Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Body Modification: Freak or Not Freak


Alright, there is far too much that could be said on this topic for one blog post. It would fill twenty books. So please don't mistake brevity for lack of consideration.

Geekology has presented us a great example to look not just at some of the newest trends in body modification today, but also to make a point about latent or mainstream standards of beauty, and the backlash it can cause.

I'd like to provide for you exhibit A, a Ukranian girl who has surgically modified herself to look like a barbie:

Note the tone of the post:
This is 21-going-on-6-year-old Valeria Lukyanova (links to her Ukranian Facebook-y thing with LITERALLY 10,000 more photos of Little Ms. Vain). Valeria always dreamed of being a real life Barbie doll. And now, after numerous surgeries, she's finally realized her dream AND CAN HOPEFULLY MOVE ON TO ACTUALLY DREAMING ABOUT SOMETHING WORTHWHILE. Wow, of all the dreams in the world to come true of course it's squandered on the girl who wants to look like Barbie and not everybody hoping for a cure for cancer. "That little bitch." *pointing* That girl said it, not me!
Can someone please point me to the place where this sort of body modification differs from cat man?

Or even our resident Satanic freakazioid, Rex Church.
(Tangent alert: I met him at Esozone, a sort of "alternate culture convention" where a lot of totally freakish knowledge was done dropped. I was on a panel with him about ritual magick and artistic creation or something and he leaned over and said "you smell nice." Ookay. So yeah, that's not relevant to this post but it's my one personal interaction with the guy. I really can't figure out if my smelling nice is a good or bad thing in this context.)

Look, don't get me wrong. I think Barbie girl is creepy too. And I'm not entirely sure it isn't a hoax and those are all actually photos of RealDolls. (Did you know they used to make Dark Elf RealDolls? I can't seem to find them on Google anymore so that must mean they don't anymore.)

But I think we need to be incredibly vigilant about our bias about these kind of judgements. All of these are cases of people modifying their physical body to in some way match some internal mental image. Whether you think you should physically appear as a dragon or a dark elf or a barbie doesn't matter, it's just that

Barbie is mainstream and has a lot of associated cultural baggage. Like the fact that part of Barbie's marketing programming has been about making little girls want to look like fucking Barbie. That is how a lot of marketing psychology works, because companies want to figure out how to sell and the best way to do that is to reverse engineer the psychology of your market. Surprise! Your little daughters brains are being scoped out by corporations as living breathing targets for their product development. That's just life in the world / society we live in.

We totally. TOTALLY support Obama's right to
turn himself into....whatever the fuck this is.
(Photo by Photoshopaganda.
USED WITH EXTREME PREDJUDICE.
I mean permission. Permission.)
So if we want to change that we can change what sort of messages we're broadcasting to our youth to you know, sell different products, because every little girl wants to be genetically modified to look like a robot with arms made out of carrots or something, right?, no actually most marketing is based on the biological predelection of humans living at a particular place and time, so there's actually a reason that Barbie looks like she did when marketing to the youth of 1960s America rather than a vampire squid with rotating tentacle biolumanescent arm attachments.  But that's subject for another article!

[As is any discussion of the fat / thin issue.]

So, point is, accept that your judgement of Barbie girl as freakish is the same as calling cat-man freakish, I mean, hey, it's OK to think they're freaks but at least own it across the board so you're not a damn hypocrite, right? Because there is something culturally abnormal about actually going through with it and doing something like this, or else everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't be abnormal anymore.


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