Adriana Totino – Post 2
Ignorance: The Greatest Injustice
“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg, poet
Body modification is a form of self-expression and can be done in a multitude of ways. It is an art that will constantly adapt and change with the times, just as it always has, but will likely never fade into extinction. Some of these practices may seem disturbing or cruel, but it is safe to assume that everyone has a habit or behavior that is unfavorable to others. Acceptable activities and views on certain modifications also vary across cultures. It is easy to judge another culture’s rituals and deem them to be a mentally ill community rather than educate oneself on the practice and its meaning. Although it is difficult for me to sympathize with many of the practices that I have been exposed to, I respect the activities that encourage social unity and self-worth.
I may not choose to suspend, but I respect those that do as a way of personal expression. Fakir’s happiest moments are experienced while suspending and I imagine that it is a revitalizing feeling. Some have to chase happiness, but if an activity, such as suspending, will help reach ecstasy then there is no reason to not engage. Growing up I could not wait to pierce my ears, and again, and again. Even today I get an adrenaline rush and a burst of motivation when I think of a future piercing or tattoo.
My ears were pierced before I could talk to show the world that I was a female, according to my mother’s logic. In her eyes, and mine as well, pierced ears did tastefully can portray a classy and put-together woman. As I grew into my teen years, I continued to pierce my ears until I had three piercing in each lobe and one in my cartilage. I temporarily had an additional cartilage piercing, but had to choose between the future functionality of my ear and the piercing. It should be obvious which I chose. For about 2 years, I have been debating expanding my earring collection. I am comfortable with myself and feel that I express myself in positive ways that accurately reflect my personality. I have grown into a stage where I fear change, especially within myself. As I reflect, I find that during my ear piercing years I was more likely to take risks and had a carefree attitude. It is difficult to determine whether this relationship was merely a correlation or complete causation.
Judgments and conclusions cannot be made without the exposure to a formal education on the topic. For instance, that is one reason why I am enrolled in this class. I am aware that there are countless practices of body modification throughout the world, but I do not know extensive details regarding their origin or cultural significance. When skimming the book passed around during discussion, I was intrigued by the images I saw. Although I needed to turn some of the pages rather quickly, I was immediately interested in why these people are doing this and what makes the behavior acceptable in their culture.
Although the course has just begun, I have already built on a concept to take away at the conclusion of the semester. No behavior will be accepted or adopted by everyone and more people than not will be very close-minded and opinionated. By engaging myself in a welcoming environment to discuss self-expression and modification as a basis of beauty and culture, I hope to find the skill set needed to erase the ignorance from my peers staring at the man with a full sleeve tattoo and eyebrow piercings walking by.