22 July 2011

Freedom of Expression- The Body Edition

Freedom of expression. It's a great thing, isn't it?

But where does freedom of expression stop? What pushes the limits? Depending on who you talk to, it could be anything from just one tattoo or piercing somewhere other than one in each ear for girls, anywhere for guys to you can say what you want, when you want, however the hell you want to say it.

Someone totally expressing themselves.
What does that one mean??
He doesn't even remember some of them!!

Most of us fall somewhere in that happy medium. Some will go with one or two tats and say ok, I've had enough, but there are those that really go all the way with all that stuff. I don't judge people for it- really, I don't care what people do to their bodies, that's their business!

Have they thought about what it'll look like, though, in 20 years? When their earlobes are gauged to their shoulders and their tattoos are wrinkly or misshapen from age and time itself? Have they really thought this through? Do they realize how permanent some of this stuff really is? Sometimes, they make me wonder.

Small stuff, I don't think will be affected much. I'm not bothered by other body piercings, but I know other people that are, and others that want to hear a justification for it! I don't think it needs to be justified, because it's someone's own body.

Personally, I would never get a tat that's extremely visible, unless it's like...a tat of a bracelet or something. That might be cool. Otherwise it would be so small it would hardly be noticed, but I probably won't get one at all, because I'm a wimp when it comes to pain. Other piercings? Well, seeing as I'm so fat, belly ring and other rings related to being attractive and enticing aren't really an option, and probably never will be, so I'm stuck with dealing with my face. I'm not getting a nose ring; I've got allergies and have to blow my nose too much. Eyebrow is too noticeable. Lip ring isn't attractive to me. Tongue ring is the only one I've thought about, but I already have been made fun of for the way I speak. Down to the ear. I've already got 2 piercings in each ear. I've heard the farther you go up into the cartilage, the more painful it gets. I already have to use gold posts/hoops because otherwise, they get all gooey and infected. So it looks like I'm gonna stick with what I've got.

Are piercings, though, really expression? What, exactly, is a piercing expressing, besides "hey, I can put a hole here too!"? I guess I'm probably going to be left in the dark on that one, but piercing enthusiasts will stand beside it. I can see how tattoos can be expressions, seeing as they use images, however some are just ridiculous- never get the name of a lover/boyfriend/girlfriend, because those things are meant to last a long time. Relationships...well, they don't. Not always, anyway. I don't usually see people express much through tattoo art, though, other than gang affiliations, family members, lovers, star signs, cute pictures, manly pictures, and the occasional thoughtful tattoo that stands up for something (these are rare).

Other body related freedom of expression topics-

Clothing- little girls should wear clothes. Clothes that cover them. Once they are old enough, (ie probably going to rebel), they can make the decision to be a slut be a whore wear almost no clothing themselves. Just don't do it in front of me. Please. 1) I feel insanely jealous of people who can get away with the look because I'm a hippopotamus, and 2) I really don't like to see other people's abdomens, rear ends, and cleavage all the time, because clothes are made to cover that. Speaking of- men, really, *most of* (not all of) you are not made to walk around shirtless. It's kind of gross when you do when you're not made to do so. Also, you should choose your swimsuit appropriately. I'm not saying you should be ashamed of yourself or what others think, but really, it's kind of apparent what is acceptable and not acceptable. If you step outside this, you are either trying to make a statement that will make people stare, or you really don't realize it. Be realistic. I also know that some people can't help their weight, but they can be conscious of what they wear. Again, not be ashamed of what they are, but...if they don't want people staring, they should reconsider wearing a bikini.

This woman did not reconsider
I wish I could make this image smaller.

To shave or not to shave? I say, cultural norms are probably the best bet. If you're trying to stand out, have a reason for it, other than just trying to be different. "Oh, I want to be a unique person" is not a realistic reason for a woman to not shave her armpits in America. However, having a real reason ("I never shave my legs above the knee, I guess because that's the way I learnt! You can't really see it anyway. Saves me so much when I'm shopping for razorblades!") or putting humor in it, you might be able to change the situation. Still not attractive; body hair attracts odor and bacteria. This is why shaving has become so much more common, and waxing, etc. I'm surprised more men don't start shaving, although I've started seeing more men with less hairy chests. Norms will change. People will change. Will you?

Hair- Dying: Natural colors, ok. Unnatural colors....depends on the circumstance. If you're going to a football/basketball/soccer/sports game of any type to cheer on your home team, you might put some blue or purple or green in your hair to show team spirit. Being a brunette, I'd have to bleach my hair first or find clip-ins that matched the texture of my hair (or get my hair to cooperate and be straight...). If you can pull it off short term and want to for something like that, okay. If you are dipping your hair in kool-aid because purple is cool this week, but next week you'd rather have pink....why? What the fudgecake are you expressing other than a love for koolaid in your hair? What does pink hair mean? Green? Blue? Purple?

It would all turn out totally invisible in my hair. Credit
OK, so here are my boundaries for freedom of expression as related to the body- subtle tattoos that mean something and/or piercings, but not numerous; people wearing clothes, shaving, natural hair dye, and supporting your school football team. If you want to add anything, or say anything, feel free to comment, the box is on the page.



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