The goal of this piece is to provide a few possible answers for several of the most common questions I, as a pierced person, am being asked. These are the most common questions directed toward me and many other modified people I’ve known. The reason I’ve chosen this as a topic is simply that these questions are generally asked with a condescending or hostile tone, and often make the person being queried somewhat uncomfortable.
It is important to keep in mind that appearance means little in the world we live in. Please remember that when you ask someone a question about their body modifications you may well be delving into their spiritual life. Remember that many of the most productive members of society have body modifications even if you can’t see them. Some of them are scars that were put there intentionally; others are piercings and tattoos hidden below the clothing. Before you form a stereotype of what sort of person gets a body modification to take into consideration that for every person you see with a visible modification, there are probably two more with hidden ones. And yes, those little studs the guy at the mall put in someone’s ear do count!
Why Do People Get Body Modifications
The most common question, in my experience, is in regards to the reasons why. There are several ways to word this question, and most of them are offensive. Of the ways to word this question, the most common I’ve heard is, “why did you do that to yourself.” This question is a clear sign that the person asking has no concept of body modification at all and should be the last method of phrasing the question that should enter your mind. Think for a moment about what this question indicates. You infer with this question that the modification was done with the purpose of causing damage. Often times the person getting a modification is doing it for themselves, not to themselves. Keep in mind that modifications are done for reasons as simple as thinking it’s trendy, or as complex as being a part of a ritual or religious experience.
Does Body Modifications Hurt?
“Did that hurt,” you ask. That’s just plain insulting. I’m constantly asked if my modifications hurt, and the answer is always the same. Of course, they did! If we’re talking about a piercing, I just had a sharpened piece of metal driven through my flesh. No matter how clean and methodical it was, the fact that it’s a sharp object being pushed through your body will never go away. And yes, folks, that hurts. And no, it doesn’t hurt less when you have more piercings. The only thing that might change is the perspective – that the pain seems lower when compared to other extreme body modifications. Tattoos hurt too. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t tickle. The best description I’ve ever heard of how a tattoo feels is to think of what it feels like to get a shot, then think of getting it between fifteen-hundred and two-thousand times per minute for around an hour and a half. Yes, folks, this hurts! Scarification hurts too. The procedure usually involves a scalpel and slicing.
Are Body Modifications a sin
The last question I want to mention is that of asking if the modified person is aware that they have performed a sin. Remember that not all people share the same belief system. I understand that quite a few religions stand against body modification, but there is an equal number of cultures and belief systems for which body modification is a fundamental tenet. Please don’t insult modified people by telling them they’ve sinned. If their religion considers their modifications to be a sin, they are almost certainly aware of it and have made their decision. And if it isn’t a part of their religion, you’re wasting your breath.
I hope I’ve enlightened you at least a little bit with this article. My main intention is to spare some of the modified people in the world from a few of these questions. I am in no way trying to tell you it’s wrong to be curious about these things, and I’m always happy to answer the questions as to why and what it felt like provided they’re worded appropriately. Be understanding of the person you’re talking to. Often times you’re asking about something very personal and just by using the wrong words or tone of voice you may inadvertently insult and downright hurt the person you’re talking to. Just because they look different doesn’t mean they don’t feel things the same way you do. Follow this advice, and I guarantee the next person you query on this subject will be quite appreciative!
This article, written by Marc Chadwick is a personal commentary on body piercings and the reactions that pierced people get because of their piercings. Marc is studying Computer Science at the University of Vermont. Marc also works in the computer industry, providing technical support, programming, web design, and other related services. Marc told us that with this type of ‘personal description,’ most people picture a tall, scrawny person with short hair and coke-bottle glasses. Not quite accurate in his case. Mark has a few unnatural features which put off many clients seeking his services, namely body piercings. Marc currently has eleven piercings: 4 holes in his left lobe (6ga, 10ga, 12ga, and 14ga), an industrial, a tragus, and an upper cartilage piercing. He also has tongue and nipple piercings Marc feels that people look down on him for having such visible modifications, even living in a very liberal Part of Vermont. He feels that people think he looks funny or repulsive, and notices faces of disgust, or even blatant gestures of disapproval at times. Marc feels that one of the reasons that he has been able to maintain success with his work is because of the professional reputation that he has established, which allows him to conduct many deals over less personal and more anonymous means of correspondence such as the telephone and email. Marc expresses that he is constantly disappointed by the reactions I get from people around here. It sickens me to think that it’s so acceptable to pierce a girl’s ears shortly after birth, but to pierce anything more than the lobe is terrible and to stretch those holes in the lobe at all is downright unthinkable. But he pierces himself because he enjoys it – it makes him feel good inside. As Marc states, “When I have a new piercing, I feel a little more complete; I feel as if I have not done something to myself, but for myself and It is these feelings and the above experiences which have prompted me to write the article I’ve submitted.” Well, we at Tribalectic thank you, Marc, for sharing your experiences with us, and we ask that others who would like their voice to be heard do the same.