Body Modifications- Aspect 3
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Body Modifications- Aspect 3
Senior Research Project
Curated by Andrea LaMarca
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The Shoreline - Lake Shore High School - A New Form of Discrimination: Why Body Modification Does Not Reflect Your Character

The Shoreline - Lake Shore High School - A New Form of Discrimination: Why Body Modification Does Not Reflect Your Character | Body Modifications- Aspect 3 |
Lake Shore High School St. Clair Shores, MI - Every citizen of the United States is supposedly guaranteed freedom of expression due to the First Amendment; however when it comes to body art, freedom of expression is commonly overlooked, especially...
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 18, 2013 10:57 AM
Everyone should have the right to freedom of expression. Some choose to express their freedom by modifying their bodies, such as tattooing, piercing, scarring, etc. It is typical for a job to deny someone for having body mods, because they think of it as unprofessional. For example, someone with a simple lip piercing will be denied a job because of that simple piercing, or will be told to take it out. In today's society it should not matter what our appearance looks like, but how well we do our job.
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Never judge a book by its cover: a sociological examination of body art

Never judge a book by its cover: a sociological examination of body art | Body Modifications- Aspect 3 |
Never judge a book by its cover: a sociological examination of body art
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 17, 2013 5:58 PM
Body Modifications are becoming more and more common each and every day. At least one in every six adults have some sort of body modification, whether it be a tattoo or piercing. The media has played a big role in the increase of popularity of body modifications, with certain shows like Miami Ink, LA Ink, and certain episodes of Freakshow, etc. These shows, along with others, show what goes on in tattoos shops and how tattoos and such are performed.
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 17, 2013 6:21 PM
One thing that people tend to forget is that the work of body modifications is a cultural practice that is practiced all over the world. The methods of how body modifications are performed has changed over the course of time, but it will always remain as an interesting way for one to express themselves, for the simple fact that certain people can pull off certain piercings or other body mods, while other certain body mods keep cultures alive.
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 17, 2013 6:34 PM
People tend to believe that if someone does not possess any type of body modification, they are "normal" and if someone does possess some type of body modification, they are considered "edgy" or "a bad influence", which in this case is stereotypical. It is quite judgmental to decipher who is "normal" and who isn't, because who is one know what is "normal" and what is not "normal?
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Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 17, 2013 8:07 PM
In certain studies, it has been proved that people with body modifications are viewed differently than people without them. Some tend to think that people with body mods are less educated or less intellectual, weird, or like they are "bad" person. For example, people in the health care field tend to treat people with body mods in a "less caring manner".
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 17, 2013 8:21 PM
In past studies, it was said that people with body modifications were considered to be from poor families and/ or delinquents. Today studies show that younger people with body modifications can be very intellectual and quite caring individuals.
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 18, 2013 7:51 AM
A survey was conducted about whether human service professionals would hire people with body modifications. Some of the questions on the survey were "I would hire someone with visible tattoos", "I would hire someone with visible piercings", "People with body modifications are socially abnormal", "People with body modifications are mentally ill", "People with body modifications are more likely to commit crimes", etc. Surveyors were then told to rate from 1-5, one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agree. The results were that the surveyors either strongly agreed or strongly disagreed that people with body modifications were mentally ill, socially abnormal, gay/lesbian/bisexual, low income, or more likely to commit crimes. The Surveyors were also undecided as to whether or not they would hire someone with visible tattoos and/ or piercings.
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Teacher's Comments

Senior Research Project

Andrea LaMarca's insight:


Tami Yaklich's comment, March 27, 2013 8:31 AM
Tami Yaklich's comment, March 27, 2013 8:32 AM
I like the inclusion of surveys in sources. Maybe you could even conduct your own survey among PT students to get an idea of how PT students view individuals with body mods
Andrea LaMarca's comment, April 9, 2013 11:21 AM
That's what I plan on doing when I get to this aspect because I have a different idea for the attention grabber.
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Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 18, 2013 6:50 AM
In one study, a woman was ranked whether or not she was attractive with or without her tattoos showing. When her tattoos were showing, she was viewed more negatively. When her tattoos were covered, she was viewed more positively. This showed that people based their opinions off of one's appearance, without taking in mind that this was the same person with the same abilities.
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 18, 2013 6:58 AM
Something that people tend to forget also, is that some body modifications are part of certain religious cultures. We must keep in mind that there are certain cultures that practice body modifications for religious reasons. Therefore they should be treated equally along with our religious cultures and such.
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Interview Q's and A's

These are my Interview questions that I emailed to Seth Holmes.  He is a manager at a tattoo shop and also a tattooer and piercer himself.

Andrea LaMarca's insight:



1.  Do you think body modifications should be allowed in the workplace? Why?
2.  Why do you think body modifications are discriminated?
3.  Do you think people under the age of 18 should have body modifications?
4.  Do you believe piercings have a purpose or meaning, or just for show?  Why?
5.  Do you think more people should get body modifications? Why?
6.  Do you believe people push their limits on body mods?  What would you consider to be too much?
7.  Can it be dangerous to get certain body mods? How?
8.  How has your job (as a tattoo and or piercing artist) affected your life?  Do you like what you do?
9.  Have people criticized you for what you do?  If so, how do you handle the criticism?
10.  Would you ever do anything crazy like stretch your neck, lip, etc, like in other cultures? Why or Why not.





1. I don't know exactly where I stand on this issue. On one hand, if I ever had to get an office job, I would hope that they would care more about my ability to work and and focus less on outward appearance. On the other, every company needs to pander to the majority of the public, which are not openly tattooed/pierced for the most part, and some even look down on it. I understand uniformity in a corporate workplace and the need to look as inoffensive as possible. Who am I to say that they should hire me if I don't meet the standards of appearance? There are plenty of places that will hire modified people, so I don't worry too much about this question. People will do what they do. There's no changing the opinion of the working world without first changing the opinions of the consumers.






2. Body modifications are discriminated against because of the stigma that was attached to them years ago. When they were first discovered on the Polynesian tribes by Portuguese explorers they were considered to be markings of a lesser people. The tribal tattoos on these people were just one more thing to be looked down upon, much like the color of their skin and lack of civility in their culture.




More recently, (Within the last 60 years) tattoos have been regarded as "rebellious." They became popular with sailors who had visited Japan and brought back the tattoo style of the Yakuza (Japanese mafia that would cover their bodies in tattoos). Also, with bike gangs and ultimately prison inmates. 




Society discriminates tattoos based solely out of ignorance. We still consider the tattooed/pierced/modified to be affiliated with gangs or prison. In reality, it has become another medium for artists to explore. More and more every year, the industry is flooded with graduates of art schools that look for a career opportunity where they can openly express who they are and what they do best. They find this comfort in body modification.




3. Sorry, I don't really think it's a good idea to get a tattoo/piercing until you are considered to be an adult. My opinions are affirmed every day that I go to work. I see countless 16 or 17 year old teenagers come in to the shop and want tattoos or piercings that they are likely to regret as the years go by. When you're this young, and you have the "I just want what I want" attitude, a lot of important considerations usually go out the window. For example, I won't do a piercing or tattoo on an area that cannot be covered on a minor. They tend to ignore the fact that when they need a job, that lip piercing they wanted so badly at the time was a job killer. Also, when i was 16, I wanted some stupid tattoos. I  thank my mother every day for not letting me get a tattoo until I was 18, because I would've been covered in mistakes.




4. It depends. A piercing can mean a lot of things. There are piercings with a purpose of enhancing specific bodily sensations, some that may have an important meaning to the client, and some that are purely for the sake of having more jewelry. If it makes you feel more attractive/rebellious/sensual then go for it!




It also depends on the culture. Certain tribes around the globe have different piercings for beauty, coming of manhood, etc.




5. I only think people should get modified if they really want to. And if they do it should be safe, professional, and consensual. 




6. I don't really believe that there is a limit to push. I've seen everything form scarification (cutting shapes out the the flesh to create designs out of scars), suspension (hanging from multiple hooks placed through the skin/flesh), silicone implants, branding, and even genital mutilation. But, we also have to remember that body building, plastic surgery, and even nail polish/hair coloring are all types of body modification. As long as you feel good about the decision, then it doesn't matter what society may consider to be "too much." I don't think that you can push the limit on what you consider beauty. It's all an opinion, and in my opinion it's all art. Who am I to say what you can and can not do with your own body?




7. There's always a risk with modifying your body. Between allergic reactions, blood borne illnesses, infections, etc. it can be dangerous if your artist/piercer is not properly trained. I always recommend researching the shop, artist/piercer, and their portfolios before making the decision to have something done by them. Make sure they are up to date with Blood Borne Pathogens training/certification, and make sure that they are doing their work out of a reputable shop. For example, if you go to someone's house/kitchen/basement for a tattoo/piercing, you put yourself at a much greater risk. Especially if they are ignorant to the standards and practices of the industry. You wouldn't get surgery from a physician without a degree, right? So don't go to a home tattooer. It's an infection/disease waiting to happen.




8. My life is affected greatly everyday by my job. I love what I do and wouldn't change it for anything. Between the amazing artists I've met, the anticipation of getting to do my next tattoo in my apprenticeship, and making people feel better with themselves through piercing, it's an amazing industry. It engulfs me, and can be stressful at times, but when I see my client smile and tell me "I love it!" it's a feeling so incredible that I couldn't imagine having a job void of that.




9. Criticism comes with any job. If I were the CEO of a corporation I'd be seen as the greedy businessman. If I worked at McDonald's I'd be the tattooed low-life flipping burgers. I've come to realize that it doesn't matter what others think. I just dust my shoulders off and keep moving. Society's opinions are irrelevant. I'm happy with my job, and that's all that matters.




10. It depends on the culture you grow up in. I'm sure if I lived in a civilization that considered neck-stretching to be beautiful I would probably do it, and so would you. I don't find these things to be crazy, just different. There's no such thing as "crazy" or "unusual" to me. Just "different," and that's what makes this life so incredible

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Body Modifications

Body Modifications | Body Modifications- Aspect 3 |
Andrea LaMarca's comment, March 18, 2013 7:20 AM
Not only are body modifications discriminated in society, but they are also discriminated in the workplace. Employers tend to think that body modifications are "unprofessional", without taking into consideration the skills and abilities of someone who is modified. For example, visible tattoos are the main reason for denying job opportunities in the United States and Canada.