There was a post over on AskBME today in which the criticism was re-raised that I don’t soft-censor cutting images due to issues of “triggering”… This was my response:
First of all, as I’ve said before, if someone is mentally ill to the point where they can not control their own actions, they should be seeking help, not reading BME. This applies to all parts of BME.
Seriously, if you are unable to take responsibility for your own actions, DO NOT put yourself in harms way by reading BME.
BME is intended for healthy individuals who enjoy a positive experience in body modification and ritual. I do not believe that the site should be geared toward people for whom body modification/ritual is an illness.
The REALITY is that when we’re talking about “triggering”, the piercing sections, tattoo sections, and so on are far more triggering — it’s just that fewer readers see being triggered in these areas as a negative thing. Singling out the cutting section is largely a game of POLITICS, not genuine concern for the underlying problem that people are deeply influenced by the actions of others. I feel very much that pretending that what amounts to “peer pressure” is a problem unique to the cutting section of the site is a mistake.
Now, I understand that I tend to take a somewhat no-compromises or radical stance on these matters rather than seeking out the safe or mainstream stance that most people feel is “reasonable” (and I appreciate how one could come to the opposite conclusion), but I really do think it’s important to be honest about this being much more about politics and cultural bias than anything else. Ignoring the fact that it’s very difficult to make a compelling objective case that differentiates cutting from play piercing, suspension, pulling, and other ritual that’s rarely decried, the truth of the matter is that when it comes to triggering, the whole site is a giant trigger for those who are prone to being influenced by peer pressure.
One of the reasons I know this is that if I post a particularly nice serious of photos of a modification, I’ll almost always receive an influx of that particular modification over the next little while, as people see the pictures and decide that it’s something they want to do as well. How many times have I seen comments along the lines of “this makes me really want to suspend” or “this makes me really want to get another tattoo” and so on? Even in a culture that’s steeped in the concept of individualism, the truth is that a significant percentage of people are deeply influenced and “triggered” by the actions of others.
Again, I’d strongly urge people who are not able to take responsibility for their own actions (let alone control their own actions) not read BME (or at least the sections of BME that they’re not comfortable around) or other “triggering” media and get the help they need so they can be happy and self-empowered individuals. I’m sorry if some people feel that makes light of their mental illness, but I’d like to keep BME focused on people for whom body modification and ritual is a positive force, not those who see it as a mental illness.
And now, a beautiful butterfly play piercing by Kevin: