Body Modification’s (BM’s) have been known for many years dating back to the 19th century in
many different cultures. According to Brandes, K., Fix-Griffin, L., Glassmeyer, D., Hawkins,,
L., Hawkins, R., LeJeune, M., "The Body Project", (2014), there are several different cultural
traditions of BM such as nose piercing associated with Hinduism, neck elongation in Thailand
and Africa, henna tattooing in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, tooth filing in Bali, lip
piercing and earlobe stretching in Africa, and female and male circumcision in many areas of the
world. More common today are piercings (in multiple various forms), tattoos, breast implants,
penile implants, cosmetic alterations, to extreme modifications such as silicone implants, that lie
just under the skins surface, that sometimes enhance a tattoo to create a three-dimensional look
or to create an image that is characteristic such as inserting silicone and mesh in the cranial area
to create the look of horns.
In common, these modifications are generally used to appear more desirable, or express an image
of their inner personality, to conform to beauty ideals, and obtain the “perfect body” image.
While these BM’s can create an ideal image to the ones who receive them, there are also great
risks that can come of them.
Two prominent history examples of Body Modifications are Foot binding and corseting. For
hundreds of years, foot binding was commonly performed in China, on girls, beginning between
the ages of 3 and 7 and continuing throughout their lives. All toes but the big one were broken
and folded under. The foot was then wrapped very tightly. The bandages were changed
frequently, maintaining constant pressure. By the end of the process, women’s feet were usually
only a few inches long (Brandes, K., et al., 2014). This procedure was known to be erotic for
men and parents continued the practice to improve their daughter’s chances of attracting a
husband. This practice became far less common in the 1950’s when China was opened to the
Corseting was big in western nations during the Victorian era. Women were expected to wear
stiff corsets in an attempt to obtain the ideal curvaceous feminine figure with broad hips and tiny
waists, cinched as small as 12 inches (Brandes, K., et al., 2014). The risk in corseting is that with
severely tight lacing, women’s bodies came to literally incorporate the corset as the ribs and
internal organs gradually adapted to its shape (Brandes, K., et al., 2014). This also left women
short of breath, and they could not stand for long periods of time. It is seen that there were
societal pressures to conform to ideas of beauty regardless of the physical agony of these
modifications. A modern approach in the west is corset piercings. These piercings depict a laced
up corset that is typically down either side of the spine. The body must be pierced several times
on either side to insert a loop through each piercing...