Sunday, December 14, 2008

Body modification

Friday, two of my coworkers were talking about how awful it was that their children wanted body piercings. It just wasn't "right" to have a hole in your eyebrow or nose or belly button.

It's an attitude I find odd, that there's some "correct" physical appearance. I've come across it in with respect to animals, too: people horrified that I clip my birds' wings; owners of dogs and cats who do not confine their pets, but believe sterilizing them would be "wrong".

Maybe it's not so odd, though. I could not support a person cutting off a toe because they preferred the appearance of a four-toed foot; I oppose declawing of cats. There is, it seems, no simple rule on where to draw the line on body modification.


Tausign said...

Interesting how you juxtaposed the modification of animals with humans. In the former case we clip or declaw in order to help animals adapt to a nonnatural enviroment (ie. to keep birds from flying into walls or cats from trashing the furniture). But regarding human 'body art' we find people who are making statements of conformity or rebellion.

lyrl said...

Certainly very different logical arguments are behind modifications of animals with humans. I think when people have gut reactions on the issue, though, they may be unconsciously conflating these issues.

The rebellion aspect, as obvious as it now seems, wasn't something I had in mind when I wrote the piece; thanks for pointing that out.