This interview I just did may well be a real “deal with the devil”… It's for a trade journal for people who market to young people. That is, they want to know how they can use body modification to make money off of young people.
I'm always torn when dealing with people like this, because on one hand, encouraging them will go a lot farther to legalize body modifiation for young people than any government ever could — it's these corporations that run the country. But on the other hand, they will do their damndest to “take over” and commodify this industry as well, which could do even more damage than restrictive laws.
Anyway, here's the interview:
Y: What are three of the most popular piercings lately (navel, helix, etc.)?
According to my polling, the most popular current piercings are minor stretchings in earlobes, followed by ear cartilage piercings such as rooks, industrials, and so on. After that, septums, lip (labret) piercings, tongue piercings, and nipple piercings are all roughly the same. Navel piercing has dropped out of fashion, at least for the community that I deal with at BME.
Y: What piercing styles are becoming more popular and will be mainstream in the next year or so?
Excluding the ones I mentioned above, which will continue to grow in popularity, more people are experimenting with surface piercing — although unfortunately most people are performing these piercings poorly and they tend to scar and reject. Other than that, genital piercing, which is probably the most common form of piercing in adults, will continue to grow in popularity among younger and younger individuals.
Y: Do you find parents are becoming more supportive of their kids getting tattoos and piercings?
While a small percentage of family and friends of pierced and tattooed kids are becoming less supportive (probably a knee-jerk reaction to seeing just how many kids are modified these days), support and tolerance toward body modification from friends and family is being reported as swinging in an overwhelmingly positive direction. Unfortunately, many sectors of the job market are becoming more restrictive as is the education system.
Y: Recent trend reports are showing that girls are more prone to get a tattoo or piercing. Is this true?
Well, girls are more likely to exercise, care about the clothes they're wearing, and so on. I don't see it as being particularly surprising that girls are more likely to be drawn to body modification and my research confirms that as well. That said, the difference isn't massive (perhaps a 5% spread), but it's definitely there.
Y: What are the 3 most popular styles of tattoos lately (ie. tribal, Chinese characters, etc.)? What tattoo styles have become more popular recently amongst young people? What new styles should we watch for hitting the streets over the next year?
Well, “tribal” tattooing is probably the most popular single style, but that's a little misleading because the word “tribal” has come to encompass a massive range of styles — basically anything done with relatively design-oriented (versus representative) blackwork. As far as design motifs that are taking off with young people, anything to do with stars is very popular, as are “old school” designs, based on classic American sailor tattoos (as well as bright modern interpretations thereof).
Y: Is Tebori becoming popular?
No, and I don't see tebori and other styles of hand tattooing moving outside of the “tattoo collector” subculture. I don't think it has a general appeal at this point.
Y: What about regret? Do you find that a lot of people regret tattoos they got ten years ago or sooner?
According to my polling about 3% of people say they are unhappy with their tattoo decisions, with a very small number actually being extremely unhappy — the vast majority are pleased in the long run. That said, my polling also shows that about one in six people with tattoos has had a “cover up”, where an older tattoo is covered up by a new one. This isn't always indicative of regret; a lot of the time the regret is limited to “I wish I got a bigger tattoo!”
My advice to people on this subject is that they take their tattoo decisions just as seriously as they'd take other life-decisions such as marriage — either you're going to have to spend your life with this tattoo, or get an expensive surgical “divorce”.
Y: What about risk….Can you tell me a little bit about the risks involved with tattoos and piercings? Maybe the most common risks?
Assuming that one goes to a reputable studio that adheres to basic safety concerns, with tattoos, the biggest risk, and the only one that I'd describe as “common” is getting a bad tattoo. In the case of piercings, the risks are very minimal as well — the only piercings that I'd describe as at all risky are oral piercings since they can easily result in things like chipped teeth and gum erosion if jewelry isn't very carefully selected. I realize that there are those that bring up extreme infection risks, and even death, but to be perfectly honest, this is politicized fear-mongering — organized school sports, which we all accept as valid, are dramatically more risky than body modification ever could be.
I've of course ignored the societal risks such as some idiot picking a fight with you for your tattoo, but that's no more valid to bring up than it is to blame someone who was raped because “they were wearing a slutty dress and were begging for it.”
Y: Any good sites that I should direct people to (yours will already be there of course!)
I always send people to sites like www.cursor.org — not because it's a body modification site, but because it encourages critical thinking… And a person who can think, and applies this ability to their life, will always be happy with their body modification decisions.
We'll see what effect it has I suppose.
Oh, and I got this hilarious letter-to-the-editor funmail this morning:
truly just something to think about. having read what limited information i had access to (i cancelled/stopped my bme account long ago), for one so set on "free expression" and "open minded-ness", and ideals of these sorts, you sure seem to be clueless as to the condition of the world with your nazi-esque "anti war" statements, and absurdly strict rules for having an IAM page (one cannot truly express themself when they cannot be allowed to use their full range of feelings and emotions, regardless if YOU don't like their views). yes, i have interest in the site. some things appeal to me. i have mild amounts of tattoo work done. i have a few piercings/stretchings, etc etc. but it's honestly digusting how self-righteous and condescending you seem to act. it may be a facade, it may be a rouse, for as I know personally, real-life and internet are 2 completely different forums of human interaction. but for a person so "openly"... well... open, to the world, you are truly critical of the things you see. commenting on how "obese" a food court is or how this and that business runs a scam on you (whereas if you were truly intelligent, you would buy things from them to begin with) is one thing. DOING something about it is another. not to attack you personally, but it just seems your life views are somewhat off-center and for lack of a better term, hippie-ish. they're all about doing things for reasons that are fitting of the cause. i.e. stopping war cuz we bomb poor little kids (i know its not something you write, just an extreme facist idea i've heard before). things are fucked up in the world and complaining online about them isn't gonna do anything. just have fun with life. we're all gonna die one way. i'd rather die happy doing what i choose then to be nervous and distraught over the condition of housing in Cambodia. makes you think... don'cha think?
Remember, only a Nazi opposes war, and only extreme fascists oppose baby killing! And if you oppose people making racist rants in a private club, you're oppressing people — or worse yet, if you oppose homophobia, you might be a hippy. Heh… Well, I guess it illustrates the effects of the FOXNews culture pretty clearly (the notion of masking ignorance and apathy with some bizarroland definition of freedom).