The interest and prevalence in body modification seems to have resurfaced from the past and growing to be noticeably prevalent in many societies, especially in the West. In recent years, there has been a noticeable emphasis with modern consumer culture shifting away from the more conservative past – from concealing the body with heavy clothing to highlighting the contours of the body with as little clothing as possible, along with the exposure of flesh (Body and Society, 1999). Similarly, the evolution of tattoos and scarification practices by indigenous tribes of the past compared to tattoos as a current day hobby or fashion statement.
The term ‘body modification’ entails a broad spectrum of practices – tattooing, piercing, implants, branding, scarification and other forms of skin-deep alterations. Likewise, other invasive modifications include the vast range of contemporary cosmetic surgery ...view middle of the document...
Amongst the most common and observable forms of body modification include tattooing and piercing on various parts of the human anatomy – studs and rings in noses, lips and navels, tattoos on almost every part of the body some of us never thought was possible. Tattooing and scarification, which has now gone mainstream, were once correlated with more deviant social groups in the United States. However, more often than not, body modification is still seen as an act of deviance – an anomaly amongst the norms that have been established the cultural context of most societies. There are a myriad of factors as to why people choose to obtain these modifications.
Body modification translates to a sense of taking control over one’s body; of making a gesture against the body’s natural state and indicating that one has somehow taken possession of one’s body – which henceforth, carries a visible sign of identity. As Dr Christian Klesse, a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the Manchester Metropolitan University suggests, “I make a statement. I’ve chosen myself. I am part of a culture but I don’t believe in it. My body modifications are my way to say that.”
From a biological perspective, the human body is a nature. But in a sociological perspective, our bodies are products of the culture we belong to. We are constantly being shaped and reshaping the body to reflect not necessarily only the culture we belong to; but the dominant culture we ascribe to. However, why do people choose to attain these supposedly ‘unnatural’ or even bizarre modifications? How do they then assimilate into the mainstream society? What are some likely long-term impacts of these physical alterations?
As such, through rigorous research, this paper seeks to identify the Primary Motivations behind certain body modifications, discuss the relevant Sociological Concepts, and conclude with the Possible Consequences of body modification.