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Scarification in progress

Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or phenotype.[1] It is often done for aesthetics, sexual enhancement, rites of passage, religious beliefs, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, for shock value, and as self-expression, among other reasons.[1][2] In its most broad definition it includes plastic surgery, socially acceptable decoration (e.g., common ear piercing in many societies), and religious rites of passage (e.g., circumcision in a number of cultures), as well as the modern primitive movement.

Explicit ornaments[edit]

Surgical augmentation[edit]

In contrast to the explicit ornaments, the following procedures are primarily not meant to be exposed per se, but rather function to augment another part of the body, like the skin in a subdermal implant.

Removal or split[edit]

Female genital cutting:

Male genital cutting:

Nipple cutting:

  • Nipple removal[10]
  • Nipple splitting[11]

Nullification involves the voluntary removal of body parts. Body parts that are commonly removed by those practicing body nullification are: penis, testicles, clitoris, labia and nipples. Sometimes people who desire a nullification may be diagnosed with body integrity identity disorder or apotemnophilia.[12]

Tongue cutting:

Applying long-term force[edit]

Body modifications occurring as the end result of long term activities or practices

  • Corsetry or tightlacing - binding of the waist and shaping of the torso
  • Cranial binding - modification of the shape of infants' heads, now extremely rare
  • Breast ironing - Pressing (sometimes with a heated object) the breasts of a pubescent female to prevent their growth.
  • Foot binding - compression of the feet of girls to modify them for aesthetic reasons
  • Anal stretching[14]
  • Jelqing - penis enlargement
  • Non-surgical elongation of organs by prolonged stretching using weights or spacing devices. Some cultural traditions prescribe for or encourage members of one sex (or both) to have one organ stretched till permanent re-dimensioning has occurred, such as:
    • The 'giraffe-like' stretched necks (sometimes also other organs) of women among the Burmese Kayan tribe, the result of wearing brass coils around them. This compresses the collarbone and upper ribs but is not medically dangerous. It is a myth that removing the rings will cause the neck to 'flop'; Padaung women remove them regularly for cleaning etc.
    • Stretched lip piercings - achieved by inserting ever larger plates, such as those made of clay used by some Amazonian tribes.
    • Labia elongation



Some sources of controversy stem from the notion of attempting to artificially beautify the natural form of the body, often leading to charges of disfigurement and mutilation. Extreme forms of body modification are frequently viewed as symptomatic of body dysmorphic disorder, other mental illnesses, or as an expression of unchecked vanity.[19] Unlicensed surgery performed outside of a medical environment can often be life-threatening, and is illegal in most countries and states.

"Disfigurement" and "mutilation" (regardless of any appreciation this always applies objectively whenever a bodily function is gravely diminished or lost) are terms used by opponents of body modification to describe certain types of modifications, especially non-consensual ones. Those terms are used fairly uncontroversially to describe the victims of torture, who have endured damage to ears, eyes, feet, genitalia, hands, noses, teeth, and/or tongues, including amputation, burning, flagellation, piercing, skinning, and wheeling[citation needed]. "Genital mutilation" is also used somewhat more controversially to describe certain kinds of socially proscribed modifications to the genitals, such as male circumcision, female circumcision, castration,[citation needed] and surgeries performed to conform the genitals of individuals with intersex conditions to those of typical males or females.[20]

Individuals known for extensive body modification[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_modification — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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6310 news items

University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 21:37:30 -0800

I have a two-and-a-half-foot-long tattoo running down my side, from my shoulder to below my hip. My skin is shaded in various pigments, but an earthy orange and striking cerulean dominate the scene — a koi fish swimming upstream through tangles of ...


Tue, 03 Feb 2015 06:46:00 -0800

When you were in high school, you probably doodled eyes on your notebooks in the margins, right? Now, imagine that instead of doodling those eyes, you are actually doodling on those eyes. With a tattoo machine. So, with needles. It's a real thing ...


Daily Mail
Wed, 04 Feb 2015 02:29:56 -0800

'He's an excellent son, husband and father, who has an extreme taste for body modification. 'Most of my customers know that body modification is the last step of body art, everyone knows very well what they want and as well as Henry, many of them are ...

Global Grind

Global Grind
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 08:41:05 -0800

And don't get me wrong, as a person with a few piercings and tattoos herself, I'm all for body modification, but this just doesn't seem like a great idea with the risk of inflammation, infection, and blindness that may come as a result, according to ...
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:30:00 -0800

Of course, it wasn't long after my second holes had healed that I was already planning my next body modification. By the time I was 18, I had eleven piercings and had also begun stretching my ears. I loved how each new earring adorned my face. I also ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 08:21:38 -0800

That could be what Kerry Katona and her husband George Kay were thinking as they took themselves to a tattoo parlour in Bournemouth, Dorset on Wednesday. The loved-up twosome - who tied the knot in September last year - visited the branch of South ...

Science Times

Science Times
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:33:45 -0800

Body modification is a good thing if you want to look perfect. But a Venezuelan man took his craving for perfection a little further to look like the Marvel super villain Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger. Henry Damon, 37, a married man ...

Jamaica Observer

Jamaica Observer
Wed, 04 Mar 2015 03:31:40 -0800

She said the more extreme the body modification activities a female is engaged in to change her physical appearance, the more you have to examine her underlying motives for doing so. “Feeling good about oneself has to come first from internal work, it ...

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