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 . . .