Body modification (or body alteration) is the permanent or semi-permanent deliberate altering of the human body for non-medical reasons, such as spiritual or aesthetic. It can range from the socially acceptable decoration (e.g., pierced ears on women in many societies), to body resizing through careful eating and exercise, to religiously mandated (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures) to the rebellious (e.g., nostril piercings in punk subculture).
A fetishist may have all sorts of body modifications, especially if they have a specific fetish that concentrates on, or requires, body modification. In BDSM, it is common for a Dominant to have socially-norm body modifications (e.g. tatoos in the UK) but less usual body modification is usually a topic for a submissive, decreed by the Dominant.
One controversial form of body modification is the attempt to resemble another race, such as Asians having their epicanthic folds modified to resemble non-Asian eyes or skin lightened with dyes, suntanning, increase in lips, or buttocks size by Caucasians, or African-Americans straightening their hair or getting a nose job.
"Disfigurement" and "mutilation" are terms used by opponents of body modification to describe certain types of modifications, especially non-consensual ones, caused perhaps through torture, battle or accident. "Genital mutilation" is also used somewhat more controversially to describe certain kinds of socially prescribed modifications to the genitals, such as circumcision, female circumcision, and castration. Those opposed to the practice of sexual reassignment surgery may consider it genital mutilation, done for psychological reasons; this is universally rejected by those in favour of it, who more often consider the reasons medical.
Body art is art made on, or consisting of, the human body and might include some forms of body modification.
Some types of body modification
"Mainstream" surgical body modification
"Extreme" surgical body modification
Sexual surgical body modification
Non-surgical modification of the body
- On Line Encyclopedia of Body Modification. Warning : Adults only. Very Graphic
- METAFlesh Modification Experience Information Area
- Wikipedia:Sex reassignment surgery on Wikipedia
- Remake, Remodel: Spike Magazine article about body modification
- Chinese Symbol Tattoos/Kanji Tattoo Design
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