye, make-up, fake tan are all modifications too just temporary. Where do clothes, accessories and jewelry fit into this? They are all aspects of changing our bodies in some way or another.
What’s with all the deep thoughts on a Sunday I guess you are wondering. Well a few things have got me thinking about this lately, mostly watching repeats of Miami Ink, London Ink and all the other types of Ink on TV whilst I have been stuck at home ill. But also a few things in the headlines.
Rick Genest walks for Mugler
The appearance of Rick Genest aka Zombie Boy on the runway and in the ad campaign for Mugler caused a huge stir up. Rick’s entire body is covered in tattoo to make him look like a zombie. He says he has had trouble finding a steady job due to his appearance.
Then there was the case of sales assistant Melanie Stark who felt she was forced to resign from her Job at Harrods when after 4 years of her working there the company decided to enforce their ladies dress code. The code requires female employees to wear full make-up.
It reminds me of when I worked at a Supermarket on checkout whilst I was at Uni doing my undergrad degree. We got a new manager who sent around an update to our contracts we had to agree to uphold and sign. Amongst things like wearing full uniform and abiding by health and safety regulations were rules that all long hair must be tied back and all visible tattoos were to be concealed with plasters (band-aids). I told the supervisor that I would not sign it and wanted an explanation for those rules in particular. Apparently our hair was to be tied back for health and safety, to prevent it getting caught in the till conveyer belt, I never did get an explanation for the tattoos. I never did sign that agreement nor did I comply with it, I said I would prefer to leave and nothing was ever said about it again. If I had been given it to sign at the start of working there I probably would have complied as I wanted the job and to be honest it wasn’t really a big deal. The thing that grated with me however, was that I had been doing that job perfectly well before hand so how could altering my appearance improve my working ability. (In case you were wondering – we tested this – the only way to get your hair caught in the conveyer belt is if you lay with your head on the thing).
What gets me is why is everybody so hung up on controlling the appearance of others?
I was getting coffee at a service station the other day and the girl serving me had an entire arm of blue plasters, you could see a tiny part of her tattoo poking out (they probably ran out of plasters). Would my coffee have tasted bad if her tattoo had been on display? Would she have been unable to do her job? Of course not so why make her look ridiculous trying to conceal it with plasters.
The rarely seen three tattoos on my thigh, I originally intended them to make up a bigger design yet haven’t quite got around to that
(excuse the PJ’s and Snuggie like I said Ive been sick)
I know some people don’t like tattoos, fair enough but you know what I don’t like Croc’s shoes, yet that doesn’t give me the right to prevent people wearing them. I really like tattoos so maybe I am biased? Well I would never have facial piercings, but each to their own if people want to have them. It makes no difference to me and it certainly doesn’t offend me, I just choose not to have them. How is an eyebrow piercing really different to ear piercing any how?
I have my ears pierced, 3 times in fact not that I ever really wear earrings these days. I also had my tongue pierced for a couple of years.
People often ask why I had my tongue pierced and why I got tattoos – I have 6, but I never really have an answer. There wasn’t a specific reason, just like there isn’t a specific reason why I have my hair in this style or wear certain clothes. They are just things I like and I guess are an extension of myself.
Most people don’t even notice I have tattoos, I had them all in places which are usually covered up. I just had them where I wanted them, I never felt the need to have them ‘on show’ all the time, yet neither was it a conscious decision to have them hidden. I often forget they are there. One time on a work trip to Egypt I shocked a fair few colleagues when they saw me in swim wear. One said ‘Ohh I would never have guess you were like that’, like what exactly I am not entirely sure.
I liked having my tongue piercing at the time, I liked buying pretty body jewellery and would wear a silver bar with either a pink or green jewel on the ball. I decided to take it out one day, I guess for no more of a reason than I had on the day I had it done.These are just some of my thoughts, but I guess my biggest wonder is why people waste their lives getting wound up about things that don’t really matter at all.
It is beyond me how anybody could be offended by another’s appearance,