A take on body modifications

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My body is a temple, so I decorated. Tamara Gore via Unsplash

No matter which side of this love/hate relationship you’re on, respect is key

Body modifications come in many different forms. Whether it is piercings, lip fillers, cosmetic surgery, coloured hair, or tattoos, you have probably seen it all on your Instagram explore page. Of course, everyone has their own thoughts regarding them. Some view them as controversial, others believe it is okay if it doesn’t hurt anyone. Body modifications today are more common than we have ever seen before.

I personally don’t care what people choose to do with their bodies. I believe that people should think about them seriously before getting something done just because it is what is trending on Tiktok. 20 years ago, the ideal standard was to be thin. Today, while thinness is still a standard, so are curves. This is the main reason why Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBLs) are common today despite the health risks. There are some body modifications that come with a serious cost. BBLs, for example, have a higher mortality rate. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons stated that the BBL death rate was 1 in 3,000 in 2018, higher than any other cosmetic procedure. This affects younger people much more as they’re exposed to much more through social media today. It is hard to keep up with beauty standards, the current trend of tattoos, fillers, Botox, and other cosmetic procedures.

I always say that I don’t think I would survive as a functioning person if I was a teenager in the age of TikTok and Instagram. Young girls especially are told that they must fit a certain category to be considered as beautiful. As a result, they get procedures done to their bodies or faces. Of course, I believe that everyone is allowed to do whatever they want with their body, but I also believe that this industry is one that does not care about the well-being of people. Surgeons will accept anyone for procedures because it makes them money. The harsh truth is that addiction to body modifications make their bank accounts bigger. They don’t care that it harms the people getting them.

I wish that there were therapists at every plastic surgeon’s office to help ensure that the person is 100 per cent certain about getting a procedure done. There are people walking around with body dysmorphia, and as much as I hate to state this, surgeons don’t really care because it is this category that makes them money.

I am personally against body modifications that have high mortality rates or that will mentally harm the person getting them. What boggles my mind is when people are not forthcoming about the work that they have had done, and then indirectly influence other impressionable young people. It is extremely shady. I respect people who are open about their body modifications instead of hiding the truth about them.

The only body modifications I have are piercings. I’d like to get a smiley piercing someday, but I am absolutely terrified of the pain and the healing process. I personally love nose piercings, although I do not have one. I especially love the look of double nose piercings, it looks regal. I only have two piercings on each ear and got them when I was a baby. In my culture, people get their piercings as babies instead of when they are grown up. I have not necessarily experimented with any other body modifications because I personally don’t feel the need to do something that is permanent. I change my mind almost a hundred times a day and I will like something, then hate it the next day. I dyed my hair blonde and was meaning to keep it like that, but I decided to change it to black with deep red highlights on a random Thursday just because I felt like it. Therefore, I think I wouldn’t be the best person to get certain body modifications done because I’d regret them sooner rather than later.

I do, however, respect people’s autonomy to do whatever they want with their body. A lot of things were new to me initially and took some time to understand, as many things are out of my comfort zone and worldview, and I have my own experiences that are different from the those who were born and raised in the West. Some things are different to me. However, it is important to note that sometimes different is not necessarily bad, it’s just different. It’s something that should be understood and even if that is not possible, respected.

I have heard stories of people hiding or covering their tattoos and removing piercings for employment purposes. I think it is sad that people must conform to what is considered “acceptable” by the public. They must make themselves smaller and hide every trace of who they are. It is unfair that people have a certain view and belief of people with tattoos and piercings and thus treat them with a lack of respect.  People deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of their appearance or body modifications. At the end of the day, body modifications are a form of self-expression. People should be allowed to express themselves whichever way they want. Body modifications give people a sense of self, making them important to some people. It is absolutely nobody’s right to dictate what someone can or cannot do with their bodies or faces.

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