Keeping up with the modified Jones’

As many of us have noticed now, body modification has seen a huge boom in popularity over the last few years. It’s become so trendy that it’s hard to find anyone without some form of piercing or tattoo. Everyone from teenagers trying to rebel, to adults finally allowing themselves to indulge have tattoos. Everyone from soccer moms with microdermals to conservative Christian worshipers sporting several ear piercings, it’s nearly impossible to find someone who is NOT pierced or tattooed anymore.

I have mixed feelings about this new trendy surge in modification. On the good side, I’m glad to see others enjoying something I’ve always enjoyed, it makes conversations easier when other people can relate to what you’re talking about. By bringing this to a more public eye, we can better regulate health and safety laws since more people are paying attention to it and getting it done. The jewelry choices for various piercings have expanded exponentially, with materials so good they rival medical implants.

On the bad side, people are taking these potentially dangerous modifications flippantly, meaning they’re just wantonly going out and stabbing themselves with safety pins or allowing kitchen sink scratcher to tattoo them, just so they can feel trendy. They don’t fully understand the implications of what they’re doing to themselves and they could end up doing much more harm than good.

Another bad result is that more scratcher are coming out of the woodwork, thinking they can easily make lots of money by doing crappy tattoos. In my neighborhood mall, there was a very mediocre body jewelry store. They had a piercer on call that was just as mediocre, and last I knew they were looking for a tattooist as well. These people probably aren’t the “professionals” they claim to be. They might not be the worst artists out there, but not the best either. Stay away from getting pierced or tattooed in the mall. And by mall, I mean this store was next to the JCPenny, across the hall from the Sanrio store, the store next to them was the ultimate club wear store, and the floor below opened up in a gigantic kid’s play area.

Now, I have seen amazing artists located in strip malls. I think this is a bit different. There’s only so much that can be said for location, and the idea of strip malls is that each building is just a building, it’s up to whoever buys or rents the individual space to do what they want with it. Being in a strip mall and working in the mall are two different things.

I asked several friends a few questions about how they feel about this issue. Here are their answers, and I’d love for everyone to answer the questions for themselves in the comments. Let me know how you all feel about this.

Cheryl, 20, Canada:
~Why do you think it’s so popular right now? What’s made it trendy? I think that it’s so popular right now because people always try to push the envelope with how they look. It started out with navel piercings on pop stars, then nose piercings, then tongue piercings, then tattoos on pop stars, it’s so commonplace now that if you only have earlobe piercings you are in the minority. Celebrities, and as much as I hate to say it, the whole myspace scene fad have really made body mods a trendy thing to have.

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? I think that it will stick around for a while. Young teens see older teens and young adults with piercings, they look up to them, realize that it’s possible to adorn your body that way and go ahead. It’s not going anywhere.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? I don’t really care that it’s becoming popular as long as people realize that getting modded is not something to be taken lightly. Do your research, don’t settle for a crappy shop because you really want something done. Do not rely on what your piercer says and ONLY what your piercer says. I think it’s the careless people that act like piercings can be done anywhere and they are no big deal is which makes me upset that it’s so popular. Aside from them though, I love that the modded community is growing!

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? Yes. I found things that I liked through bme around 6 years ago, looked at multiple pictures, read stories, found out what would look good on my face. It wasn’t as mainstream as it is now, but it was starting to become rather popular at that point.

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? It’s good and bad. Good because they are becoming more accepted in the world, especially in the workplace. Bad because people are often misinformed about proper procedures and care so they go about obtaining mods the wrong way. And in the age of social media where people are posting videos and pictures of their homedone mods, it lets broke teenagers think that it’s as easy as running a safety pin through the flame of a lighter and stabbing away.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? Nope. Everyone wears things differently. Two people walk into the room wearing the same shirt, but they both wear it differently, same thing goes for body mods. I don’t care if my best friend has a piercing I want, if I want it I’ll be getting it regardless of who around me as it.

Caitlin, 23, from Canada:
~Why do you think it’s so popular right now? What’s made it trendy? It’s a couple things I think that have made it so popular as of late. The “scene” and “hardcore” kids, I think, made it more of a popular thing. As soon as that “movement” came about in my area, I found more and more people sporting different piercings. Mind you… they weren’t pleasant to look at a good deal of the time, but still, it erupted.

The Music industry definitely brought it about more. People look up to their idols, so they will eventually start to think “Hey, I like that piercing, I think I should get it done as well!”. Of course, Younger kids are more influenced by what they see; unfortunately they’ll do all this to themselves and either grow out of it later on or regret the actions they took.

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? Being as public as it is, it will be a trend for a LONG while, I think. It’s slowly becoming accepted into some workplaces/industries, but I do think it will end up (not in the near future, but a couple years down the road) to slowly fade off and become a very subtle thing, or “underground” as some people like to refer to it as.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? I’m okay with it, honestly. It’s allowing my parents and the public to grow used to it in some sort of way, which helps me in the long run. My parents, personally, wont be AS harsh on it considering my older siblings have piercings and tattoo’s themselves (not to well done though). At least with it being in the public eye, I can try and educate my parents on everything, and prove to them I know what I’m doing and that I’ll get REAL art pieces done rather than Tribal splotches.

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? If I had never learned about any of it (the wrong way) in highschool, I don’t think I’d have as many piercings as I do this day. I would probably only have my two earlobe piercings. I probably would never have even THOUGHT of stretching my ears, let alone getting my lip or septum pierced.

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? Good: acceptance to a certain degree among workplaces and adults/parents. Bad: People doing it the wrong way, or not doing it safely.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? It really has. No piercing is unique anymore, and everyone has a flash tribal dragon on their ankles and shoulder-blades. Other people are ripping off others legit Art pieces, which they’ve then gotten tattooed on themselves.

Everyone wants to have the right to say “I HAVE A TATTOO BITCHES” … and just do it for the sake of doing it.

Hannah, 21, US:
~Why do you think it’s so popular right now? What’s made it trendy? I think people are becoming more open-minded about self expression, especially in fashion and style. Also, the generation that looks down on modifications is aging, and will eventually die out, and the newer generations that are more open will have a stronger influence on future generations. However, some people in the younger crowd seem to get modified to either piss someone (namely, parents) off, or to try to be different, and as soon as one popular kid gets something, the ball starts rolling.

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? I think it will eventually pass as a trend, but I have a feeling it’ll be around for a while. As for serious modders, it will always be around.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? Part of me is happy that it’s so popular because I don’t get nearly the amount of flack that I would have a few years ago. I am able to wear my septum piercing down at my daycare job without parents looking at me in disgust, and the children are curious and open to my mods. On the other hand, I don’t like being lumped with those who give modification a bad name.

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? I absolutely would still have all of my mods. I am fascinated by it, and I have a feeling I’ll be one of those old ladies with neon hair, tattooed and pierced all over.

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? More acceptance. More idiots who do it badly.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? There is no such thing as being completely unique in this day and age. Trends are recycling. I don’t do any modification for the sole purpose of being “unique.” I do what I do because it makes me happy.

Jenifer, age 21, US:
~Why do you think it’s so popular right now? What’s made it trendy?
People in general, including employers and corporations, have become more open to the idea of people having body mods. they have become more open to the idea that not everyone who has body mods is a bad person. For example, I’m a very open minded person and very outgoing, and even though i’m covered in tattoos and piercings, my employer doesn’t judge me because of my body mods. In general society, people are using it as a way to make themselves more unique.

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? I personally think that it will stick around, like I said before, employers and corporations are more accepting of body mods then they were say 10 to 20 years ago. People are becoming less judgmental about body mods in general and it’s slowly starting to become a bigger trend once as people do their research.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? I’m truthfully okay with it. At first I was a total newbie when it came to piercings and tattoos, and after a while of research and asking lots of questions, I’ve become more knowledgeable about everything and i feel the need to share said knowledge with the up and coming body modders.

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? I personally didn’t know how popular it was when I first started getting into piercings and tattoos, but over the years, I have seen the trend grow, and I never regret anything that I got done over the past years.

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? the more popular it gets, the more people become more accepting of it. the bad thing about it is that people sometimes don’t do their research on body mods and they end up making bad decisions that end up with very bad results.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? I personally don’t, my tattoos are all custom. they all hold meaning and they are unique in their own way. Even though my piercings are more common among the body mod community, they still make me unique in my own way. No matter how many people have piercings or tattoos, they are still unique in their own ways.

Flynn, 24, Australia:
I can only assume that it’s the overall mainstreaming of alternative culture that has really brought body mods into the limelight. I’m not sure what they underlying cause of that mainstreaming is, though. Goths and punks growing up, and becoming more mainstream themselves, blurring the boundaries? The internet?

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? I hope it sticks around, but only if that means awareness of it builds. ;p I don’t have a clue if it will or won’t though.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? Pretty good; it makes it more acceptable, and it makes it more appreciated. It removes some of the stigma — someone who may have before gone “eeew, tattoo, that’s gross, and that person must be a drug dealer!” can now appreciate the art rather than automatically recoiling. For example.

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? Probably not, because I probably wouldn’t have known where to start to get the info I needed. For instance, I always loved the look of oral piercings in high school, but thought they were unsafe and unhygienic… until a friend directed me to the info I needed. Then I got better at using the internet, and the internet got bigger, and I got far more informed. ;p

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? Good: being modified is more acceptable, there are more pretty modified people around. Bad: more kids doing fucking stupid things to their bodies because they don’t appreciate the gravity of a modification.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? I’m sure it has, but this is not something that bothers me. I like seeing good, healthy modifications of any sort on other people, the more the merrier, and I myself don’t feel the need to be special or unique through modification.

Kayleigh-Ann, 25, UK:
~Why do you think it’s so popular right now? What’s made it trendy? Personally I think it’s down to show like LA Ink, Miami Ink and London Ink. more singers/bands are showing off their tattoos and piercings and it’s making it “cool” to get them.

~Do you think it’s a passing trend, or will it stick around for a while? I hope it will stick around, because as it’s becoming more popular to get tattoos and piercings it means that work places are having to become more tolerant and they can’t just NOT hire people who are modified in an obvious way.

~How do you feel about it becoming so popular? I think it’s pretty awesome that finally society is moving fully into the 21st century with regards to body modification – people have no choice but to become more tolerant. The only downside is all the scene kids doing it simply because it’s cool.

~If it weren’t so popular, would you still have done all the things you have? Hell yes! My mods are part of who I am! I define my modifications, not the other way around.

~What’s good about it being popular? What’s bad? Well as good as it is that it’s not as taboo to get tattooed and pierced, the down side is there are a lot of people cashing in on the trend and are setting up as “artists” when in fact they are just ink slingers and very bad piercers with no training and bad hygiene standards. The other side is that teens are piercing and tattooing themselves to save money – because to get a decent tattoo or a well done piercing is not cheap.

~Do you feel it’s taken away some of the impact, some of the “uniqueness” about being modified? Yes and no. yes because now it’s becoming the norm to see people who are modified and no because there’s always a few who will go that step further and still shock with their modifications; which is pretty damned awesome.

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