Body Modification

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Critical studies 2B
Option 1
Lerato Kumalo 500-2873

Is Body Modification a form of Deception?

The 21st century has metamorphosed society in a direction of the human body. We as people have now categorized the human body to suit the idealized environment. The public has seen the Anna Nicole Smiths of their then generation and each age group has created divisions on how the body is meant to look like. Body modification is one of the most practiced processes in which people are likely to approach. As Alexandra Howson would explain it, in consumer culture, the body itself can be transformed into a commodity of sorts through techniques of body maintenance [2004:97]. People have extended these forms of body modification by practicing cupping, stretching of the body, foot-binding, high heel wearing (very common to the modern society), piercing enlargements and many more. These practices are becoming the norm in society. This essay will discuss the various types of body modification as well as the intentions of why these practices are performed.

“The 1990s saw the dramatic rise of spectacular forms of body modification, which included the tattoo renaissance and the rise in body piercing, the emergence of neo-tribal practices like scarification and flesh hanging, and the invention of new, high-tech forms of body art like sub dermal implants” (Pitts, 2003). The media has played a very big role in deceiving people in terms of what is acceptable in society when it comes to the body and self-confidence with the way one would look. People, especially women, have uncovered ways of recreating their body image and over the years, technology has improved on means to perfect the body. Over the years, body tattooing piercing and other forms of modification have become easily accessible, and eventually will become affordable. More and more people are heading into Tattoo parlours, to get a taste of ink etched into their bodies. The media constantly revisits the notion of how beautiful a tattoo is on a body. Anthony Giddins [1991:102] states that people have now become responsible of their own bodies, in the modern society of media influences. Millions of rand are spent each year, not only in South Africa, but all over the world on beauty treatments, plastic surgery, tattooing, piercing, and so on. Body idealization has become the norm, where one would undergo surgery. Pitts [2004:51] once again addresses the political, social and economic pressures surrounding women’s appearances. She also restates that: “Standards of beauty describe in precise terms that an individual will have to hate her own body…They define the dimensions of her physical freedom… In our culture, not one part of a woman’s body is left untouched, unaltered. No feature or extremity is spared the art, or pain of improvement… From head to toe, every feature of a woman’s face, every section of her body, is subject to modification, alteration” [Dworkin, 1974:].

More and more women are beginning to under appreciate their bodies. They would face a mirror and begin to glance at the unattractive parts that they would not think twice about changing. Women’s bodies are naturally adorned, by the male counterparts, which is part of a fetish lifestyle. One would say that a female body would be perfect, but these perfections may be overlooked by the women themselves. The deception is taking place as women are seen to be very insecure about their natural bodies. But is there a difference between body modification and cosmetic surgery? Sub dermal implants are the focal point in which to explain the difference. Sub dermal implants would be defined as the decorative body jewelry that one places underneath the skin through the form of surgery. People have attempted to accomplish this procedure themselves, some without fail. This is a form of body modification, as one undergoes the process of physically changing the way they look. When it comes to cosmetic surgery, “The ‘natural’...
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