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Assigning Gender Roles To Mods?
Topic Rating: +2 (2 votes) 
May 20, 2012
2:20 pm
Ascetic Athlete
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Here is a question Im curious about. Do you ever find yourself inadvertently assigning gender roles  to certain mods, particularly piercings or tattoo locations.Or maybe to rephrase the question, do you attribute masculine or feminine qualities to certain mods? Example: A bellybutton piercing on males, do you find yourself automatically making certain assumptions?

"Body modifications say a lot about ourselves, it says even more about those who surround us"
May 20, 2012
3:16 pm
vampyremage
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That is a very interesting question.  I think there are certain mods that are more commonly seen on males vs. females.  The navel piercing is one of those of those examples that is far more commonly seen on females rather than males and I have seen septum piercings, especially larger gauge ones, far more commonly on males rather than females.

 

With that said, I try not to jump to any conclusions based upon which modifications an individual chooses, whether male or female.  Just because a certain piercing is more commonly seen on one sex or another doesn't really say anything when the other sex decides upon that piercing.  Everyone has their own aesthetic or spiritual reasons for choosing the mods they choose and, unless I understand that individual very well on a personal level, I have no basis upon which to judge those motivations.

May 20, 2012
6:45 pm
Oakbear
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I can honestly say i hadn't considered that before!

I don't think i judge really, although some things such as tattoo design or jewellery colour might commonly convey different messages culturally depending on gender. Designs which might be seen as feminine or masculine, when on the opposite gender (ie a pink butterfly tattoo on a male) could suggest homosexuality or transgender perhaps, but that is not unusual in many cultures. I still feel sure i wouldn't assume though….

As to whether a piercing location is gender biased, not to my mind, unless for anatomical reasons! Wink

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
May 21, 2012
10:55 am
Kevin_cook
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Its funny that this came up … I am considering getting a tattoo of a set of polyhedral dice (check my profile if you want to know why) and I have certain criteria

 

1) It needs to be symmetric

2) It needs to be in a place that is not readily visible (ie I can show it when I choose to)

3) I would prefer my not having to remove my shirt .. or show my stomach … as I am overweight

 

This leaves the lower back as the only area I can think of that would fit the criteria

It has been my experience that the lower back is a place that is most often decorated by females

- Kevin Cook Proudly modified since 1983
May 21, 2012
11:23 am
UnholyResonance
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Yeah,

I definitely do it.

I always try to stay with an open mind and let people decide on their own modifications though.

If it makes someone feel beautiful, more spiritual, etc, I think they should do it, regardless of gender. :)

"Welcome Friends, Romans, and Circus Freaks to the generation in circuitry."
May 21, 2012
12:17 pm
vampyremage
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Kevin, I think you are my hero if you get that tattoo done <3

I have a tattoo of a dragon wrapped around a D10 on my foot.  My feet are kind of wear my geek tattoos life, I'm not quite sure why it worked out that way.  D10s have always been my favourite dice and D10 systems have often been my favourite systems, so it just made sense for me to get.

May 21, 2012
9:02 pm
Ignacious
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I don't think I ever have.

Mods of all forms are just mods. They mean what they mean to each individual person.

A straight woman could get a belly ring to make herself feel more feminine(sp?), while a straight male could use it to show he is confident within his orientation, but a lesbian could have it to show she may love other women, but is still a girl herself. Not to mention the million of other reasons it could mean to a person.

I hope this came out right lol

May 21, 2012
10:45 pm
Ascetic Athlete
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I am loving all of the different responses. I do my absolute best to not do it now, I do however catch myself on occasion automatically doing it. When I do catch myself though I remind myself about what my modifications mean to me and remind myself how I have grown through my modifications.

I'll be honest, I usually do it with is a bellybutton piercing, industrial piercing, cartlidge hoop, and single nostril piercing on males. For some reason I always attributed those piercings to be feminine.

"Body modifications say a lot about ourselves, it says even more about those who surround us"
May 22, 2012
3:33 am
banjo
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yeah i find my self somewhat judging certain piercings and placements as a piercer im always trying to pick the right placements for the person every ones body is set up in a different way ,

but saying that if a certain person wants a piercing that i dont think will look right where they think it will i will have a chat to them about it and if there dead set on getting it i will ,

but with the whole male vs female piercings i think as time goes on no one will really care

 

http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn115/banjo182/390043_10150525461159050_511149049_11007795_1686340430_n.jpg
May 22, 2012
12:18 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Aesthetically, I would say that some mods look prettier than others, and for that reason I would say they tend to look more feminine, but I see no reason to limit one's self by the perception of others.

corey.joe.clark said

I'll be honest, I usually do it with is a bellybutton piercing, industrial piercing, cartlidge hoop, and single nostril piercing on males. For some reason I always attributed those piercings to be feminine.

Interestingly, I always thought the industrial was a rather hard-core looking piercing.  Not a delicate look in my opinion.  I had one for a while, and I knew another straight dude who had one as well.  All these other piercings you mention, I agree, tend to look…well, dainty.

That is, of course, unless they've been pierced at heavier gauges.  I find that the same location has a significantly different look if it's pierced with a 10g or 8g as opposed to a 16g or 18g.

For example, I once had a friend who had 10g lip rings and a 10g ring in his conch.  I thought they looked tough.

Later on, I had a girlfriend who had 16g lip rings in virtually the same locations and I thought they looked very pretty on her.

If the two had swapped jewelry, I think they'd've swapped looks as well.

That being said, I believe it's our individual responsibility to avoid judging people by the way they look.  It's prejudice and it's not much different than sexism, racism, ageism, or any of these other -isms people are so up-in-arms about these days.  People tend to focus on one kind of -ism (whatever kind they are personally effected by), but they're all based in prejudice, and I think prejudice is the larger problem.

Gandhi said we must become the change we want to see in the world.  So, if we want to be accepted for who we are and not how we look, we must judge others by how they behave, not by our own preconceived ideas about their appearance.

For example, it is hypothetically possible that the 30-something guy in the white shirt and tie who drives a BMW is NOT an arrogant douche.  At least give people a fair chance to show who they are by their actions.

 

Kevin,

Unless you've got other tattoos on your upper-arm, there's no reason not to get the die tattooed there, either on the inside of the bicep or on the shoulder.  There's also the high center of your chest, which could be shown just by pulling down the neck of your shirt.

Also, there's the lower legs as well.  A very easy place to show just by pulling up the leg of your pants.

As far as whether the lower back is a feminine place to get tattooed…depends on the design, I suppose.  I have certainly seen more women with tattoos in that location, but these tattoos are generally flowers, butterflies, a tribal that flows with their curves, or something feminine like that.

Although I never got the tattoo, I was once thinking of a tattoo in that region.

I own a type of African hand-drum called a Jembe (pronounced gem-bay).  The traditional design uses goat skin for the head of the drum.  The skin is taken from the back of the goat over it's hind legs because the grain of the skin is very symmetrical there and so it stretches evenly as the drum ages.

I had thought about finding the pattern that would be needed to cut the skin out for a 12" drum head and tattooing it on my lower back along with another design in the center of the pattern that somehow symbolized me in a way, so that the skin could be easily harvested and used for a drum head after my death and the design would be centered on the drum.  Not that it would be legal to do so.  I'm not sure, but a friend told me he thought it would qualify as an illegal use of human remains.

Anyway, there would have been nothing feminine about the pattern or the design in the center, and so I don't think it would have wound up looking pretty or delicate just because of it's location.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
May 22, 2012
12:46 pm
Kevin_cook
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Hey SasQuatch

 

This is probably a bit off topic … so feel free to flame me :)

 

Those are good ideas .. what I had in mind is larger than a upper back would be able to show through a shirt collar

 

I have considered the legs .. but I would have to do a spray up the back of both legs (which I also have mostly seen on women)

 

Biceps are also possible .. and like legs would need to be the same design on both sides … and would likely be a bit crowded 

 

If others wish to comment on this … lets take it to another thread … so we dont break the momentum of this one :)  

- Kevin Cook Proudly modified since 1983
May 24, 2012
8:45 pm
Sommersett
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This is my first post ever.  I am new to the Church.  Yes, I DO assign gender roles to different mods.  This does not stop me from having whatever ancient or new art (or just plain ritual) done to myself.  I also support this in males and females and transgender people.  I was a piercer at Factor Five in Charleston, SC and Piercing Experience in Atlanta, GA for just over 10 years total.  I consider myself well traveled and educated.  I am now a Mom of 3 and I wear numerous mods on a daily basis… I mean they are just part of me and normal to me.  Anyway, here are some examples of gender assignments to mods:

*tattoo on center of lower back= female unless it's part of a belt

*anything stretched large (like over 8g) on the face= male

*ankle bracelets of any kind= female

*Roman style letter tattoos= male

*amputation or reconstruction of toes= female  (also tattoo on feet)

*amputation or reconstruction of fingers= male (also tattoo on hand)

*left shoulder tattoo or nipple piercing= male (right= female)

weird, huh?  I wonder where it comes from.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
May 25, 2012
4:08 am
Oakbear
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Welcome Sommersett!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on that. I have to say i can maybe see where the idea of lower back tattoos or anklets might fit, but the rest leaves me baffled! It's a funny old world eh?!Laugh

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
May 28, 2012
2:41 pm
SasQuatch9585
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Welcome, Sommersett.  Always good to have a new voice on the forum.

Depending on the design, I think it's hypothetically possible for people to get tattooed in any spot and not go against their gender.  I agree, most of the time you see ankle bracelet and lower-back tattoos on women, but what's to stop a man from getting a thick, tough-looking Celtic or tribal band around his ankle?  Something like that wouldn't strike me as feminine, despite the location.

Then again, I can't think of an example that wouldn't strike me as feminine on the lower back.  Maybe there is one out there, but I can imagine it and have never seen it.

I guess for me the question is, does the modification look graceful or delicate?  That would strike me as feminine.  Does it look powerful or aggressive?  That would strike me as masculine.  Location doesn't seem to matter too much to me.

I guess these assignments come from popular culture.  We seem to make a lot of these assignments with nearly everything.  Big 4x4 trucks are for men.  A button down shirt should have buttons on one side for men and the other side for women.  A beret is for women or (a weird cross-over here) soldiers.  It seems that some mods are no exception.

I'm not sure why people do this.  I guess it's intended as signal to others about who you are, and so there needs to be some kind of consistent system for these signals so that everyone can just take one look at you and know who you are.

But again, that just feeds prejudice.  I think everyone who has a socially-unacceptable modification has suffered at least a little because of prejudice, and I think it's a way of looking at the world which should be exiled from our thoughts.

Yeah, some mods may make a dude look girly, or a woman look manly, but who cares?  As long as they are satisfied with the way they look, and as long as they treat others with respect, I couldn't care less how they look.

And who they really are on the inside is for them to share with whom they choose to share it.  Any attempt to guess at their personality by their appearance is, I believe, doomed to failure.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
May 28, 2012
7:29 pm
Sommersett
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    I think it speaks volumes that the whole right ear piercing thing hasn't been mentioned.  I asked my 12 year old if one ear piercing has any meaning, and she said not that she knows of.  I remember when it secretly told people you are homosexual.  Also, I think that was only for men.  When I had my first professional mod at age 18 it was my septum and I remember my Mom came to visit me in college and she cried.  She told me I was so pretty and no one would find me attractive with a ring in my nose.  I assured her although I had only ever seen one person with a septum piercing, my kind exists, and my beauty is stronger because I have chosen to live this way.  Now she occasionally asks me to put in specific jewelry into holes which get no regular wear.  I occasionally obey.

    Also, I am pretty sure in the SMBD culture (which I have been only on the fringes of) left shoulder blade tattoos mean master and right means slave.  I think the nipple piercings go the same way.

    I feel like we use our body art, intentionally or not, as a way to communicate things and those of us who are willing, should guide the conversation.  Let the ones follow along who need to.  We all have a story. 

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
May 28, 2012
10:00 pm
Ascetic Athlete
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SasQuatch9585 said 

That is, of course, unless they've been pierced at heavier gauges.  I find that the same location has a significantly different look if it's pierced with a 10g or 8g as opposed to a 16g or 18g.

 

I never realized that before. When theyre at larger guages they do look much more masculine. 

 

"Body modifications say a lot about ourselves, it says even more about those who surround us"
May 28, 2012
10:02 pm
Ascetic Athlete
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SasQuatch9585 said
 

Then again, I can't think of an example that wouldn't strike me as feminine on the lower back.  Maybe there is one out there, but I can imagine it and have never seen it.

 

I have the Iwo Jima flag raising on my lower back. Its black and white minus the red and blue in the flag. 

"Body modifications say a lot about ourselves, it says even more about those who surround us"
May 29, 2012
5:47 pm
strommer
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im gonna have to agree that i tend to look at people with larger piercings as being more masculine ive been looking at scalpeled belly buttons lately and im considering getting it done even though ive always looked at belly button piercings as being more feminine im still not sure if im going to do it but its on my list of possible mods 

May 29, 2012
5:59 pm
SasQuatch9585
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There you go, Corey.  That doesn't sound feminine in the least.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
July 8, 2012
9:01 pm
ColaChampagne
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I used to think so, then I stopped being less ignorant. Actually I find belly button piercings on males being quite sexy, and I definitely plan on stretching my septum. A couple of years ago I wanted to stretch my septum but these gender role bullshit talked em out of it. I'm definitely doing it now but I'm planning on only going up to maybe a 6 gauge, I think that would be perfect without the risk of deforming my nose. I want tattoos that are rough and aggressive, but also graceful and delicate because, that represents me. I say to hell with gender roles, and to hell with society, do what you want.

We are all born a blank canvas, physically and mentally, It is up to us to decorate our mind and body.
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