How Do Body Modifications Affect Society's View of Adolescents?

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Society and Culture
Society and Culture
Assignment
Assignment
How do body modifications affect society’s views on adolescents? How do body modifications affect society’s views on adolescents? By Deejay Jones, 11SaC
By Deejay Jones, 11SaC

Body modifications have been around for millennia, from the tribal tattoos of the New Zealand Maoris to the intense scarification of the Papua New Guinean Sepiks, to the stretched neck of the Padaung tribe of Burma.

In the 1920s, tattoos were recognised as symbols of delinquency or naval status, and progressed to popularity in the 1960s after waves of popularity for centuries. In the last 20 years, tattoos have become so prevalent that 15% of parents would let their child (under 18) to get a tattoo without second thought.

The earliest recorded piercing is 5000BC and the most prevalent piercings are lobe, nose and genital piercings. In Eastern cultures, they were designed for men and women, but until recently, in Western culture they were viewed as a strictly feminine thing.

The media has represented body modifications in a mixed way. Programs such as “Two Broke Girls” and “Home and Away” portray cosmetic surgery and tattoos as a negative thing, which women with breast enlargements viewed as promiscuous and unintelligent, and tattooed men as criminals. Michael Jackson’s face is a broadcast to the world about the addiction and peril of cosmetic surgery, with his 4 rhinoplastic surgeries and with an estimated total of 14 or more surgical procedures. Figure 1.2: Women obviously altered cosmetically in the media, perceived as promiscuous and unintelligent. Figure 1.2: Women obviously altered cosmetically in the media, perceived as promiscuous and unintelligent. Figure 1.1: Tattooed bodies in the media, perceived as criminals. Figure 1.1: Tattooed bodies in the media, perceived as criminals.

Figure 1.3: Michael Jackson, before and after his multiple cosmetic surgeries Figure 1.3: Michael Jackson, before and after his multiple cosmetic surgeries

Figure 1.4: Kat Von D, a celebrated American tattoo artist

Figure 1.4: Kat Von D, a celebrated American tattoo artist

However, programs such as “Miami Ink”, which features Kat Von D, epitomise and glorify body art, and make the process appear artful and skillful, and deserving of recognition. Many celebrities from sports stars through to performers and pop stars also have body modifications, and in 2011, a Barbie doll was released, sporting several tattoos. It has been said that Generation X is the “Body mod” generation, and so the researcher was curious as to what society’s reactions were to these permanent markings. Figure 1.5: Tattooed Mattel Barbie, released in 2011

Figure 1.5: Tattooed Mattel Barbie, released in 2011

The topic selected for the Society and Culture assignment was, the views that society holds against adolescents with body modifications, and was assessed by a questionnaire of 51 yes/no questions and open questions, aimed to an audience from 14 to 60.

The subject was selected because of the researchers own curiosity and because of the ever-changing opinions and representations of body modifications in the media, and within society. *
During the 1930s the most prominent character that had a tattoo was the sailor, Popeye, who sported an anchor on his arm. In more recent times, many celebrities have tattoos including the pop sensations Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus and the media controversy that erupted about these two has been the basis behind the selection of this topic. *

When cosmetic surgery rose to popularity in the late 1960s, it was viewed as a mark of wealth, attractive in that stance. More recently, it is reflected in a far more negative manner, being seen as a mutilation, rather than a mark of status or wealth. *

It is evident that the topic directly supports a few of Society and Culture key concepts including socialisation, life stages, self, identity, kinship, class and...
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