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Body mods versus Body Acceptance

October 1, 2012

I recently watched a video comparing body modification to liposuction or breast implants. The argument was that piercing your body or dying your hair pink was no different than modifying your body in different ways. The video took artistic expression and jumbled it up with body insecurity, leaving one giant heap of “you changed something, period.”

Wear makeup? Same thing as getting implants! Wait, what?

Look, the video made some great points. No one should be judged based on what they like to wear, the makeup they put on, the color they dye their hair, or the way they decorate their bodies (tattoos, piercings, whatever). In the same way, no one should be judged for getting breast implants. They should be informed, but they shouldn’t be judged.

She says that we shouldn’t try to fit into a social ideal and she’s totally right! She’s right that no one has the right to harass someone just for how they look. I’d actually love the video if she didn’t throw in weight loss and cosmetic surgery with purple highlights and makeup.

However, am I the only one who thinks this is a slippery slope? It’s a pretty fine line to say that liposuction is a type of body modification akin to a tattoo. Self-expression and self-hatred are not one and the same. Liposuction is about changing your body because you dislike it or because you find it’s size or shape to be unacceptable (nevermind that science shows the fat sucked out will return).

As someone who has dyed her hair every color of the rainbow, has a lip piercing, and is considering a tattoo, I see a vast difference here. Weight loss could certainly be argued as a type of body modification, but I think most of us would agree that body modifications should be done for the right reasons: self-expression, art, personal meaning, or because it pisses your parents off. In opposition, body modification like changing the size or shape of your body is done out of insecurity, self-loathing, social conformity, or trying to fit the ideal — the same things she’s arguing against.

It really shows the depth of fatphobia that liposuction would so carelessly be tossed in beside haircuts. I’m not saying one should be judged for choosing to get the procedure done — I’m totally on board with her argument there. What I’m saying is that Fat Acceptance, Body Acceptance, and body modification are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Just because you’re into body modifications doesn’t mean that you have to be fatphobic or unaccepting of a person’s body the way it is. It doesn’t mean you have to promote weight loss and breast implants or act as if they’re no different from your ear piercing. Because they are different. It isn’t the same and I find any argument that it is to be offensive. Under such a broad definition of body modification, anything can be considered a body mod, from liposuction to eating disorders to stomach stapling. So let’s keep the body hate out of the body mod community please.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Peaches permalink
    October 1, 2012 9:12 am

    I don’t have a witty comment because you already said it perfectly. Thank you.

  2. Fab@54 permalink
    October 1, 2012 9:29 am

    EXACTLY!

  3. fatology101 permalink
    October 1, 2012 1:55 pm

    Personally I modified my body and I would do it again if I had the money. I had a breast reduction. Not only for looks, as I looked deformed, in my opinion, but for comfort. I couldnt tie my shoes, put a bra on, had to wear 3 sizes bigger and my tops hung on me. I couldnt eat food without wearing it….I could go on. There are many reasons. So in 1994 I had a reduction. Guess what….Theeerrree Baaack. No all of it but a good portion of it. I hate it. They are in my way. And yes, I would look 20lbs lighter and wear a smaller size if I didnt have such big ones. By the way, would anyone like to get on the list for a transplant. I cant tell you how many thin friends thought it would be great to have big boobs. But they wouldnt like it as big as mine are. But that is me. I did it for me and I will do it for me again if I could. I also color my hair and wear make up. I would never go to Wal-mart dressed like the fools do who are on the net. Everyone has a certian amount of pride in themselves. Sometimes too much and sometimes not enough. Who is to say. I guess that is your point in the first place. Just as I dont want to be judged for large breasts, I dont want to be judged for having them cut down to a size I am comfortable with.

    • October 2, 2012 12:08 pm

      Breast reduction surgery can be an essential part to someone’s health and well being as large breasts can cause a number of issues including back issues. I do hope that you’ve gotten past feeling deformed… surgery should never be done out of a desire to conform to a socialized beauty ideal because everyone is beautiful and it’s just a plain bad idea. Very often the issue is an inner one and not an outer one. That being said, I agree that you should not be judged for your choice to have reduction surgery and I stated so in my post. Me, I have the opposite problem as my breasts are deemed by some as too small and I’m only just coming to a point that I can accept and love them as i do the rest of my body. Good luck to you

      • fatology101 permalink
        October 2, 2012 12:35 pm

        Thank you for your kind words. I didnt mean deformed in a bad way, I just ment in a silly way as my breast proceed me! Maybe I mean it is awkard. Changing our bodies, I agree, comes from something within us. I honestly have a hard time moving in some cases. I see it as having a replacement if I lost a leg, meaning a better quality of life. It is me and it isnt fun or comfortable. It is personal. I appreciate your thoughts on it, Marla

  4. Mulberry permalink
    October 1, 2012 4:34 pm

    It may be that the difference between major and minor modifications is the cost, not so much the reasons. A dab of lipstick costs very little; weight loss costs a lot of time and money and possibly sanity. I daresay if weight loss were easy, people wouldn’t be even half as obsessed with it. Self-expression and self-hatred are of course not the same, but they do get mixed together at times.
    Social conformity can be useful at times – it’s a competitive world we live in and giving in on some things may free us to take a stand on others.
    @fatology101 – I want to get on the transplant list, but I don’t need the whole deal; I’ll share the generous boobage with others. See, my doctor put me on a diuretic some months ago, so OF COURSE the first place that got sucked dry was the breasts, which weren’t exactly generously-sized to begin with. Now I have a couple of place-holders; a little stuffing would be nice. TMI, I know, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could average these kinds of things out?
    I color my hair, too. And since I expect to soon be free of having to wear big thick glasses all the time, I may even indulge in a little makeup. There’s something appealing about starting to fuss with appearance a bit at an age where others have long ago given up on you ever doing so.

    • hlkolaya permalink
      October 2, 2012 12:11 pm

      “weight loss costs a lot of time and money and possibly sanity. I daresay if weight loss were easy, people wouldn’t be even half as obsessed with it.”

      Not only is it not easy but, for the vast majority of people it is not possible or healthy.

      “but they do get mixed together at times.”

      Yes, they often do. It’s my belief that they shouldn’t, but sadly, shouldn’t doesn’t count.

  5. October 2, 2012 12:10 pm

    For the record, not all fat girls have big breasts…I don’t and I don’t consider myself lucky at all…men like big breasts and if I had bigger ones I might have a husband…instead, I’m doubly ugly to men because I’m fat and small breasted! Not saying bigger is better. My mother had huge breasts and wished they had reduction surgery when she was younger. So, to be honest, neither end of the spectrum is very much fun.

    • October 2, 2012 12:11 pm

      And before you criticize me for making a stupid vain comment, I’m just saying that breast size can play a part in how your are perceived in your attractiveness and fat women are already considered unattractive by a large majority of men.

    • hlkolaya permalink
      October 2, 2012 12:13 pm

      I just want to say that I’m fat and small breasted and I have a husband and a beautiful child. There are plenty of men who will find you attractive for you, and not because of the size of your hips or breasts.

    • fatology101 permalink
      October 2, 2012 12:26 pm

      Agreed!

  6. Lynn permalink
    October 2, 2012 1:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. As someone who has several piercings, a big tattoo and who is also a recovering bulimic/anorexic, I can say definitively that body modification (for me at least) does NOT stem from the self hatred that spurs EDs.

  7. October 9, 2012 11:12 am

    Nailed it! But I think any body mod can be done from a place of self-loathing. It doesn’t matter what the procedure, if you’re doing it because you dislike your current body, then it isn’t body positive.

    Peace,
    Shannon

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