Why do the majority of people in older generations so despise body modification? Is it because they want to somehow ‘protect’ us youngens? Or maybe because they have been too long exposed to the cultural stigmas attached to body modification? In any case, negative feelings toward piercings and tattoos DO exist, despite the lack of any real reason for such attitudes. For example, I found an informational article on SchoolNurse.com that gives advice on how to prevent high school students from acquiring tattoos and piercings. Although the article claims to help nurses present information to students “in an objective way,” it is obviously anti-modification in its reference to “scare tactics” to deter students from modifying, and to the “pathological” nature of scarification.
In pondering on this subject this past weekend, I decided to talk to my mom about her feelings on body modification. Similar conversations have taken place in my family before, as I have had 18 piercings and 2 tattoos, but with much less structure and much more yelling. The difference this time was my focus on listening to my mom rather than telling her why she shouldn’t be so angry with me because of my appearance. Not that this single conversation has any direct correlation to the thoughts of all anti-mod adults, but it was still interesting to hear someone try to explain feelings that (I think) have no real justification. The only real reason my mom could come up with for why she hates my mods so much is that she's worried about my safety. So then why the feelings of anger and disgust rather than worry and concern? I am currently forbidden (at 20 years old) to get any more modifications, with the threat of having my college education ripped out from under me. So after the conversation with my mom, I could only attribute her negative feelings to a desire for her daughter to fit cultural norms. I don’t blame her for this, as it was not her fault that she was brought up by a family in which interracial dating was forbidden and non-conformists were seen as ‘freaks.’
My corset piercing! Not exactly a favorite of my parents, but certainly one of mine.
Okay, so enough rambling about my less-than-perfect relationship with my parents. The real issue I’m trying to get at is WHY it is so damn difficult to get a job with visible mods. I’ve heard things like “it scares the older customers” or “it’s not appropriate for the work environment,” both of which I do respect because it is ultimately the company’s decision as to who they are going to hire. On the other hand, however, companies can’t discriminate against a flamboyantly homosexual applicant just because the older customers may be turned off by his/her appearance, or against a black applicant because many of the customers of a certain company have been found to be racist. I realize we don’t live in a perfect world, but after all of this evolution, don’t you think we would have learned to judge people on their abilities rather than their appearances? I just don’t get it.