Body Modification: Is It Body Positive?
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?
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.
You're not ugly, you're just poor!— Unknown person with negative body image!
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.
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
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?
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!