There’s an App for that?

August 5, 2009


I love my iPhone; I do.  But if there’s an app for everything–as the ads claim–then why isn’t there an app for keeping track of one’s piercings? I think that would be great, considering it’s so hard to keep track of stuff like:

  • –When did I get it?
  • –Where?
  • –How much did it cost?
  • –How much did my jewelry cost?
  • –What gauge? Length? Diameter? Material? Manufacturer?

It is so hard to remember that stuff, and so very necessary when it comes to jewelry changes.  However, a check of the App Store for piercing shows a dismal lack of useful applications for us.

There’s one–iLocate–Body Piercing, which touts, “There is nothing like finding a new body piercing store just when you need it.”  Right.  It’s nothing but a “find it” application, showing you the names and addresses of the nearest tattoo shops.  Okay, it has maps, but it’s the same as Google Maps, Google, Where, or other similar applications.  Oh, and it costs $0.99.

The other things that popped up were things like, “Sexy Girls,” “Perfect Girls,” and “Hot Sport Girls.”  Hmm.  Not very useful for me.

A search for “tattoo” in the app store shows once again piercing is the poorer cousin in terms of body art. There’s “Tattoo Shop” which lets you add a tattoo to any photo in your gallery.  (“Ink yourself, your grandma, even your pets!”)  “Tattoo of the Day” which lets you download new tattoos being done at New York Adorned; several wallpaper and Japanese tattoo applications; and of course, the aforementioned, Hot Girls, Sexy Babes, et al.  Still, at least some of these are a bit cooler than the iLocate one for piercings.

Get your thinking caps on!

So, I say to all you geeky modified entrepreneurs out there–here’s a golden opportunity. Make an application for a gauge card, or a jewelry keeper, or a piercing of the day; or a healing progress chart.  How about a virtual piercing app, where you could try out different piercings on a photo of your body?


April 6, 2009

13. IMG_1050.JPG

Is it taboo? Or is it just . .

Body modification?

“Over the ages, people have squeezed, stretched, and even mutilated themselves for their cultural group.”  National Geographic’s series, “Taboo” is, I think, in it’s third season.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s definitely worth a look.  The series covers all sorts of extreme practices including, of course, body art.  Here is National Geographic’s main page on the show, and here’s a sample:

The latest episode, “Bizarre Bodies” highlights individuals who are extreme body art collectors and artists, including a man who is having the whites of his eyeballs tattooed (pictured above), a young girl getting horns in her forehead, and the art of extreme corsetry.  I was very interested in the scenes where the newly modded people showed their family members their new art.    The young girl with the horns showed her dad, who was very disapproving.  “You just hurt yourself again.”  The guy with the eye tattoing went home to show his wife and mother-in-law, who were interested, if a bit shell-shocked.   But even though their responses varied, what struck me was the sense of accomplishment, pride, and delight shared by the modded people themselves.  It’s this feeling that I think doesn’t translate well into words, and that is a major part of body modification for a lot of people, including me.  Even when their nearest and dearest Just.Don’t.Understand.


I like the show . . . and I don’t.  It’s valuable for appreciating the wide range of body modification practices world wide, like the neck rings of these Burmese tribal women, and the traditional moko (chin tattoo) of the Maori people of New Zealand.  It is valuable because it shows that widespread practices such as plastic surgery are body modification too.  However, the narration is done in a breathlessly hyperbolic style which gushes.  “And he’s doing it with [gush] no anesthetic! [heavyemphasis] but he insists he felt no discomfort at all!”  Nevertheless, it’s a very well-presented, informative series, that should be on every body art aficionado’s playlist.


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Mixed Media

March 11, 2009


If the media is the message–what message is this ad sending?

This ad appeared in a current bar magazine for lawyers, advertising asset search services for attorneys.  In case you can’t read the text off my crappy cell phone pic, it says:  “Jenny Smith seem worth suing.  Unless you know she’s also Jennifer Kaminski, the real estate heiress.”

Clearly, the first message is that anyone with tattoos is shiftless, no-good, penniless scum; not worth suing because no one with tattoos could have any money, right? I think it’s even half-way implied that she’s homeless and living in her car.

As far as I’m concerned, this is another instance of blatant stereotyping of modified people by the media.

In a way, I suppose the ad could also be interpreted to mean that not all tattooed people are, in fact, homeless bums because the woman isn’t actually judgment proof–she just looks like it.   Nevertheless, the advertisers appear to think that that no one, judging from her appearance alone, would believe she is a upstanding member of society.

Except those of us with body art, of course, because we know better!

Body piercing is not a competitive sport

February 4, 2009


Some musings . . .

How many piercings do you have? How big are your gauges?

There are some people who body modification as a competition.  They strive for more and more tattoos, more and more piercings.  A full body suit; the biggest stretched ears; the most piercings; the most outlandish mods. The I’m More Modified Than You people.

I don’t like the competition, but I’m not going to pass judgment.  How can I, because I truly understand how people can be motivated to do this.  I’m not even going to put up a pic of some of the people who have extensively modified themselves, who have 100 facial piercings, or full facial tattoos –they’re all over the net and frankly, some of them are little disturbing.

These people may only be competing with themselves, but their courage and passion for pushing the envelope have advanced the various arts of body modification enormously.  All of us who are part of the body modification community owe them, because it allows us to dream, to acknowledge the extremes, and translate them into our own body explorations.

Okay, this post started out as something completely different; but I would like to say:  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that “more” is better, and don’t measure your body modifications against someone else’s.  Get what’s right for you.

Thanks to Etohalic’s photostream at Flickr.

Resource Spotlight: BME

December 10, 2008

The Big Daddy


What can I say about BME?  BME is the biggest, baddest, and oldest body modification website around.  It is now a gigantic repository of stories, photos, knowledge, and bodymodcrackstuff. It’s an “enter at your own risk” site, but an essential one for everyone curious, fascinated, or even appalled at the things people do to their bodies in the name of art.

(Note: BME has a very strict policy on not using their images, so I’m really not supposed to post any pictures from there, including this t-shirt, but I hope this giant plug will make them forgive me! Mea Culpa, Rachel!)

BME is ancient in terms of internet sites–you can even tell by the awkward name of the site–it was an “ezine” — a new concept back in 1994 when it started by Shannon Larratt, a Canadian programmer and media and bodymod guru.  Eventually the publishers expanded into a team including Rachel Larratt (his now ex-wife) and many other contributors.  It was started as a way to document the growing passion for body modification practiced around the world, to provide a site where people post pictures and experiences about their tattoos, piercings, and other body art, and to provide a clearinghouse of information on body modification to debunk myths about it.  As far as I’m concerned, it’ s succeeded at all those things, and more.

Among the areas to explore:

BME Encyclopedia:

An alphabetical listing of every term you can think of relating to piercings, tattoos, scarification, suspension, and more extreme acts of self-improvement.  This started as a list of risks, but has evolved into a comprehensive glossary and now a wiki which can be added to as new terms and practices develop.

IAM BME: The Body Modification Community.

A “social networking” site way before that term existed, this is an area for individual modified member pages (i.e.,  “blogs”).  People post pictures of their own modifications, hook up with other, like minded individuals, talk on forums and generally get to know modified people from all over the globe.  Still going strong.

BME News:

Find out what’s happening! Formerly “ModBlog, this is the main page for news about body modification, whether reported on, or made by the community members themselves.  It’s the source for the news feed widgety thing to the right in my blog.

There’s just too much other stuff to highlight in detail here, among them a place to get your questions answered, a scholarship offering, a place for academics to post scholarly surveys, a place for erotic stories featuring body modification, a studio directory, event organization,  a retail outlet, and of course, amazing photos of every body modification you can think of, and a lot you can’t!

Words of warning: There is some seriously extreme content on BME.  It’s a big “free speech” and “free act” kind of place, giving people the opportunity to express themselves on the internet in ways that could turn your stomach.  Tattoos on every inch of skin (and I mean every inch); world-record number of piercings, tongue-splitting, stigmatophilia (my new favorite word!), implants, castration, subincision, sounding, CBT,  amputation . . .   You should proceed at your own risk, and I am not kidding.  I once saw Shannon Larratt give a video presentation on extreme modifications that made a room full of the most experienced body modification artists in the world blanche. You can find the general info and warnings page here, and I suggest you take it to heart.

Membership in BME has always been purchased through member participation, by submitting quality photos of modifications or written experiences.  I’ve always found the membership process/interface is a bit clunky and confusing, but worth it, and you always have the option to purchase membership outright.  The membership page is here.

BME has gone through some changes in the past year, with Shannon no longer at the helm, but it’s still the go-to site for anyone looking for information on body modification.  Us tattoed, pierced, and otherwise decorated people consider ourselves part of a worldwide community, and BME is a big reason for that.  Thanks, BME!

I think I’ll go buy that t-shirt now . . .