It’s no secret that I’ve always been fascinated by body mod. I’ve written about it before. But that was on the attitudes people often throw at the modded, and I think that there’s so much more to it than just the obvious, than the tattoo or piercing or dye itself. Body mod is often dismissed as tacky or a fetish, possibly as youthful indiscretion. On the more extreme end of the spectrum, it’s associated with criminals, with people who are “trashy” and “don’t respect themselves.” But I don’t see it that way at all.
It takes a certain kind of confidence to get your mod done, whether you display it or not. You have to be self-assured to display it, because you will face backlash and judgement and never-ending commentary from the peanut gallery. And even if you don’t, even if you only put your tattoo or piercing or other mod in a place that is just for you, a place your clothing always covers and you never show anyone else, there’s no denying the fact that you bared your body to a professional, to a needle or gun or other tool. That you trusted in another human being’s skill and artistry to change your body permanently. You made yourself vulnerable, and that isn’t an easy thing to do.
There’s a certain courage in making that decision, but what I find most powerful about body modification is the fact that making that choice—to change the body you live in—a person is deciding for themselves what they find beautiful or meaningful, and then stepping inside that construct. So much of our culture is concerned with policing bodies, and it’s so pervasive that we don’t think about the norms that exist around hair length and clothing and weight. Body mod isn’t about pleasing other people—it’s not holding off the aging process to look attractive to others or maintain social status, it’s not about creating or maintaining a perfect body shape or colour or size. It’s not about trying to seem beautiful by conventional standards. It is a very obvious form of modification that doesn’t pretend to be anything else, that doesn’t seek outside approval. It is an act whereby you commit to living your truth, to putting your money where your mouth is regarding how you view the world.
And that kind of courage, confidence, and commitment is damn attractive.
I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.