KW: So what do you consider Body Modification (Body Mod) to be?
Cathy: Body modification would be conscious alteration of the human body
KW: And what would you consider your limitations to altering yours?
-> I think I can stick to piercings and a few tattoos
Cathy: I consider weight loss / gain body modifications too. So there's that.
Piercings yes, but I have commitment issues, so tattoos for me, are a no go
Surgery for me is a no go too. But that's just personal.
that's because I have had a long journey of accepting my body, and through that, I've come to love it, so I wouldn't go under the knife.
KW: Fair enough. Have any preferences for where you’d pierce?
Cathy: As long as it's not on my face, I'm open to different options
KW: How about on other people? Are there piercings you don’t like seeing?
Cathy: Don't like, uhm, not really. I think a piercing can enhance features on different people. As long as it's cared for, and clean of course, generally I like seeing piercings.
KW: Same for tattoos? On other people?
Cathy: For tattoos I prefer seeing smaller and/or simpler tattoos, I find larger ones with a bit tacky. But as long as it has a meaning to the person and it wasn't like a late night regret, I don't mind seeing them
KW: Totally agree. Planning my tattoos was hard and there are days I kinda hate them but the meaningful reminders they have always puts things into perspective when I need it
Cathy: Exactly. One thing I've always thought about is that over time your body changes, so the tattoo won't always look the way it used to when you got it, whether you gain/lose weight or just over time when things begin to sag, but as long as you remember the meaning behind why you got the tattoo in the first place, chances are you wont over time regret that choice
KW: The body changes is actually what worry me when I think about people who get any sort of implants. I always wonder how the body would react to it over time
Cathy: The thing about implants is they're not made to last a lifetime (from my experience watching Dr. Miami) they're supposed to be changed every 10-15 years as the saline implant may deflate over time, and silicone implants may rupture.
But even if they don't rupture, the implant will need to be replaced with a size that fits the new shape of your body
KW: oh, the money lol
That’s all that came to mind. The money I’d need to ensure I have to maintain an implant of any sort.
Cathy: That's the thing tho, it's an investment. Whether into the person's peace of mind or whatever reason it is that the person is doing it for
KW: Do you think our (this generation and younger) perception of bod mod’s will ever become the norm? So many can’t get jobs. They get ostracized and stereotyped because of their choice express themselves like that
Cathy: Honestly I think it depends on the type of body modification. If we're talking about like a tummy tuck or a nose job or a breast lift or something like that, I believe it has become normal, it's just that there are few people who are open about the fact that they have done these surgeries. And with these type of body modifications, in specific industries, you might actually be more likely to find a job, as you are perceived to be "more attractive"
Tattoos and piercings however do not have the same effect, in Jamaica specifically.
I think this depends on the company or the field of work you go into, where the tattoo/piercing is and if it can be hidden.
Because when someone is hired, for some companies, an employee is seen as more than just someone who does work assigned then goes home at the end of the day, the employee is seen as a reflection of the company it's values and what they do. In the era of social media especially where brands are thrown at you constantly, an employee represents that brand whether they're in their posting snapchats in their uniform or at the front desk as a customer is interacting with them. That experience that the customer/potential customer receives with the brand will dictate how the company is perceived. Especially when there are sometimes even hundreds of competitors to that company their brand is what differentiates them and thus has to be set apart and stand out from the rest.
KW: And I think that’s because of the negative connotations still associated with piercings and tattoos. It comes back down to it not being the norm. I’ve even seen where just someone mentioning that they have a tattoo, got them fired from work even though it couldn’t be seen.
I do think there’s a double standard with body modifications and gender too. It’s more common to see men with tattoos being accepted in the work force once they’re covered and women not being criticized for a few extra ear piercings.
Cathy: I don't agree, but it is what you have experienced.
KW: I have to admit, my boss at the time was a dick and kinda a old-fashioned conservative guy
Cathy: Exactly. And while he might be, they're many other bosses out there who are becoming less narrow minded, and as I said, it depends on the company.
KW: Fair enough. How about family and friends. Do you think their opinions change/influence which body mods you would get?
Cathy: As much as I want to say no, I'd have to say yes. I was raised in a "conservative" family and recently I had gotten a piercing which brings with it a lot of sexual connotations. As much as I knew my family wouldn't like that I had made that decision, they are people who trust that they've raised me well enough to not make decisions I will regret, and knowing that their reactions would be muted I decided to do it anyway. And although I had made the decision already, and had come accept it, it was hard for me to accept how disappointed I had made them feel and I would think twice before doing something of a similar nature again.
Friends however, no. Mostly because as much as my friends and I are close, we are different people and I have come to accept and appreciate our differences. While I listen to their opinion and try to understand where they're coming from, my decisions affect me (mostly) and as a result I ultimately make them.
KW: How would you feel about a significant other who hated your piercings or decision to get a piercing?
Cathy: Wow, "hated" is a strong word. Well, If this is a relationship with someone who I truly see a future with and all our values are lined up except for in this one area. I would accept that these are his views and while he has his, at the same time I have my views as well.
I wouldn't poke the bear and get more but at the same time we'd have to see our differing views and come up with a compromise.
Do you think you’d pass on to your future children or just the younger generation your views on self-expression through body modifications or would you teach them the way your parents taught you?
Cathy: Firstly, I can only speak about my future children. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and parents have a responsibility to teach their children whatever they see fit.
But for our children, assuming that the above discussed "significant other" had the views as spoken about before, our future children would learn what our views are on body modifications, why we view things the way we do and they'd also be taught that their actions have consequences and we do live in an imperfect world, where sometimes what we look like determines what people think about us, even for characteristics that they cannot change.
They, in return have the responsibility of first of all understanding why they want to change the things they do, then making the best decision they see fit.
KW: Perfectly said. Thanks Cathy!!!
Follow Cathy on Snapchat: @bellisticcatt