What is it?

The term body modification has been defined as "a generic term for a variety of techniques aimed at changing one or more parts of the body from the natural state into a consciously designed state."(1)

As you might imagine, there are a plethora of ways to change or modify the body, and there is a broad spectrum of changes people undergo. Modifications range from minor to severe, from the socially acceptable to what many in mainstream society would consider "crazy or extreme."

This definition could encompass peopleís hairstyles, use of makeup, clothing etc. but those topics are beyond the scope of this research. Instead we will contemplate more permanent/semi-permanent changes to the body itself. This site will introduce several types of body modifications and will go in depth about the two most popular--tattooing and piercing. The links provided can guide you to an abundance of information on body modifications.

Before we go further, ask yourself:
Have I modified my body? If so, what did you do? Why?

Perhaps you havenít modified your body, or have you? Have you ever exercised, dieted or lifted weights? Those adjustments are pervasive, and usually socially accepted forms of body modification in America.

What about tattoos or piercings? These age old methods of expression are now becoming more accepted than ever before in modern life, although they may still carry a stigma.

Cosmetic surgery is another type of body modification becoming more pervasive. Enhancing breasts, chiseling noses, removing fat or stretching wrinkles have become more frequent as Americans strive toward the insatiable quest for beauty and youth.

Indeed, many types of body modifications exist. Some folks change their sex through hormones or surgery, others may brand or scar themselves. Mutilation, or "body play" as some call it, amputation and castration are far less frequent but also within this realm of body modification.

A variety of motivations cause people to modify their bodies. Many scholars and students have studied this phenomenon to better understand why people choose to alter their bodies. The relationship of the body to the soul is one that stimulates a great deal of curiosity, wonder and bewilderment.

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