Mac “Dr Evil” Mccarthy, a full-spectrum bod mod artist at Punctured in Wolverhampton recently did a nipple removal (or a “nipple skin removal” might be a better way to put it because the “body” of the nipple is still there under the surface as is all the glandular tissue), which of course I’m in full support of if that’s what someone wants to do, and he posted some very nice pictures of it as well. But where he’s got my paranoia freaking out in overdrive is that he did it on camera for a television show. I think what body modification artists may forget in today’s world where these procedures have a high profile and a history is that technically speaking, there is a line somewhere — and I can’t say for sure where that line is — that when you cross it, you’re legally in the medical world, and there are a broad range of criminal charges that can be thrown at you. It’s rare, but it does happen. It’s why in “the old days”, modification practitioners (“cutters” being the term more common at the time) rarely put their name on procedures, and instead had their customers discretely refer qualified customers to them to stay a step away from potential prosecution.
Time has shown that overall the authorities would rather leave us alone, especially if we keep our heads down. The few charges than have been filed have usually resulted from complaints being filed by pissed off parents, or from an artist getting too high a media profile and becoming “impossible to ignore”. And I worry so, so, so, so, so much that when you put yourself on TV doing procedures than a great many people would claim are illegal to do without medical training (whether that is true or not is a complex matter), you stick your neck out so far that it’s gonna get chopped. That you get so loud that they can’t ignore you. Trust me, I of all people know how fun and how ego-satisfying it is to see your name up in lights, to be able to show off the supercool extreme mods you just did, but trust me also, that I of all people can tell you how soul-destroying and miserable it is to be dragged through the courts. It is not an experience I should wish on anyone.
Now, if someone is charged, you can bet that I’ll do everything in my power to defend and protect that person. And I am quite certain that BME, BodyMod.org, and the grass-roots bodymod community would rally to protect them as well. But all things considered, I’d rather not see that happen. Odds are nothing will happen here. But it’s playing with fire. I really want to encourage mod artists to be careful. Don’t get complacent and assume you’re safe. You’re putting your ass on the line every time you help someone realize their modification dreams. You’re sacrificing your safety to help others. It is a noble thing you do. Please keep yourself safe so that you can keep on improving people’s lives.
Anyway, let’s put those dreadful thoughts out of mind for a moment, and get on to the super-cool procedure!
I know some will point out that the cuts do not fully follow Langer’s lines to minimize scarring, but I believe the justification on the cuts was to minimize the amount of tissue removed to make closure easier, and in any case, since the removal is in the middle of black tattooing, any scar that does form can be easily tattooed over in the long run anyway.