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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.
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295 news items

Medical Daily

Medical Daily
Sat, 23 Aug 2014 12:31:42 -0700

Sometime in their teen years, millions of kids around the world go through a period of rebellion in which many of them get piercings, tattoos, or other forms of body modification. While groups of girls are getting their tongues or belly buttons pierced ...
NW Evening Mail
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:12:53 -0700

Should it be illegal to refuse to employ someone because of their tattoos or piercings? Yes (30%). No (70%). Total Vote Count 122. Have your say. You would employ a person who would encourage customers to do business with you company , not to put ...


Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

A case where body modification, and its perverse underground element, takes center stage. The Soska Sisters, indie icons, take the story of a sad medical student (Katherine Isabelle) unable to pay her high tuition costs, and creates a subversive ...


Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:18:45 -0700

Samppa Von Cyborg changes people's bodies for a living. The Finnish body modification artist can split your tongue in two, remove your nipples, implant stuff under your skin, or do just about anything you can think of to make your various limbs and ...
UI The Daily Iowan
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 01:26:15 -0700

In this two part series, The Daily Iowan explores the blossoming tattoo and piercing industry in the Iowa City area, from its cleaned-up shops and artists to body modification trends amongst college-age clients. A “stupid little flower” served as Megan ...
Herald Sun
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 22:05:11 -0700

“I started at 13 years of age with stretching my lone and the first body modification was a cutting on my back when I was 18,” he said in a recent interview. Miggler has undergone 25 piercings of all shapes and sizes, He also has a multitude of tattoos.

Science Fiction

Science Fiction
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:07:30 -0700

The movie about a podcaster being turned into a walrus by a madman seems to be every bit as weird as the premise makes it sound, but it looks like we're going to get a bit more than straight up 'Human Centipde'-esque body modification horror flick, ...
MSU State News
Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:30:00 -0700

However, as the norm evolves to making a person's body into a personal and sentimental work of art and the younger the hiring staff of a company is, the less of an issue body modification is, said Jarvis. UZoom Media CEO Anne Craft said she does not ...

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