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My Body Is A Canvass Essay

1350 words - 6 pages

To live in America, a person is constantly pressured to be a unique individual but still suppressed to fit into modern society. In response to this, many people have turned to the practice of body modification, which includes, but is not limited to, body piercings, scarification, and tattoos. There are many fears and myths about these modifications that cause the general public to hate, or even fear body art. In many circles, tattoos or piercings cause an individual to be considered trashy or of low intelligence. However, tattoos and body piercings are ways for individuals to express their chosen identity, show religious preference, and can actually be done quite safely if performed in the ...view middle of the document...

The practice of body modification connects to religious beliefs in many circumstances as well, dating back all the way to Ancient Egypt in 2686 B.C. (Lloyd 22). An Egyptian priestess, Amunet, was found to have lines tattooed across her arms and legs, as well as an intricate design on her stomach. These pictures “were symbols of fertility and rejuvenation” (Lloyd 22-23). Some reasons for religious tattoos in history have been to join spiritually with a chosen deity, provide a tribute to a God/Goddess, or to provide protection in the form of a permanent amulet. Some cultures even believe that modification to the flesh could be used as “a sort of passport to the world after death” (Lloyd 23). In more modern times, religious tattoos or piercings are used for different tactics. Conversion to faith is a popular motivation, as a picture of praying hands or a cross might spark interest with a nonbeliever and provide a topic of conversation. It is also a way to express a person’s love of God or show that he/she has chosen to follow that deity. Compared to the eastern hemisphere “Christian tattoos are relatively new in the West” (Keating 30). This allows for more modern art to be incorporated into popular body modification designs, as “young Catholics [have] found that the symbols of Catholicism—crosses, icons, rosaries, paintings and medals—easily translate into tattoo art” (Keating 30) People of today may not get a tattoo dedicated to a God that is fabled to help them conceive a child, but it is becoming common to use body modification in a form to worship their own God.
The most controversial problem with tattoos, piercings, or other body alterations is the topic of safety. Can these modifications be done with minimal risk? What are the components that might make tattoos or piercings dangerous? Can they be avoided? These are all great questions to consider, as the Alliance of Professional Tattooists did. The APT is a group that has researched the benefits and drawbacks of tattoos, and they strive to increase awareness of safety hazards and preventative measures to ensure healthy, harmless tattoos (Alliance of Professional Tattooists). Many people worry about contracting blood borne diseases such as AIDS or HIV in the process of getting a tattoo. Although theoretically it is possible, tattooing has not been directly connected to any case of HIV or AIDS in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta stated in 2008 that not a single case of HIV had been contracted through tattooing ever in the USA. Outside of the USA, the tattooed people inflicted with the diseases also “fit the profile of a ‘high risk’ lifestyle” (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Other infections like Hepatitis are more common, but the APT has made safety procedures to avoid it. “Artists autoclave their single-service equipment, use individual portions of ink and lubricant, dispose of used sharps according to OSHA[Occupational Safety and Health Administration] guidelines, use...

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