Sunday, March 26, 2006

Prescription for piercings?

In undertaking a journey into my own head to discover what it is about body modification that attracts me like a fly to honey, I have come to realize that my affinity toward the bodily arts seems to result from a variety of specific aspects of my personality. For example, as I mentioned in my last post, I want to modify the meaning of modification. I think that this reflects my desire to stand out in life, and also my attraction to positions of leadership. Accepting that these features of my personality were linked to my obsession wasn’t very difficult, but upon continuing the exploration of my mind, I began to become uncomfortable. Sometimes we learn things about ourselves that we never really wanted to know…
In making the transition from inside looking out to outside looking in on myself, my yet undiscovered self, the barrier of denial seemed at first to be insurmountable. I was afraid of finding out over the course of my self-analysis that my passion for modification stems from a psychological disorder or something. In order to overcome this impediment and begin to find out what truly makes me tick, I found that it helped to let my own guard down first. I allowed myself to be vulnerable, and by so doing, came to some unpleasant but necessary conclusions.
One discovery in this process was particularly difficult for me to come to terms with. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I have control issues. I like to have complete control over my own activities, and more importantly over my eating habits and ultimately the shape of my body. I have developed a serious obsession with my body shape over the past 4 years, and a growing interest in body modification over the past 2 years. So is it possible that these two very central aspects of my life are somehow related? I believe that they are, in that they both stem from my need for control in life and over my own body.
Body modification provides the ability to instantly and often permanently alter the body. Perhaps this quality gives modding the same effect as would some express diet that lasts forever and gives ultimate control over the shape of my body. If this is the case, then it is no wonder that body modification has so enraptured me in the past few years of my life that correlate with my eating issues.
To explore this possible correlation between body modification and eating disorders, I did a little internet scouring. In so doing, I found some really interesting theories on body modification in a surprising place. In the “Lifestyles” section of this fetish website, the author takes body modification (mainly piercing) and dissects it to answer such seemingly basic questions as “Who gets pierced?” and “WHY?” Among a plethora of other reasons why people get pierced, the author mentions under the “Self Presentation and Identification” section that body modification can provide “an enormous increase in self-confidence.” Additionally, the author transfers the self-confidence factor to eating disorders, claiming that modification “often creates a feeling of being more ‘at home’ in one’s own body and regarding it as beautiful, whatever public opinion may be.” In response to this theory, I can say that body modification has certainly increased my self-confidence, but not to the point of resolving my body issues. I wish! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to emerge from the psychiatrist with a prescription for piercings?
In any case, I still believe that there are many facets of my life that have contributed to my passion for body modification. I can sense the correlations, but it’s so incredibly hard to determine which aspect of body modification is related to which aspect of each personality trait. Stay tuned as my search for the truth continues. Now get some rest, take 2 piercings, and visit my site in the morning ☺

5 comments:

Allison said...

Yes. You make a point that is truly interesting that I had never thought of before. Personally, my interest in body modification came before an eating disorder and survived even after it. It all seems to go hand in hand.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you're framing bodmod as inherently different from more socially accepted forms of actual body modification, like diet change and exercise and various forms of plastic surgery. yet it sounds like the motivation for each set of practices are the same, even if the ideals that each reaches for are very different. the two are dichotomized in the ideologies and the discourses surrounding them, but as a researcher, i'm sure you can see the similarities in the movitations behind the different practices (which you touch on here, although you don't use them to actually argue for similarities between 'alternative bodmod' and 'socially accepted modification of the body').

maybe you can address this issue in another post?

arboon! said...

backtrack: hindus arent the only ones that celebrates their religious festival with 'piercings'.

check out http://www.bmezine.com/culture/ritual001.html for more...

Anonymous said...

I think you've got it in one dude. Personally, what you're saying about control over the body rings true, and I know I'm not alone in this. As a student I feel I'm taking my future in hand, but much of my own mental survival involves accepting my lack of control over other, larger things. The way I present myself feels like the one thing I can control, and modification is a big part of that. One unsettling thing is the way this echoes the reasons given by self-harmers. I know my parents etc are now positive about of my mods, but when I was a severely depressed teenager they regarded mods very negatively - the same seems to happen with teenagers not being allowed piercings at school - the socially inept loner is clamped down on, while the 'well-adjusted' student is seen as an indiviual. Sorry for rambling, this stuff interests me :)

Tanya/Tikay/Tati said...

don't be sorry for rambling, anonymous...you make a great point here about the relationship between eating disorders and self-harm.