The term ‘body modification’ can have mysterious and scary connotations for people with no personal interest or experience in the subject. This way, it can be easy to judge or misrepresent its participants and practitioners. But in actuality, modification on the body requires immense participation in culture and tradition which transverse class, race, profession, human history, and a lot more.
According to the normal person, the term, “body modification” implies changing one’s physical appearance intentionally. Generally, people assume that this term applies to piercing and tattooing practices or more than that means to practice personal branding and scarification modification. We have to see society’s current manifestation and thus able to see that all of us are engaged in some type of body modding in one way or the other. Let’s take an example to clarify the situation like we hardly see a woman nowadays who doesn’t have her ears pierced. Ear piercing is one of the most dedicated, long-term, bounded, and committed types of body modification, whereas bodybuilding is not often even acknowledged to be so. However, in the current scenario surgical body modification has become remarkably common among people especially celebrities. Surgical body modification is a form of cosmetic surgery now. This is considered great so long as the procedure goes well and nothing went wrong, also if it’s within the socially accepted standard of beauty and acceptability.
Since time immemorial, most humans or groups have gone to the extent to modify their bodies according to their taste, looks, requirements. In every group of humans in known and recorded history, there have been members who modified their bodies. The logic behind their preferences and choices differ extensively, not outside but even within a private society. Social status, group associations, situations, trends, resources, and wealth are displayed with jewelry and accessories in many cultures and societies all over the world. In some parts, more profound purposes are behind the perforations, scars, and tattoos they wear. Rites of passage completed are denoted by scarrings all over the face and body of some African productions. Here piercing is painfully administered by the expert hand of an elder, patriarch, or religious leader; the discomfort is bravely taken by the new initiate, and the marks diminished boastfully ever after. In some groups of people in India and Southeast Asia, genital modifications are endeavored by artists and devotees of the arts of love as solicited and favored by their partners. However, there are aesthetic reasons too in almost every culture to modify their bodies purely for beautification and adornment purposes and this is demanded by both sexes and all genders. They usually put an effort to accept the goals and strive for human perfection in their culture and society.
Body Modifications and Beauty
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The theory of beautification is social and cultural development over a period of time. Western countries like the U.S. or the U.K. and their culture prefer the idea of elongating their neck to be more beautiful. For them, it’s just fantastic. The idea of beautification is somewhat attached to certain qualities, features, and standards within their cultures. Being an elaborative topic, the term and its meaning vary from country to country, culture to culture, tradition to tradition, and keep on changing over time depending on the prevailing fashion.
To be more beautiful, the idea of elongating your neck seems too painful and desperate, but western people in the past have been doing it for years to yield a better result. Though stretching of the neck is uncomfortable, they are into it to look pretty. One can check out history to find out that women used to wear corsets to make their waistlines or midsections appear smaller. It’s not different from stretching the neck to beautify yourself.
Foot binding is another practice evolved in China for women to find a husband. In this girls and women for centuries practiced foot binding by breaking all of the toes except the big toe and wrapping the feet tightly so that they cannot grow. The purpose is to attract a good husband.
Types of Body Modifications
There isn’t just one kind of body modification in the industry but multiple kinds including piercing, implants, tattoo, and some more which we will read about below:
- Body piercing – permanent installation of jewelry through a false fistula; seldom additionally modified by stretching
- Ear piercing – the most popular kind of body modification
- Pearling – also recognized as genital beading
- Neck ring – various neck rings or spiral are worn to increase the neck (in actuality grounding of the shoulders)
- Scrotal implants
- Tattooing – injection of a dye beneath the skin
- Teeth blackening
- Eye tattooing – injection of a dye into the sclera
- Extraocular implant (eyeball jewelry) – the implantation of jewels in the external zone of the eye
- Surface piercing – a piercing where the entry and outlet holes are penetrated through the very flat area of skin
- Microdermal implants
- Transdermal implant – implantation of an article underneath the dermis, but which gets off the skin at one or more locations
- Subdermal implants – implantation of an article that remains completely underneath the dermis, including horn implants
Removal or split
- Hair removal
- Genital modification and mutilation:
- Female genital mutilation
- Clitoral hood reduction – extraction of the clitoral hood
- Clitoridectomy – extraction of the clitoris
- Infibulation – elimination of the outer genitalia (and suturing of the vulva)
- Labiaplasty – modification (removal, reduction, enhancement, or creation) of the labia
- Circumcision – the incomplete or full removal of the foreskin, seldom also the frenulum
- Foreskin restoration – methods for endeavoring refurbishment
- Emasculation – absolute removal of the penis (orchiectomy plus penectomy)
- Genital frenectomy
- Meatotomy – the splitting of the bottom of the glans penis
- Orchiectomy – extraction of the testicles
- Penectomy – extraction of the penis
- Subincision – the splitting of the underside of the penis, also known as urethrotomy
- Nipple cutting:
- Nipple removal
- Nipple splitting
- Nullification: Nullification includes the deliberate replacement of body segments. Body parts that are usually extracted by those practicing body nullification are the penis, testicles, clitoris, labia, and nipples. Seldom people who aspire for a nullification may be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, body integrity identity disorder, or apotemnophilia.
- Tongue cutting:
- Lingual frenectomy – this is to increase the surface physical projection of the tongue.
- Tongue splitting- bisection of the tongue comparable to a snake
Applying long-term force
Body modifications happening as the outcome of a long duration of actions or methods.
- Corsetry or tightlacing – binding of the waist and shaping of the trunk
- Cranial binding – correction of the form of infants’ heads, now greatly unique
- Breast ironing – Weighting (often with a heated object) the breasts of a pubescent girl to stop their growth.
- Footbinding – squeezing of the feet of ladies to change them for artistic reasons
- Anal stretching
- Jelqing – penis enlargement with physical motions by adding some milking motion, to modify the girth mainly over a period of two to three months
- Non-surgical elongation: The elongation of organs by continued stretching utilizing weights or spacing methods. Some cultural traditions request for or stimulate members of one sex (or both) to have one organ stretched till permanent re-dimensioning has happened, such as:
- The ‘giraffe-like stretched necks (sometimes also different organs): It is common among the women among the Burmese Kayan tribe, the effect of covering brass coils around them. This decreases the collarbone and upper ribs but is not medically vulnerable. It is a parable that excluding the rings will make the neck ‘flop’; Padaung women separate them periodically for cleaning etc.
- Stretched lip piercings – It is accomplished by injecting ever-larger plates, such as those composed of clay applied by some Amazonian tribes.
- Labia stretching or pulling: This method is used to heighten sexual satisfaction by stimulation, especially reaching an orgasm that squirts, reoccurring orgasms that flow together regularly upon climax.
- Foreskin restoration or stretching: This process is done to enhance its physical size, desensitize the foreskin, move the foreskin moreover down the head for enhanced responsiveness and enhance its features.
- Human branding – regulated burning or burning of tissue to sustain intentional scarring
- Ear shaping: This process involves cropping, ear pointing, or “elfing”
- Scarification – It is the cutting or removal of the dermis with the purpose to promote voluntary scarring or keloid
- Human tooth sharpening– It is commonly used to have the impression of some sort of animal.
- Yaeba – This one has the purpose of the deliberate misaligning or capping of teeth to provide a crooked appearance. It is kind of popular in Japan.
- Tooth-knocking or tooth ablation – This one is the act of intentionally knocking one’s teeth out, usually as a ritual of passage or to settle an aesthetic ideal. Usually followed among Australian Aboriginals and Native Hawaiians before the 20th century, and commemorated in archaeological systems around the world.
Body Parts That Can Be Modified
Various body parts can be modified according to the liking of the person. It depends on the person which part of the body he or she would like to modify and for what exact reasons. There are separate reasons and ways for getting one of the body parts modified which will be discussed here below:
Skull Modification: Modifications of the head have involved modifications of the skull, teeth, lips, tongue, nose, or ears. Deformation of the skull is the best-recorded form, mainly because archaeological skeletal remains simply confirm its proximity. Tabular deformations are provided by the continuous demand of petty boards or other leveled surfaces against the infant’s head (see ‘head flattening’). Annular deformations are provided by a constricting band; each class is partitioned according to the resulting head frame, which is usually strikingly distinct from the unmodified skull. Examples of cranial modification are distinguished from all continents excluding Australia and Oceania, although it was very limited in Africa south of the Sahara and conspicuously missing from South India.
Dental Modifications: Dental modifications have frequently acquired the form of replacement, normally of one or more incisors (ancient Peru, most Australian Aborigines, some organizations in Africa, Melanesia, and abroad); sharpening to a limit or other design by chipping (Africa) or filing (ancient Mexico and Central America); filing of the outside, seldom into relief designs (Indonesia); incrustation with valuable stones or element (Southeast Asia, India, ancient Mexico, and Ecuador); addition of a peg within the teeth (India); and blackening (South India, hill communities in Myanmar [Burma], some Malaysian groups).
Lip Modification: Aperture of the lower lip (or less frequently the upper) for inclusion of a beautiful plug or other decoration was once popular among Africans, lowland South American Indians, the Indians of the northwest North American coast, and the Inuit (Eskimo). Prominent illustrations add those of the women of the Mursi and Sara tribes of Africa (for a time generally recognized as Ubangi, after the name erroneously involved in P.T. Barnum’s publicity), whose lips were penetrated and then extended gradually over time to provide ever-larger inserts.
Tongue Modification: Piercing the tongue has been a popular method of offering through time. It was followed by the early Aztec and Maya Indians, who picked a cord of thorns in the tongue. Some Australian tribes also drew blood from wounds beneath the tongue at preliminary rites.
Nose Modification: For the introduction of beautiful articles through the nose, aperture of the septum or one or both of the wings, or alae (or both systems coupled), was popular among South American Indians, Melanesians, and residents of India and Africa; it was uncommon outside (e.g., with Polynesians and North American Indians).
Ear Modification: Aperture of the earlobe for inclusion of embellishment is extensive. Seldom the hole is constantly extended to carry a larger ornament or to submit a greater distended pendant edge. More unusually, decorations have been included in holes in the cartilage along with the ear’s auricular border (eastern North American Indians, some African and tropical South American groups).
By the close of the 20th century, piercing of the ears, tongue, nose, lips, and other parts of the head had grown to be a social marker with some western cultural ground among which the practice was often a symbol of youthfulness or willingness to engage in a social experiment. Other forms of piercing were also common but there were just a few who would go beyond a certain limit in the name of experimentation and do something radical like piercing their tongues or having them surgically split, getting implants under the skin, or other kinds of extreme body modifications.
Male Genital Modification: The best-most popular and most comprehensive genital modification is male circumcision. Subincision (opening the urethra beside the inferior cover of the penis for a changing distance between the urinary meatus and the scrotum) was a well-known system at adolescent admissions among Australian Aborigines and has been designated as a corrective action between Fijians, Tongans, and Amazonian Indians. Usual unilateral castration (monarchy) was understood in central Algeria, amongst the Beja (Egypt), Sidamo (Ethiopia), San and Khoekhoe (southern Africa), and some Australian Aborigines, and on Pohnpei Island (Micronesia). Bilateral castration was customary to create eunuchs for Muslim harem servants, for helpers in China’s Imperial Palace, and for different ages (until forbidden by Pope Leo XIII in the late 19th century) to create male trebles or contraltos named castrati (see castrato) for religious hymns in the Roman Catholic Church. Bilateral castration was considered a penalty for infidelity among the Zande (central Africa), Babylonians, antiquated Egyptians, classical Chinese, and abroad.
Among the Toraja and Sadang (Sulawesi, Indonesia) and some Dayak groups (Borneo), several adult men covered with a penis pin, knobbed on each tip and averaging about 1.5 inches (4 cm) long, in a persistent aperture through the glans to enhance comfort in their sexual companions. The Alfur (Sulawesi) included pebbles beneath the skin of the glans for the related purpose.
Female Genital Modification: Alterations of female genitalia have been numerous and different. They have added removal of part or all of the clitoris (identified as clitoridectomy) and seldom also of the labia, mons, or both, in much of Africa, early Egypt, India, Malaysia, and Australia and with the Skoptsy (a Russian Christian sect). Surgery of the outside genitalia, without replacement of any part, was found with the Totonac (Mexico) and tropical South American Indians. Infibulation, followed in portions of northern and eastern Africa, requires cutting away the clitoris, labia minora, and most of the labia majora and producing their adhesion; this leaves just a little genital opening and is thought to limit sexual intercourse till the opening is reestablished by incision. Dilatation of the vaginal opening, usually with surgery, was discovered among some Australian Aborigines. Elongation of the labia (tablier) was written for southern Africa and the Caroline Islands, and fake defloration was observed among Australian Aborigines and elsewhere. Because numerous examples of persuasive female genital alteration were written throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries (see female genital cutting), the problem became the center of international debates about the comparable importance of individual rights versus cultural traditionalism.
The Limbs And Extremities
Reduction of the arms or legs by tight bands may produce persistent enlargement of the unconstricted region. The custom happened among many East African and tropical South American peoples and also sometimes in Nigeria, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia.
From the Tang dynasty (AD 618–907) till the 20th century, several Chinese women had their feet tightly wrapped in early childhood, making the famous “golden lily” feet, much subdued in size and distorted to coordinate with an aesthetic ideal.
Amputation of a phalanx or whole finger, normally as a kind of sacrifice or in illustration of grieving, was prevalent among North American Indians, Australian Aborigines, San and Khoekhoe, Nicobarese, Tongans, Fijians, and some groups in New Guinea, South America, and elsewhere. Amputation of the toes was less prevalent but happened in Fijian mourning.
The Modification of the skin has been very common in almost every cultural practice Tattoos were a form of art that was practiced by inserting the colors into the skin through needles or other such devices. It was an increased practice in the 20th century where the westerners grow this into a trend. In cicatrization or scarification, elevated scars (keloids) are offered by surgery or burning, normally in embellishing patterns. Scarification happened principally between darker-skinned peoples in much of Africa, among Australian Aborigines and the Maori of New Zealand, and in many Melanesian and New Guinean groups and was prepared both for artistic effect and to show status or ancestors. Another form of skin modification is the installation of articles below the skin—e.g., magical protective amulets injected beneath the skin by some communities of Myanmar.
Adjustment of the torso concentrates on the neck, trunk, and breasts. The Padaung ladies of Myanmar were noted for extending their necks—using coiled brass neckbands—to a range of about 15 inches (38 cm), driving down the collarbone, reducing the rib cage, and picking up around four thoracic vertebrae into the neck.
The appearance of the breasts has frequently been modified for aesthetic purposes by condensation (e.g., in the Caucasus, in 16th–17th century Spain) or expansion (e.g., among the Payaguá of Paraguay). Silicone gel implants to increase the breasts came into practice in the United States and different communities in the second half of the 20th century. Elimination of all or portion of the breast was known among the mythical Amazons, female fighters of ancient folklore; replacement of both nipples of both breasts was done for religious purposes by the Skoptsy, and amputation of the breasts was a penalty appointed under the Code of Hammurabi.
The form of the torso has also been subjected to alteration. Among certain African races (Efik, Ganda, Nyoro, and others), girls were separated at adolescence for many months and fattened with special diets. In some societies, as among the Saharawi of North Africa, this story recommenced into the 21st century. Women in Middle Eastern harems were also artificially expanded for artistic reasons.
The opposite influence, ultimate thinness, was common amongst the elite in Europe and its colonies from at least the 16th century onward; it was obtained utilizing caloric restriction and the application of tight-fitting corsets (see also dress). These methods could create permanent and harmful deformations of the rib cage and visceral organs, and their use seldom appeared in the wearer’s death. Corset use decreased in the 20th century, although the tasteful importance on thinness recapitulated in much of the developed world; some efforts to accomplish utmost thinness were connected to possibly life-threatening illnesses such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
Explaining the Most Common Kinds of Body Modifications
Body modification, as the name suggests, is used for altering or changing the parts of the body for non-medical reasons. Some of these kinds of Body modification are new but it has been in prevalence since time being. People used some techniques to practice Body modification for many religious and cultural reasons, besides others. Body modification now a day is used for personal reasons or as a way of expressing oneself. However, it has resulted in an extreme form of Body modification in which people engage in various practices that is hard to comprehend by the normal population.
Simply Body Modifications:
Ear piercing is possible the first established body modification that most young girls encounter. Many parents have their daughters’ ears penetrated while they are still in diapers. Although several girls do not have their ears pierced till they are older than that, practically every girl in American culture has their ears intruded at least once before they leave grade school. Although the original ear piercing method is simple, in the current events, ear piercing has begun to become more advanced with the preamble of lobe gauging.
Over the past several decades, ear piercing has increased. It began with teenage girls double-piercing their ears in the ‘80s. In the ‘90s it became much admired to pierce other body parts such as navels, lips, tongues, noses, lips, and genitalia.
Tattoos are not a different body art course, they have been in presence for eras. According to many magazines and studies that have been conducted on tattooing, there is proof of early Egyptians having tattoos. Their demand has popped in the past several years. Tattoos used to be observed as a representative of the counterculture, and it was generally thought that the only people who had tattoos were those who ignored conventional community. There is no longer such a morose disgrace connected with tattoos. It has become conventional in contemporary American culture and is now thought of as an art form by several people in today’s culture.
Extreme Body Modifications:
Scarification and branding
Traditionally, scarring or branding the skin was done by darker-skinned people for whom tattooing was not a great choice. Some aboriginal races in Australia and the Karo people of Ethiopia were also involved in the application. Over time, the system was chosen by several fraternal groups in college as a means to recognize members and foster camaraderie. A downside of this kind of body modification is that the beautiful result of the healed skin is largely dependant on genetics rather than the applying method. So, it is actually feasible that the final product of scarring and branding alteration does not look as great as the wearer had originally expected.
Implanting is solely the setting of a foreign object underneath the skin. This method has been studied for eras overseas but has only latterly become more widespread in the United States. Frequently, the elements that are embedded cover small silicone beads and ribs. These articles extrude from beneath the skin to produce an appreciative presentation. Breast and other body part implants can also descend into the body modification genre.
The 21st century is all about vampires and zombies and the people who wanted to take their vampire craze to the next level add this kind of tooth filling to their look. This process helps turn the surface of the teeth into a fang-like shape but the dentists suggest that it must be avoided. It will increase the chances of suffering from pain, cavities, and sensitivity in the teeth. It is also pretty expensive to reverse it and not just do it.
Tongue splitting is a means by which the tongue is split in moiety with a scalpel. It is then wired apart, and ultimately, the wound is seared by body modification experts. There are inherent vulnerabilities connected with tongue splitting, that can include infection, pain, bleeding, and a requirement for follow-up procedures. People who have this procedure done must then take special concern with their oral health habits.
In the current world’s weight-obsessed community, many people attempt to have a small waist. One way to accomplish this ultimate look is by consuming a tight corset to “train” the waist to be smaller. In more severe situations, some people opt to have their lower ribs shifted so the cinched-waist look can be accomplished.
Eye tattoos and piercings
Most Shocking Body Modifications from All Over The Globe
In recent years, the process of body modification has been widespread because of the celebrities who go for plastic surgeries as per the needs of the body. Thie body modification is in constant demand to look a certain way. This has inspired millions of fans too who now follow the footsteps of their favorite celebrities to get into the perfect proportions.
But the concept of body modification, in general, is not new to the whole world. For years, millions of people all over the world have modified their body parts fr various reasons using natural methods. And here are some of the most famous kinds of body modifications from different cultures and traditions all over the globe:
Mursi Lip Plating
Mursi lip plating is one of the most beloved outlines of body modification. Women of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia penetrate their lips in anticipation of their wedding. The lip plates get more prominent and heavier over time. According to their ideas, the spread lips and ear lobes present women as more beautiful.
Kayan Neck Stretching
In Myanmar, the Kayan women follow this dangerous form of body modification by using big brass rings in their necks so that they enhance to be elongated over time. In actuality, the collarbone gets forced down by the weight of the brass coils commencing to the lengthening of the neck.
This extreme idea of scaring one’s body is followed by the characters of Northeast Africa for interesting objects. These scars imply age, social status, and wealth. The scars are also thought to improve one’s sexual attraction. If people grasp this permanent scarring, it is understood that they will gain much honor in their community.
San Yak Tattoos
Getting a tattoo is one of the most exciting and preventative things these days, but the opinion of San Yak tattoos has been on this planetoid for thousands of years and over centuries. The tattoos are commonly Buddhist appeals, images, and spells that people from Thailand and Cambodia create on their bodies to keep off evil spirits.
The long-gone custom of skull binding was drilled in Iraq around 45,000 BC, and in Peru 9,000 years ago. The idea of this work begins during childhood and remains till the skull gets fully matured. It was done to promote it to expand vertically.
This one is not so problematic. The application of foot binding was prepared thousands of years ago in China but was outlawed in the 20th century for the negatives consequences it had. In this application, bandages were applied to join young girls’ feet to curl their toes. It was assumed that small feet imply wealth and social status.
Individuals Known for Extensive Body Modifications
Cybernetic biohacking- Kevin Warwick
- Kevin Warwick, a specialist nicknamed “Captain Cyborg” by The Register, in 1998 became the first person to explore with an RFID transmitter implant. He understood that up in 2002 by begetting a 100 electrode array embedded in his nervous system. A more simplistic array was embedded into the arm of Warwick’s wife, with the terminal aim of one day building a form of telepathy or compassion using the Internet to transmit the signal over long distances. This investigation occurred in the first straight and completely automated interaction between the nervous systems of two humans.
Piercing- Elaine Davidson
- Elaine Davidson is the “Most Pierced Woman” according to the Guinness World Records. On 9 August 2001 when she was tested by a Guinness judge she was determined to have 720 piercings. She has proceeded to continue to her piercings and as of 2019 reports have a sum of 1103 piercings on her body.
Tattooing- Lucky Diamond Rich
- Lucky Diamond Rich, contains the Guinness world record as “the world’s most tattooed person” as of 2006. He has endured the certified record since 2006, denoting 100 percent tattooed people in the world.