Body modification

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Body modification (or body alteration) is the permanent or semi-permanent deliberate altering of the human body for non-medical reasons, such as: sexual enhancement; a rite of passage; aesthetic reasons; denoting affiliation, trust and loyalty; religious reasons; mystical affiliations; shock value; and self-expression.[1]. It can range from the socially acceptable decoration (e.g., pierced ears in many societies) to the religiously mandated (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures), and everywhere in between. Body art is a modification of any part of the human body for artistic or aesthetic reasons.


[edit] Types of body modification

[edit] Explicit ornaments

[edit] Surgical augmentation

In contrast to the explicit ornaments, the following procedures are primarily not meant to be exposed per se, but rather function to augment another part of the body, like the skin in a subdermal implant.

[edit] Removal or split

[edit] Applying long-term force

Body modifications occurring as the end result of long term activities or practices

  • Corsetry or tightlacing - binding of the waist and shaping of the torso
  • Cranial binding - modification of the shape of infants' heads, now extremely rare
  • Breast ironing - Pressing (sometimes with a heated object) the breasts of a pubescent female to prevent their growth.
  • Foot binding - compression of the feet to modify them for aesthetic reasons
  • Anal stretching [16]
  • Non-surgical elongation of organs by prolonged stretching using weights or spacing devices. Some cultural traditions prescribe for or encourage members of one sex (or both) to have one organ stretched till permanent re-dimensioning has occurred, such as:
    • The 'giraffe-like' stretched necks (sometimes also other organs) of women among the Burmese Kayan tribe, the result of wearing brass coils around them. This compresses the collarbone and upper ribs but is not medically dangerous. It is a myth that removing the rings will cause the neck to 'flop'; Padaung women remove them regularly for cleaning etc.
    • Stretched lip piercings - achieved by inserting ever larger plates, such as those made of clay used by some Amazonian tribes.

[edit] Others

[edit] Additional limbs

Surgically adding additional limbs as body modification is not yet carried out. Still, because of neuroplasticity, the nervous system could in time adapt to perceive touch and other senses from the additional limb,[21] and perhaps even some motor control.

Additional limbs could include:

[edit] Controversy

The head of a man with conspicuous tattoos and other body modifications

Some sources of controversy stem from the notion of attempting to artificially beautify the natural form of the body, often leading to charges of disfigurement and mutilation. Extreme forms of Body Modification are occasionally viewed as symptomatic of body dysmorphic disorder, other mental illnesses, or as an expression of unchecked vanity[22]. Unlicensed surgery {i.e. the plastic surgery field} performed outside of a medical environment can often be life-threatening, and is illegal in most countries and states.

"Disfigurement" (a subjective term) and "mutilation" (regardless of any appreciation this always applies objectively whenever a bodily function is gravely diminished or lost, as with castration) are terms used by opponents of body modification to describe certain types of modifications, especially non-consensual ones. Those terms are used fairly uncontroversially to describe the victims of torture, who have endured damage to ears, eyes, feet, genitalia, hands, noses, teeth, and/or tongues, including amputation, burning, flagellation, piercing, skinning, and wheeling[citation needed]. "Genital mutilation" is also used somewhat more controversially to describe certain kinds of socially prescribed modifications to the genitals, such as circumcision, female circumcision, castration, and surgeries performed to conform the genitals of individuals with intersex conditions to those of typical males or females[citation needed].

Breast implants are also a part of this controversy, mainly for their known health risks and documented complications. Some women experience breast pain, breast hardness, and numbness in the nipple; sometimes, these conditions persist the rest of the patient's life. Due to these complications and documented ruptures post-surgery, the FDA has approved breast implants only for women over 22 years old. [1]

[edit] Individuals known for extensive body modification

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ What is body modification?
  2. ^ Dermal Anchoring - BME Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Scrotal Implant - BME Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Microdermal - BME Encyclopedia
  5. ^ Silicone Injection - BME Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Horn Implant - BME Encyclopedia
  7. ^ Genital Frenectomy - BME Encyclopedia
  8. ^ Inversion - BME Encyclopedia
  9. ^ Nipple Removal - BME Encyclopedia
  10. ^ Nipple Splitting - BME Encyclopedia
  11. ^ Jamie Gadette. "Underground". Salt Lake City Weekly. 
  12. ^ Tongue Frenectomy - BME Encyclopedia
  13. ^ Shannon Larratt. "nullification, the voluntary removal of body parts". BMEzine. Retrieved on 2007-08-29. 
  14. ^ Shannon Larratt (March 18, 2002). ModCon: The Secret World Of Extreme Body Modification. BMEbooks. ISBN 0973008008. 
  15. ^ Adam Callen. "What is TOO Extreme for Body Modification?". Ezine Articles. Retrieved on 2007-08-29. 
  16. ^ Anal Stretching - BME Encyclopedia
  17. ^ Ear Shaping - BME Encyclopedia
  18. ^ Ear Cropping - BME Encyclopedia
  19. ^ Ear Pointing - BME Encyclopedia
  20. ^ Tooth Filing - BME Encyclopedia
  21. ^ a b c I'm having my wings done By Johann Hari. The Guardian, Monday 11 March 2002
  22. ^ Freak: Encyclopedia II - Freak - Made freaks
  23. ^ "Guinness World Records - Human Body - Extreme Bodies - Most Pierced Woman". Guinness World Records. 2001-08-09. Retrieved on 2007-08-26. 
  24. ^ Lucky Diamond Rich is now acknowledged as the world's most tattooed person. Guinness World Records. "Most Tattooed Person". 
  25. ^ Windrow, John. (September 1, 1998) Star Tribune. The Scary Guy brings a message of the spirit. Section: Variety; Page 1E.
  26. ^ Guinness World Records, Most Tattooed Person,, retrieved on 2007-05-07 
  27. ^ Performer gets third ear for art BBC News. Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK

[edit] External links

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