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Body Modification: Is It Body Positive?

Updated on April 28, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Taking the time to understand one another is more important than rushing to find out more surface information about each other.

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As someone who has undergone mild body modification such as tattoos, piercings, and regularly takes part in appearance modification, I think about having a body positive image a lot. When I sit and look at celebrities in Hollywood, or at those who choose to undergo heavy surgery and other forms of modification, I often wonder if they can truly be body positive? How can you be body positive if all you do is modify your body away from its original form?

This is a question I sought to answer, and we are going to explore it together!

Defining Body Modification

What is body modification?

As defined by Wikipedia: "...the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance."

It is a rare occasion in which I agree with the literal definition being offered, but this is one of those occasions. However, I am going to expand on what is already being offered in my own words.

Body modification is any attempt to alter the human body away from its original form through deceptive, and otherwise unnatural means. This can be in the form of tattoos, piercings, surgery, makeup, implants, and filters such as Photoshop or Snapchat.

Now I'm not here to have some sort of, "you can't modify and also be body positive," message. No, that would be absolutely unfair, but I am going to discern the differences between healthy and unhealthy modification in an easy to understand way.

Source

You're not ugly, you're just poor!

— Unknown person with negative body image!

Unhealthy Modification

What is unhealthy body modification?

Unhealthy body modification is any sort of modification that is done to the degree it causes you more problems. Take for example someone who undergoes body modification to a severe degree, altering their appearance by way of surgery, implants, bone shavings... but still they fail to have a healthy and positive body image. They don't see themselves as beautiful no matter how much they undergo body modification, and they show worrying signs of body dysmorphia (BDD).

If body modification has become a detriment to the health of the individual, being used in lieu of proper psychiatric care, then this can never be body positive no matter how much they want to preach that it is leading them toward it. Don't let friends and family go down an unhealthy path of poor body image, know what to do in case your loved one is suffering from BDD.

Source

Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home who has found his people everywhere.

— Chaim Potok

Healthy Modification

What is healthy body modification?

This is a very easy question to answer, but unfortunately it is not easy to determine for yourself in real life interaction and goings-on. Healthy body modification is any sort of body modification undergone whilst also holding a body positive image of the self. It is any modification that does not seek to mask some sort of perceived flaws, or used in lieu of body positive mentalities in great excess.

It is on an individual basis that we must determine whether or not body modification is used in a positive way, whether or not the individual is truly being body positive. A tattoo, piercings, makeup, perhaps even some plastic surgery, these can all be healthy behaviors. Even in what some would call excess, if the person is truly happy with themselves and their choices, if they are moving in a body positive direction regardless of the actions they take, then their modification is healthy!

Be sure not to judge people for the way they are living, you may be doing them much more harm than good. Seek to understand them deeply and with an impartial mind, always be body positive and promote body positive thinking!

Do you feel body modification is body positive?

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Life Is Short so Make It Count

It cannot be expressed enough that life is fleeting, and we need to make every second in life count to the fullest extent possible. Today, right now, and forever more I want you to know that you are beautiful no matter how you feel or what anyone says, and I support your body modification if that is what you need to feel body positive for yourself. I ask that if you are suffering from BDD, if the modifications aren't helping, that you know that isn't a reflection on you and your appearance; there are other methods for finding that happy, healthy, body positive place in your own mind.

Make sure you are surrounding yourself only with those who promote your ongoing health and happiness. A body positive image is hard to come by when you are being figuratively choked by the smoke of people who aren't body positive about themselves, let alone toward your body. We can all be a source for health and well-being for one another!

Comments

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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      I appreciate your recognition, Lorna, it means a lot to me. Another important part of the process for me is the recognition others offer, and by offering it yourself it helps me more than you know.

      Thank you for all that you do!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      4 weeks ago

      Many people I see come from a similar background of abuse Kyler. It is reassuring that you recognize the reason behind this way of thinking and was motivated to write this really informative article. Unlike physical abuse (which is also so destructive) mental abuse leaves a scar that cannot be seen. You have the ability to write these articles from a first person point of view, based on your own experience and this takes courage.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Lorna, having grown up being bullied by my parents, friends, and strangers alike for being overweight, weak, or otherwise ugly really took its toll on my psyche. I've lost over thirty pounds in the last couple months, but all I see is myself getting fatter and weaker despite increasing my endurance, strength, and muscle content. I look in the mirror and see a disgusting, fat, piece of human trash. Yet, I know what I see can't be true and that was my motivation for this article.

      Not enough people understand the damage they can do to others with their words and opinions, especially as it concerns someone's body image.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      4 weeks ago

      I treat people who suffer with BDD and I am glad your article touched on this disorder as quite a few people have not actually heard of it, or the high rates of suicide that accompany it. You have given an excellent account of 'Body Modification with great advice Kyler and I applaud you for this.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Good point! I never thought of that. To me, they're just gross and really do make me want to puke. I can't look at them.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      I just think of what happens if you want in the military and have gauges. You either cut your lobes off, or you aren't joining. Imagine going through the bush, your giant ear hole gets caught on a branch and now you and your entire squad have to deal with your dumb, bleeding ear. Field treating that would be cutting that thing off, throwing some coagulant on it, and telling you to suck it up!

      I'll never agree with gauging, not in any form. I've seen people do it to their genitals.... Humans are weird.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Kyler, I like your stance on gauges. Frankly, when I see them, I have to look away or I'll puke. They are very disturbing to me.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      We have decided that if our son asks we are going to take him to get his ears pierced. If he takes it any farther, like getting gauges for example, he will not have our active support. As for tattoos before he is an adult, we have agreed that he has to design it himself, and wait for one year after designing it to see if he still wants it. We are trying a more, "independent choice," approach with our son.

      We figure that if we treat him more like an adult, limiting things only for safety and teaching common sense, then he will be more prepared for adult choices later in life.

      I like your style, Meg, and I think you made a very reasonable choice!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      4 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      Interesting discussion. I am not normally for any sort of body modification whether a tattoo or surgery, etc, not even pierced ears but I recognise that other people have the right to make that choice for themselves, once they are adults. I would not agree to my daughter getting her ears pierced when she was young but she went and did it anyway! I wasn't annoyed because for her, it was important. She has since let the ear piercing heal over. There are some people for whom a body modification can be VERY positive and I would be in favour of them doing that if it is their choice.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      I plan to live by the phrase, "Age with grace," because there is nothing worse than trying to hold on to youth in appearance and bungling it horribly. The key to youth and beauty is in the spirit!

      Thanks for reading and the compliments, Mitara!

    • MitaraN profile image

      Mitara N 

      4 weeks ago from South Africa

      Furthest i've gone on body modification is tattoos and piercing (not crazily all over, kept it to a delightful minimum)... the rest I would rather leave up to age than to attempt body modifications with everything you have seen gone wrong with celebrities (great example is the 2nd pic in your article) and thank your lucky stars you left yourself as is...

      Great article Kyler

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Paula, you never cease to make me laugh out loud. Just one of the reasons I love you, my friend!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      I agree Paula, there is a certain level of self-awareness and common sense that could tell us when enough is enough. However, I'm not going to be the one to point that out for people. If people want to stretch, stain, and modify their ears, nose, mouth, face, genitals... well then they can rest assured I'll be having no sexual feelings or attraction to them. They'll definitely be instilling some opinions within me, but unless they ask I'm better off keeping them to myself.

      As for the plastic surgery and females always wanting to change something, as a male I have wanted to change my own bits and pieces here and there. Despite being favorably endowed, there is always (in almost every guy's mind) a desire to push the limits on that. However, this falls back on the things in society that influence us, and for me that is Hollywood and the porn industry, not to mention every female resorting to penis jokes contrary to her own claims and experiences with said penis previously.

      I think a bit of kindness and understanding, letting everyone be who they are without unfair judgement, and even always bringing honesty and fairness to the table when it is requested are the solutions to body positive outcomes!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      4 weeks ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      "Body Modification"......Kyler, a very interesting topic, as well as one that brings up many questions. For example......if we're discussing "cosmetic surgery" anywhere on the body.....my personal question would be....."OMG! where the hell should we start?" Clearly, due to the exorbitant cost, the average middle class working stiff, can hardly afford the extent of "modification" that celebrities have from head to toe, repeatedly. & easily. Having said this, I actually cannot think of a single female I know, or have ever known, who at one time or another, has not made the statement......"I hate my nose.....or my chin, ...or my butt...etc etc."

      As with most everything about human nature, I find 90% of this attitude, rather funny. The vast majority of individuals would be wise to simply leave well-enough alone, IMHO.

      Tattoos & piercings? I would just say that I believe your normal, mentally stable person, instinctively KNOWS when "enough is enough & too much is too much." (We're not suppose to promote our own articles.....WHY....who the hell knows!?) However, my previous statement is best explained in an article I wrote about "insane fads."

      I enjoyed reading this Kyler....and our friend, "Sha," cracked me up as usual. Sha, honey.....let me brighten your spirits......If I had had a tattoo of a mountain, on my back, while in my twenties, it would NOW be a smoldering mound of lava, covering my butt! Now, THAT'S pitiful!!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      I agree. People say the outline hurts more. I disagree. The shading feels like the artist is scribbling back and forth over an open wound, which s/he is!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Hahhahahaa! Your candor is appreciated, and your humor even more so!

      It's all the shading, the shading is a real killer. The lines don't bother me, but once the shading goes on for about five minutes, everything after that is pure torture.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Anyone who says they don't hurt is lying! I could only sit one hour at a time for mine. When I got my first one, I had no idea I have so many nerves in my body. I had the artist stop for a minute where I promptly went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet with my face over the sink and proceeded to shit and throw up at the same time. After that I was fine!

      I'm trying to upload a photo of a photo so I can email to you. However, for some reason they're taking a long time to talk to my computer when I email them to myself.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Erin's favorite color is purple too! What a coincidence!

      It sounds like a really beautiful tattoo, Shauna! Personally, I fit the statistic for pain endurance vs tolerance as it concerns men and women. I would never want to have pics and vid taken of me getting a tattoo, I look and sound like a whiny baby, hahahaha!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Kyler, I just took a look at it. The rolling hills are actually at the base of a pond on my back. The entire scene is a purple mountain with blue skies above (no outline on the sky or the top of the mountain) with a hawk on the left shoulder blade, moon and star on the right shoulder blade (this was the first tattoo; the rest of the scene was built around it) and a unicorn reared up on his hind legs in the middle of my back. Below his hooves is a pond with grassy vegetation sprouting up here and there. That's where the rolling hills have formed themselves. Boo hoo....

      All of my tattoos have purple somewhere in them because it's my favorite color.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Hahahaha, that's hilarious, Shauna! I'd love to see pictures of your tattoo!

      My next tattoo is going to be a story sleeve, much like Hawaiians but less tribal, that I design myself. My girlfriend is going to get one specifically for Lucien, but I won't reveal her design publicly, it's gonna be a funny one.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Kyler, I've got tattoos, the largest of which takes up a little more than half my back. I was in my twenties when I had my artwork done. Of course, my decision to tattoo was a lifetime decision. The only thing I didn't consider was how my body would age. The mountain on my back now has a few rolling hills at the base. Hahahahaha!

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