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Body Modifications

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
What are your thoughts on teens and body modification?

I have a 16 year old, 17 in the fall. She wants to dye her hair blue. I said fine, but let me get the family portraits done first. She wants to get facial piercings (nose, eyebrow, has mentioned tongue). She also wants to stretch her ears and to get tattoos.

Now, the piercing talk has faded, so she may have got over that, and I'm not about to remind her. I'm really against permanent changes to her body, especially ones I consider ugly (all of the above pretty much). She's not putting much thought into other than "I want to". I'm saying no. She says that for the ear stretching, if you don't go above a particular size (which I don't remember what it is) then you don't need surgery to close it up.

I have told her that she needs to have saved up the money for the plastic surgery to fix anything she does to her body before she does it to her body. She's not buying that! But she won't go behind my back, I'm pretty sure.

So. I realize it's her body. I get that. I'm also older and wiser, and know what job hunting, etc. is like, and how hard it can be. I feel it can be a hindrence to being taken seriously in adulthood.

I'm interested in people's opinions both with my daughter and with modifications in general.
post #2 of 81

Blue hair and piercings are fine, I would probably ask her to wait for stretching and tattoos until she's 18.

post #3 of 81

Yeah my mom said no the piercings when I was a teen, but I got them anyway. I went to a cheap piercer and got some unskilled, bad piercings as a result, with ended up causing a lot of scar tissue.  If she does it, you should insist she research her piercers and make sure she goes to a professional with a good reputation.  The blue hair and other piercings wouldn't bother me, but as PP said, I would probably encourage the tattoos and stretching to wait till 18.
 

This is the time in a persons life where they can experiment with this kind of thing without any real repercussions, unless she is going straight from high school in a tight laced corporate job it shouldn't really make a difference to her future prospects. THAT said, I do know plenty of people that work all kinds of jobs, legal, medical, administrative, service oriented even corporate ones, that have piercings and tats.

 

Also, one persons ugly is another persons beautiful.

post #4 of 81

Blue hair is fine with me.  My daughter pierced her nose and I thought it was really cute.  She had plans for other piercings, but got a keloid on her nose that required a steroid shot, so any plans for future piercings went by the wayside.  I would have been fine with a small tattoo also, but no one here will tattoo a child.  I would definitely not be comfortable with a tongue piercing because my next door neighbor developed a pre-cancerous growth at the piercing site.   I don't know  about the ear gauging either. 

 

For my daughter, interest in piercings and tattoos peaked at about 16 and was pretty much gone by the time she was 18 and could do anything she wanted.  If she had not developed keloids (twice, because she really really wanted that nose piercing!) she may have had more done.  At her high school the thing to do was go out with your friends and get a tattoo on your 18th birthday.  The fact that so many people were doing it also turned her off, She likes to be different.  My son was never interested in any of it.

post #5 of 81

I agree with the others. I would have no probs with anything none permanent. I would almost be happy for her to get those so she may be happy and forget about the others! Then you would still be a reasonable parent and not one who says NO for everything. I got so many piercings and never regretted them so I think that's something you can do when young. I would never be OK with a tat or ear stretching. A tat isn't something I could've decided on at 18...but that's me. Also the ear thing...eeeew! My ears are stretched due to having them pierced at a yr old and they never healed back.   :)

post #6 of 81
I don't see any problem with any of the things your daughter is exploring. Especially the blue hair. What is the purpose of a family picture anyway if not to capture in time your family...so I don't really understand the point of waiting until after the photos to dye her hair. Were I her I think I would have been offended by that request actually.

You can have a perfectly respectable professional career with piercings and tattoos. At least this is the case every place I have ever lived. I am a high school teacher and I have three tattoos which I did not takes pains to cover in my classroom. When I was a teaching assistant I had an eyebrow ring (which, like a PP ended up with a nasty keltoid scar. I suppose it was good to know I scarred easily before I had a c-section). I also had blue hair as a TA. In none of these situations was my authority challenged or my professional commitment doubted.
post #7 of 81

I have tattoos, and have had piercings, myself. So I obviously do not have a problem with them.

For the tongue tattoo, I would not suggest it. Myself, and almost everyone I know who have had one for any length of time have problems with their teeth. The ring taps against your teeth repeatedly throughout the time it's in. This weakened a part in my tooth, which then eventually broke. Other people I have known have had chipped teeth.

 

A nose ring, eyebrow ring and lip ring are not permanent body modification. I know people who work in the courts and government who have septum piercings (the centre part of your nose). These can easily be worn tilted up inside for work if needed.

 

I would not be against a tattoo. These can be on any number of parts of the body and still be able to be covered for a corporate job. Any part of the body that can be covered for a job interview or on the job during all seasons would be fine with me. I would ask my kid to be 25 before getting tattooed in more prominent parts of the body or to get stretching done. Hopefully if Im cool about other stuff they will listen to that advice.

 

With the hair, I'd be fine if my 6yr old wanted blue hair. That just isn't even something on my radar to be worried about.

 

 

post #8 of 81

I'm pro-body modifications over here. In fact, yesterday I just sat (second session of three) for 4.5 hours on my sleeve tattoo (shoulder to elbow, so only a half-sleeve) honoring my son's birth and also my pregnancy losses. It's a beautiful, custom piece, and I'm thrilled about it. Also, I have 4 other tattoos (upper back, just below the elbow on my other arm, and two that are 4 or 5 inches high full circle around both my ankles).

 

That being said, the one I got when I was 18 is my least favorite, and I don't think I should have gotten one that young, but I did make a good decision about it's location (upper back) and it's always been hidden in any business attire. In fact, when I'm in a business suit, you can't see any of my tattoos. I very consciously planned it that way. Also, I live in a conservative area and am in a conservative profession, but many of my fellow school district employees have piercings and tattoos (eyebrow and nose piercings mostly, and upper arm and ankle tattoos).

 

The thing about tattoos is that, IMHO, they should be symbolic and also custom. I don't feel that basic tribal tattoos that come out of a book at tattoo shop (ahem, the one on my back from when I was 18) are beautiful or meaningful (with rare exceptions). Also, depending on physical development, 17-18 is still quite young and a person's body (especially males) can still grow, stretching their skin, etc. Also, they HURT a lot.

 

My parents begged me to get pierced and not tattooed, the idea being that piercings can always be removed. I did have 11 (I think) piercings in my ears, but never wanted to pierce anything else. I personally don't think facial piercings are attractive, but as a pp stated, beauty is quite subjective. Also, for the record, I dyed my super-short hair every color of the rainbow, with permanent hair dye, from blonde to blue to red to black and back again, over and over. My parent's liked blonde the best (not my natural color! orngtongue.gif).

 

I think it's important to consider that a wide variety of cultures throughout history have used body modifications as a right of passage. I personally would argue that teens have a hard time in our culture today because we don't provide them with this type of process. Also there is the psychology of the forbidden fruit that plays a role in wanting a tattoo as well. I never went behind my parents back to get a tattoo, I just waited until I didn't need their permission anymore. ETA: an interesting book to read on this kind of topic is The Quest for Human Beauty by Julian Robinson. It's about the cultural anthropology of beauty. Interestingly, all cultures practice some kind of body modification. He hypothesizes that this separates humans from animals.

 

If/when it becomes a question with my son, I'd let him have a regular piercing - ear, nose, eyebrow, tongue, lip but not gauged ears; we'd probably negotiate a waiting period for him to gauge if that's really what he wanted. There's no going back with that and it's not hideable by a business suit - (clearly this is one of my sticking points. I love tattoos, but I'm not going to tattoo "RIP Vinnie" in old English lettering on my neck either. Certain criteria apply - anything permanent should be classy, carefully located and done by quality professionals). With tattoos, as I've stated my belief about customized and meaningful work, and also rites of passage, I would probably have lengthy discussions with him about what he wanted to get, what it symbolized, and where to get it. He and DH and I would plan it together, and he could get it when he's 18. I don't approve of under-age tattoos, personally, for the developmental reasons stated above. Tattoos at age 18 are kind of a rite of passage in our culture anyway, and my signing a waiver would take that away from him. Weird, but that's how I feel. shrug.gif

post #9 of 81

I'd be fine w/ the hair and the piercings, with the possible exception of tongue piercing (though I wouldn't forbid it).  And as a PP said, I'd DEFINITELY make sure she researched the people working on her, because I too had a lousy piercing done at a random unprofessional place as a teenager, and it never healed correctly.

 

As for the tattoos...I love them.  Absolutely positively love them, IF THEY ARE WELL DONE.  But most of the heavily tatted people I know have had their earliest tats removed or covered over because their 20-something selves no longer liked their 16-18yo choices (content, quality, memories, whatever).  If her design choice is something guaranteed to be lasting, and her artist is really talented - ie, if she's really thought this through - I would sign off on a small tattoo in an easy-to-cover place.

 

I would also be fine w/ her doing gauges, but only up to a 00 (ie, the point of no return, iirc).  There are certainly some loud gauges out there, but I wear bone and horn and glass gauges (2's & 4's) and no one ever knows my ears are gauged unless they look closely.  I could easily work an office job w/o anyone noticing.  So even if she wants to wear something that stands out most of the time, she also has lots of more subdued, feminine options for times when that might be more appropriate.  Also, if I leave my gauges out for a week or 2 I can still wear normal earrings and it doesn't looks weird.  That said, I don't have any scarring whatsoever - like all of the above, it's really important that she knows what she's doing and does it right to avoid the pitfalls.

 

Overall, I think it's great that she's getting creative about her personal appearance.  Who knows what will last and what will be quickly discarded, but I personally don't think there's any reason to stress about it, just do your/her research.

post #10 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by colsxjack View Post

With the hair, I'd be fine if my 6yr old wanted blue hair. That just isn't even something on my radar to be worried about.


That.

post #11 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

I don't see any problem with any of the things your daughter is exploring. Especially the blue hair. What is the purpose of a family picture anyway if not to capture in time your family...so I don't really understand the point of waiting until after the photos to dye her hair. Were I her I think I would have been offended by that request actually.

Not an issue (her being offended) - I mean she's not offended, not that I don't care if she is. And I see your point about capturing now in a photo, but I'm quite happy to do more portraits after with blue hair. But I want "normal" ones too.

I am perfectly fine with her dying her hair, that is so totally not an issue. Heck, I let her dye it at 11 or 12, and helped her. She hasn't done it since.
post #12 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nomadsindiansaints View Post

But most of the heavily tatted people I know have had their earliest tats removed or covered over because their 20-something selves no longer liked their 16-18yo choices (content, quality, memories, whatever).  If her design choice is something guaranteed to be lasting, and her artist is really talented - ie, if she's really thought this through - I would sign off on a small tattoo in an easy-to-cover place

Problem is, she wants the Dark Mark! http://swansong.determinismsucks.net/nonsense/Dark_Mark_II.png

I'm actually okay with some of the piercing places (nose maybe, ears, belly button maybe) but not the gauging (and thanks for the info on the size) or some of the other ones. But I'll take piercing over tattoos any day!
post #13 of 81
Piercings in the mouth are a dental nightmare. I highly recommend you and your dd talk to your dentist together next time you are there. Saying "no" isn't the answer. She neds to understand the fallout from those so that she doesn't do something stupid when she turns 18. Infections are just the start, then broken teeth, root canals, etc. Long term, they can cause so much damage the person needs gum surgery.

Here, kids can't get tattoos until they are 18, even if their parents sign.

What does she want to do with her life? Have you discussed how some of these things are seen in some situations?

I'd be ok with blue hair and a nose piercing. And I think you need to schedule the portrait asap, or that it's fair to ask her to wait.
post #14 of 81

re: Blue hair

 - what color is your DDs hair? Because if it is dark, then she'll have to probably peroxide it to get it pale enough to take a blue dye.

 

My DD (14) wanted purple streaks and after lots of conversation I agreed to pay half (and she pay half) at a salon to have

She has very dark hair so the purple faded quite quickly to the paler color that was required to make purple show up. Then she was messing about w/ her hair for the next few months.

 

My husband and I continued to express our concerns about the chemicals used to dye her hair and how it is also bad for her hair.  So, she had this sort of band of reddish hair and her dark roots coming in a bit, but we were patient. Then about a month ago she looked at some pictures from a friend's birthday party and thought "Ugh". So, I agreed to help pay for a trip to a salon to basically dye her hair back to it's original color, so as it grows out it will go back to her "normal".

 

Piercings - she started to want pierced ears when she was about 8 or 9 and I said "Wait until you are 13" because I wanted her to be able to take care of it herself. Then, that was her big 13th b-day present.

 

She once sounded me out about other piercings and I basically said "Not while you're a minor. When you're 18 it's up to you." She has no interest in  tattoos for herself. One time when we visited Toronto I let her get henna designs on her hands.

post #15 of 81

When my daughter was in her "I want a tattoo" phase, she was absolutely convinced that she wanted the Little Mermaid on her calf.  Now, at 22, she cringes when I remind her lol.gif.  I wonder what your daughter will think of the Dark Mark in 6 years?  It is cooler than the Little Mermaid, but still.

post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
She says that for the ear stretching, if you don't go above a particular size (which I don't remember what it is) then you don't need surgery to close it up.

she's misinformed on this

post #17 of 81

No piercings or tattoos until over 18, period. Boy, girl, doesn't matter. Same with tattoos. Hair dyeing would be on a case by case basis, dependent on the child. 

 

I should say, this comes from two parents that are "heavily" tattooed. And I've had my share of piercings in the past, though I've since taken most out. I do plan to re-do one at some point in the near future and add another. I just feel very strongly that the things that people want to do to their bodies when they're minors are not necessarily something they're going to want later. And while you can take piercings out, there are scarring issues. Some won't be major, some will. It's not worth it to me to have that on my head. 

post #18 of 81

If you really don't want her to stretch her ears and she is considering that, I'd wait for her to get the ear piercing until she is 18, because once you have the hole it's quite easy to stretch. As for the other piercings, none of the piercing and tattoo shops I've been to will do anything other than basic lobe holes in minors. I'm not into the whole, if they want it help them get it because they will just do it anyway mentality.

 

My dd did want white blond hair when she was about 15, we discussed what was involved ( I had blond hair in my 20s) and I took her for a consult with a professional as part of getting informed, but I told her I wasn't going to pay for it and she could make that decision when she was able to. I did let her dye her hair other colors that didn't require bleaching though. She still has never gone blond. 

 

I have 6 tattoos and 2 piercings and had my nose pierced at one point. My daughter is 21 now and got her ears pierced as an adult, stretched them to 12 gauge ( which is still small) and considered getting her eyebrow pierced but so far has chosen not to. She doesn't seem to be into tattoos though.

post #19 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by kawa kamuri View Post




she's misinformed on this



Actually she isn't. Stretching doesn't just mean 4 gauge or whatever. You can stretch up to a certain size and it will shrink back. Off the top of my head I can't remember the limit either, but you start where you are and stop where you want and what is safe depending on a variety of factors.

post #20 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post

re: Blue hair

 - what color is your DDs hair? Because if it is dark, then she'll have to probably peroxide it to get it pale enough to take a blue dye.

 

My DD (14) wanted purple streaks and after lots of conversation I agreed to pay half (and she pay half) at a salon to have

She has very dark hair so the purple faded quite quickly to the paler color that was required to make purple show up. Then she was messing about w/ her hair for the next few months.

 

My husband and I continued to express our concerns about the chemicals used to dye her hair and how it is also bad for her hair.  So, she had this sort of band of reddish hair and her dark roots coming in a bit, but we were patient. Then about a month ago she looked at some pictures from a friend's birthday party and thought "Ugh". So, I agreed to help pay for a trip to a salon to basically dye her hair back to it's original color, so as it grows out it will go back to her "normal".

 

Piercings - she started to want pierced ears when she was about 8 or 9 and I said "Wait until you are 13" because I wanted her to be able to take care of it herself. Then, that was her big 13th b-day present.

 

She once sounded me out about other piercings and I basically said "Not while you're a minor. When you're 18 it's up to you." She has no interest in  tattoos for herself. One time when we visited Toronto I let her get henna designs on her hands.


It's light brown, with red tints, I think it would take colour very well, especially reds. She also wants Amy Davidson's hair http://www.perfectpeople.net/photo-picture-image-media/Amy-Davidson-518x690-52kb-media-3694-media-140241-1220781909.jpg I actually love that one. And I have NO ISSUE wiht any hair colouring. It's not permanent.
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