Body Modification in Today's Society

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There are various aspects through which people, especially youth, identify themselves. People are always sending some sort of communication out at all times, whether it is subconscious or not. Images and styles are adopted which communicate meanings about the individual to his/her peers and to society. Styles of dress, language, music, and dance are some of the ways that portray one's own unique symbols, values, and meanings. One other such signifier of identity is through body modification, particularly tattooing and body piercing. In today's society people have adopted the new style or trend of body modification. There are many reasons in which people obtain piercings and tattoos. Those who modify, manipulate and mutilate their bodies do so for many reasons. Some say it's simply exciting and pleasurable, or part of the latest fad. Others place it in the context of art, ritual or self-expression-they say it's an act with cultural and social significance. In contrast, many people can't understand why someone would choose to put so many holes in her body or cut their skin. They see body modification as self-destructive, much like anorexia or bulimia. I am a prime example of youth urge toward body modification. Below I will talk about why, what, where, and how people modify their body and how people look upon them. Youth and adolescence is one of, if not the most, significannot and influential moments in one's life, when youth are seeking their identity of who they are. Tattooing and piercing are one of the many ways through which youth may express their identity, for they are symbolic representations of how the self is conceived or understood. People may also want themselves to be portrayed as someone who they are not. For example, someone gets a tattoo or earrings just to look "tough" or "cool". I remember when I was young; I thought having an earring was the coolest thing and at the age of sixteen I couldn't take it anymore and pierced my ear against my parents will. Getting a piercing or tattoo symbolizes a certain change in ones life. These changes, no matter how minuscule they may seem, have a huge impact on a person's identity. Usually when a youth gets a tattoo or earring, they are symbolizing their maturity by finally being able to make a decision on their own and taking matters into their own hands. Body modification is clearly a means by which youth seek to displace authority and etiquette. Within the last four years I have gotten two earrings, a tongue ring, and a huge tattoo on my back. As I get older I frequently ask myself, "Why did I get this tattoo? Why do I have two earrings? Why would I pierce my tongue?" These are questions that I should have asked myself four years ago. As I get older I dislike my tattoo more and more. The reason I got it was simply to look cool but know I am stuck with it for as long as I live. Most youth don't think about this when they begin to modify their body. Yes, piercings you can take out but tattoos will always be there. Thank God that I got my tattoo on my back where people can't see it because I have learned that in the business world tattoos are nothing to be desired and that you could possibly risk a job because of it. Body piercing is believed to be a self-imposed rite of passage. By this I mean that people, in general, feel an instinctive drive to undergo some sort of a rite of passage. If society denies them this, they may create one for themselves in order to feel as though they have a place in society. Almost everyone has been tempted to get a tattoo or piercing, but did you ever ask your self why you wanted one? This theory tries to explain that it is natural and instinctive and possibly even necessary in order to find your place in society. Along with this idea, there is a concept that deals with the issue of pain. Because culture in Western society only allows for pain in instances of accidents and pregnancy,...
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