Body Modification

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Body Modification 2

In today’s society, people are significantly embracing the style of body modification. It appears that no matter where one is in the world, it is impossible to evade the reality of body art; the appearance of tattoos and piercings. It has become a fundamental part of our society. Appearance norms make people look similar and people break the rules and violate appearance expectations. Some of these deviants form deviant communities. These communities are driven by the need to achieve social cohesion and inclusion. There is much debate about why people modify, manipulate and mutilate their bodies involving tattoos and piercings. There are two main reasons that a functionalist would approach to understand this deviant behavior. First, tattoos and piercings give people a group membership in a deviant community, helping promote self identification. Second, Tattoos and piercings also serve as a boundary line to what is acceptable and what is not in our society. Although tattoos and piercings increase a person’s acceptance into a deviant community, it also, increases rejection in a conventional community. (Tepperman, 2010)

Tattoos and piercings have always been connected to certain groups and their members. (Tepperman, 2010) Tattoos and piercings have a level of set meaning. For instance, the fact that a collection of people, by wearing the same set of tattoos, are suggesting common membership in a group and share commitment to a set of values. In this case, the example of the Hells Angels. Atkinson explained that tattoos and piercings “deconstruct as signifying practice Body Modification 3

that purposely accepts and broadcasts images of otherness.” (Atkinson, 2004) He calls this a homology of deviant style, “a group of practices coming together around a shared set of ideologies, activities and preferences.” (Atkinson, 2004) Tattoos are intended to imply that youth wants to be associated with an experimental, risk taking community....
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