Self-Cutting Meets Self-Scarification

So my first thought was, “wow, that’s a really great quality skin removal given that it’s DIY with a Swiss Army knife”… My second thought was, “YOU’RE CUTTING TOO DEEP! YOU’RE CUTTING TOO DEEP!”


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

69 thoughts on “Self-Cutting Meets Self-Scarification

  1. YIKES! It IS well done…but it’s rare something like this makes me squirm! I hope that wasn’t intentional…or I hope it was…I have no idea, circumstances don’t look good with either situation! Eep!

  2. That’s…intense. Although you can see previous scars in the same place so the dude must be used to the pain I guess.

  3. Dimruthien, just cause you dont agree with something doesn’t mean it’s stupid. now nu-metal, thats a different story, that is stupid.

  4. My suspicions were that it’s a short blade or a flathead screwdriver bit or something..and shannon’s cryptic answer (why not just say ‘it’s real’) leads me to believe that this is a puzzle…

  5. sometimes they have uber short blades on swiss army knives. Either way, i feel this is a puzzle. In my experience, there’s too much muscle to do that without really stabbing.
    in other news, *squick*

  6. Somehow the Swiss Army knife looks photoshopped some how…but maybe I’m just seeing things because it’s 4:30 a.m. where I am…

  7. Intence! I love it! I tried to do a self Scarification similar and yea, it looked like chicken scratch. I’m a bad artist to say the least.but this is sweet!

  8. I saw that and went “ARRRGH” and made a terrible face…which made everyone in my family run and see what i was looking at…lets just say my mom is’nt feeling very well. “she doesnt like blood” is an understatement.

  9. Yeah well, I’ve seen this on quite a while ago.
    reactions there were the same ^^ she had some other pictures with it with some stabbing wounds that were even more intense…
    Don’t know really what to think about it…

  10. There are some images and practices (such as pushing a penknife deep into yourself) that will do the BodMod scene a disservice. In the wrong (authoritarian) eyes this is just self harming and dangerous to the person involved.

  11. it’s extremely dangerous to be honest.
    this deep you can do severe damage to muscles etc…
    I don’t think such things are really taking “the scene” a step forward…

  12. Actually, since you don’t know exactly where on the body that is, then if the layer of fat is thick enough, you could go fairly deep without hitting muscle at all. Also what’s this crap about taking the scene forward? It’s about doing what you want with your own body.

    Is all I have to share.

    (And I agree. If people didn’t start doing stuff like this to THEMSELVES. . . Do you guys think we’d be where we are in modification today? It’s your body, do what you want. Or don’t. That’s the beauty of it being yours. )

  14. What about knicking arteries, veins, and the chances of infection? wouldnt it be difficult to properly sterilize a swiss army knife? Hopefully it was an accident… otherwise that just really dangerous.

  15. To people saying “what an idiot, etc.”, I wonder if they would say the same thing to people doing suspensions and so on? Because as I see it, this is an analogous ritual but with different specifics… Or even if that analogy isn’t obvious, it’s certainly very close to Aboriginal funerary cutting and rituals like that.

    It’s always interesting to me that for many people, the further they push their borders, the more conservative and negative to anything outside those borders.

  16. So come on then Shannon, what’s the ‘twist’ to this photo? I’m guessing by the enigmatic ‘It’s not a broken blade :)’ that there must be one? And if there isn’t and this is actually just a photo of someone stabbing themselves, then I’ve gotta say that it was massively irresponsible to post it.

  17. There’s no twist — it’s ritual scarification and artistic scarification rolled into one.

    PS. What’s irresponsible about posting self-stabbing, and what fundamentally differentiates self-stabbing and suspension?

  18. There aren’t any major arteries in subcutaneous fat of the abdomen so the chances of knicking a big enough artery to require a visit to the hospital is slim to none. I’ve knicked a small artery on my leg before and yeah it took longer to stop bleeding, but it did eventually stop. With enough pressure and bandages, small ones will stop. Yeah you could knick a vein and there are more sizeable veins in the abdomen than arteries, but venous bleeding is slower and much more likely to clot and therefore prevent bleeding to death. And it looks like this was a cut on a fatty part of the body based on the dimpling to the right of the star.
    Now if this is on the front of the upper, upper thigh it’s much more dangerous because you don’t have as much between the skin and muscle and the femoral artery is right fucking there.
    You’d really need to know where this cut is located before you can call it stupid. And yeah there’s the chance of infection but you don’t know what safety precautions were taken and DIY stuff almost always runs that risk anyway so I don’t see how this is much different.
    And how is it irresponsible to post this? Have you seen the ritual cutting galleries? Why should this site be responsible for those that don’t control their own reactions? If someone is easily triggered, they’re still making the choice by coming to a site like this to expose themselves to these kinds of images and there are other sources for pictures like this. We can’t be everyone’s parents. Also, hiding this kind of stuff makes those that do partake feel isolated and that is just as bad as being triggered. It helps to know you’re not alone.

  19. Giles – I haven’t mentioned either the motives or the outcomes, nor would I dare to suggest there is a consistency of either in self-stabbing or suspension… So I think it’s premature to make that statement (although I agree statistics and generalities may be on your side).

  20. wow…. cant say i understand why you’d go and do that to yourself, surely you could find something a little more sterile?
    and sharper? if you felt you HAD to surely there are better tools available to the public, right?

  21. I didn’t think that my opinion would be popular, but hey, we’re here debate & explore are we not? (Yes, I know that makes me sound like a hypocrite, coz if the photo was n’t posted there would be no discussion…).

    The question is, where do you draw the line? What is the difference between modification/ritual and self harm/mutilation? (I’m not claiming to know the answer to that, just interested to know what other people think. Having said that, I can see some fairly obvious differences between suspension and self-stabbing)

    ‘If someone is easily triggered, they’re still making the choice by coming to a site like this to expose themselves to these kinds of images’

    A fair point well made, in terms of resonsibility. The possibity of triggering of self-harming in vulnerable individuals was one of my concerns, a knee-jerk reaction if I’m honest. But then, you could argue that self-harm is compulsive and so to someone predisposed injuring themselves, it might not be as simple as ‘well don’t look at it then’.

    The other issue that worries me is what the motives were for the person who sent in the photo. It does look to me like they started off with a planned out scarification, then got carried away (screams of compulsive, possibly dangerous behaviour to me, not modification or ritual). has anyone considered that making this image public may have been a cry for help?

    Of course, this is all speculation on my part. I think it would be wise to include some kind of explanation (where & why, mostly) to go with photos like this. I suppose really, I just want to know that the person in the photo is okay.

  22. I don’t see why everyone is making such a big deal about this. This a website dedicated to letting people do what they want to with their body. We don’t question the mental status of people who hang themselves from hooks or people who tattoo their eyes or people who bisect their genitals but this person ruffles everyone’s feathers.

  23. I don’t think many of you guys who defend this sort of thing are realizing its secondary effects. Suppose this guy screws up, gets infected, and ends up in a hospital. He’s wasting the doctor’s time, the hospital’s resources, and probably the taxpayer’s money. Emergency Rooms are understaffed and overworked, as it is.

    If you don’t like calling someone like this “stupid,” how about “irresponsible” or “short sighted”?

  24. Casey, people doing what they want to their own bodies is one thing, but there are people in the world who are driven to injure & disfigure themselves because of an underlying psychological illness. Some of them may well end up showing the consequences of that illness on here. And before people start shouting me down, I did NOT say that everyone who engages in extreme mods is a headcase. Just thought I’d pre-empt that one ;-)

  25. Any modification could go bad, even if it’s done under perfect conditions things could still end badly.

    Maybe, even though you think they’re “irresponsible” or “short-sighted”, they wouldn’t go to the emergency room. Maybe someone willing to do a modification like that knows their body well enough that they would go to their doctor for help before it was a situation that required going to the ER.

    I don’t think we have the right to judge someone elses actions.

  26. As someone who used to cut, you tend to know when you’re vulnerable and if you’re looking for a trigger, you’ll find one. The idea of a trigger entails actually holding a gun, so if you’re not loaded, being around a trigger isn’t going to do anything. But you don’t wander around with a gun and try to start a fight with someone if you aren’t looking to use it. Cutting can be compulsive, which is not the same thing as impulsive. If it was purely impulsive, then yes, these kinds of images alone might lead to cutting. But a compulsion is more internal and can exist independently of external forces and input. It’s not as simple as “don’t look at it” but it’s pretty damn close to “don’t go looking for it” if you really don’t want to cut yourself. And even then, it’s still their choice and I really think the majority of harmful cutting is stimulated by everyday environment and events and minutely, if at all, by pictures on the internet. I come to this site all the time and the images never make me go slice myself. I actually find them calming and comforting because there is something so devastatingly lonely and isolating about being someone who has self-injured, that being able to see evidence of other people feeling the same way is soothing rather than stimulating. No need to hide the scars, whoo, that is a powerful feeling and so much stronger than the urge to make more. Of course, not everyone cuts for the same reasons, under the same conditions, or the same way and this is only my input from someone who has been there.
    And you don’t draw the line between self-harm and ritual. There are elements of both anytime you choose to modify your body and only the individual can know where their feelings are taking them. You don’t need to draw a line, except, perhaps, for yourself. The urge to destroy and the urge to create are often two sides of the same coin and banning one could very well quell the other and that isn’t a sacrifice that I think is necessary. Self destruction, while damaging, is also often very instructional and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through the things I have and it has made me stronger, more understanding, and more open. I wouldn’t trade those qualities for anything, even if it means I’d have a lot fewer nasty memories and scars. It’s self education.
    There is a unique rush and release with pain and perhaps the scarification alone wasn’t bringing the intended feelings and so a final jab was needed to complete the experience, which, to me, doesn’t sound like a cry for help. And considering this is anonymous, it’d be a shitty cry for help anyway.
    But I hope they’re okay too and that they accomplished what they needed, what they wanted with this, and if they did, fuck what anyone else has to say (me included)

  27. lalala – Whether or not this person has an illness is none of our business.

    I know that there are illnesses out there that make people disfigure their body but I’m willing to look at the mod for what it is – a mod. I don’t want or need to think about the mental status of the person in the picture. It’s like the girl who had slut tattooed all over her body. Maybe she has issues or maybe she doesn’t – I’ll accept her either way.

  28. ErosAndMe, thank you; you’ve given me a lot to think about & I appreciate you sharing your experiences so eloquently.
    Casey, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. The reasons & motivations behind why people do what they do interests me infinitely more than the end result. I’m not saying that it should matter to everyone, or that there’s anything wrong with taking mods at face value, just that it matters to me. (So I’m not even going to get started on how I feel about Michelle’s tattoos, I have to work in the morning & I would be here all night!)

  29. I have a 1″x.5″ scar on my thigh where, as a youth engaged in youthful model-making pursuits, i followed through on a cut and buried a Stanley knife into my quads.

    No pain, no intention, with (luckily) no long-term consequences nor repercussions.

    Intense luck.

    If I’d taken a photograph, I hate to think what some of you would think of it.

    The older I get, the more I wonder at the intolerance of even the most non-standard of cultures.

  30. So.. how come no one talks about the mental state of any of the performance artists on this site or the people who attend the performances.

    Those are essentially the same thing and noone starts a discussion on those.

  31. I’d be very surprised if any of the motives behind self stabbing (self-harm) were not already well documented and understood. Even if only as a form of catharsis it would be more than well realised.

  32. An experience is an experience. I don’t see why everyone thinks its such a huge deal, calling it an illness, or stupid, or irresponsible, whatever.

    I bet there are people here who watch Tranny porn. I could easily ask “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” But I wouldn’t, because it’s not my preference, it’s yours.

    Would I do this? No. Would many of you? No. But that doesn’t give anyone to judge or make assumptions.

    It doesn’t matter because it’s not up to anyone here to decide whether or not someones mods or body play is stupid. They know their risks before they take them, and different experiences are worth different risks to different people. There is no set standard, we all have freedom enough to decide for ourselves.

    Rather than debating on the morality or taboo of this, why can’t you look at it from its own logical standpoint: Someone did something that you don’t see often, and shared pictures of their experience with Mod Blog.

    I think that’s beautiful enough to be appreciated.

  33. This is really interesting, and the discussion in here is also very interesting. I don’t think I would be brave enough to do this myself, but I wonder what the scar looks like now, healed.

  34. i admit now, i havent read every post in depth – but as i was reading more and more… i just wanted to put my thoughts down (or up).

    Both me and my ex were self harmers, (not together, it just happened that we were that way inclined) and we each have personal reasons for doing different things to our bodies.
    I have gone to a piercers before and paid to have my tongue pierced twice in one sitting, with the complete understanding and knowledge in my head that i was depressed and i needed that sort of release. (of course i never told this to me piercer) As far as i see it peoples choices and peoples reasons and intentions are personal and are their own. We are not here to say whats stupid and whats not.

    So when you think about it, maybe i should have had screening to see if my piercing was intentional self-harm before it was done? or maybe that should remain personal?

    The mental states that modified people have do interest me, i never considered suspension until my ex hung himself. And during my time of grief i wanted to be there – i wanted to have a suicide suspension, i still dont understand why – would it have been a form of self-harm? a punishment to myself, so i would feel his pain? or was it because i wanted to feel like i was spiritually as close as i could get to his last moments?
    Who knows, because i dont, and id hope that noone would judge me, its the confusion/question, the search and the outcomes that join us – and that should be celebrated not looked down on.

    We are here to share experiences, and the motives behind them – but we are not here to negativly judge and we definetly dont have a right to label something as stupid, because after everything, we will never have a complete understanding of each others minds.

    Not that im saying anyones opinions are wrong, im only saying we can never generalise or lable something that can never be completely understood.

  35. Clearly this is not a modification of any kind and the experience of harming and the subsequent endorphin release puts it in a category on par with the experience of self harmers. Suspension (unless I am much mistaken) has a variety of experiences but the hook insertion is surely not the primary reason many do it.

    Unless, of course, there are other explanations for this.

    This has more in common with joy-riding than piercing sadly.

  36. :D
    I’d love to know what the scar looks like now.
    Is it possible for you to get a picture of it healed?

  37. Any chance that something as triggering as this for cutters can be put behind a cut? I’m 4 years no cutting, have had lots of piercings, fun knife and blood play, and still find images like this distressing. The reason this is so particularly triggering is because of the tool used – I think a lot of us cutters started with swiss army knives given to us as presents by unsuspecting family/friends. Anyway, just a request.

  38. …sounds like reasonable request to me, if not for this post then at least for any similar future ones. But in Shannon’s world that would be interfering with your liberties; I’ve started this argument elsewhere so I’m not going to drag it up again here. Nay, just wanted to say congrats on the four years without cutting & hope that you continue to find the strength to stick to your decision. Peace.

  39. Where is this scar located? The blade on the Swiss Army kife shown is not that long, if in the right location and the rigth angle, the knife wouldn’t do much harm.

  40. Hello,
    I am a social work major and doing my Senior Thesis on self-cutting and intervention methods. I am looking for feedback from anyone who is an adolescent or cut during adolescents to share with me their experience with interventions. What worked? What didn’t work? Also any comments about how you were treated by professionals helping you. Names will not be used in my study. Please repost to blog or email me at Make subject self-cutting please. Thank you!

  41. “It’s not a broken blade :)”

    the twist is there is not a twist. people looked for a twist to make it not real but it is, there is a knife deep inside whatever is being “stabbed”.

    and as for this persons motivation into doing this it is their own business people can complain call them stupid or an idiot, but i dnt think tht person gives a shit and they may be happy about it. they are expessing themselves in way they want to and is this any different from DEEP piercings i wouldn’t say it is, except for maybe the possibility of greater dangers so i think we should all enjoy the photo.

  42. We live in a free country, don’t we? Anyway, years ago, tattoos were considered taboo, so who is anyone to decide whether or not such a practice is “crossing the line.” I’m kind of intruigued, myself….

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