“Blood and Guts and Scars”

These are the lyrics to “Little Panda McElroy” by Xiu Xiu, if it makes any difference to the way you choose to interpret the image…

See more in Ritual Cutting (Ritual)

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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 BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

40 thoughts on ““Blood and Guts and Scars”

  1. Honestly, I think it’s beautiful. I don’t think that this is any different or any more “wrong” than anything else on this site. It’s all amazing and can be very empowering for people.

  2. i want to know if this was a ritual cutting or self harm. because there is a world of difference between the two. if this is ritual cutting, great. it’s lovely, i like the sentiment of the lyrics, it’s a powerful thing to try to leave permanently on the body. if it’s self harm, then this is either someone who is looking for attention through self harm or this is someone asking for help, and telling someone who’s asking for help “oh, that’s nice” is not helping them. any other information on the purpose of this shannon?

  3. I agree that there is a difference between ritual cutting and self harm. A huge difference. I love this. Xiu Xiu is a pretty great band.

  4. Hmm not too sure on the self harm dressed up as ‘ritual cutting’

  5. Emaline/AZSkye – What in your opinion is the difference between “self harm” and “ritual cutting”?

    As I see it, both are the act of ‘physicalizing’ emotion. I think it’s just that in our culture we have a deep fear of negative emotions (grief, etc) and seek to bury them away. Many traditional cultures (most obviously Aboriginal Australians) feel the opposite, and believe that it’s healthy to express grief and sadness physically with things like self-cutting, to transform emotional scars into physical scars.

    Some of the oldest forms of body modification, and perhaps the originals of human religion, fall into the “self-harm” category.

  6. Do not forget that self harm is often an important ritual for the person who does it. Inflicting physical pain and bleeding is often the only medisin to relieve the true pain they are suffering. By respecting the way they cope with whatever trouble they might have in their life, we do help them. By admiring the scars, instead of judging them, we help them. By letting them show what they are forced to hide from the people around them, we help them. By not understanding, or wanting to even try to understand, you are closing the door in their face. Just like most people do. Who is the judge of someone elses ritual?

  7. So tired of hearing people say people who cut themselves are “asking for help”… after years of hearing it I want to stab myself in the eyeball. That’s frustration for you.
    Shannon had a lot more patience explaining it than I would.

  8. Havve, thank you for that. As a recovering SI’er (twice in the last year as opposed to daily…) I wholly appreciate it.
    As for the picture, I want to hug her.. but at the same time, I like it. For some odd reason, SI scars/cuts are just beautiful to me. (I look at it as a way to heal/stay alive). I understand how it can be misunderstood for wanting attention, or wanting to commit suicide. But ask any SI’er.. that’s usually NOT the case.

  9. Number 17, just as not everyone who shows and tells is looking for help, not everyone who shows and tells is secure enough in asking for help. It’s a legitimate concern, I think.
    And Shannon, I think the difference between ritual and self-mutilation are two things:
    Control and hate.
    Just like with drugs and other finer things in life, you can be healthy and do it in moderation, but when it starts crossing the line into addiction then things will get ugly.
    And when you cut yourself not simply out of emotional release, but to punish yourself because you feel that you are a despicable human being that deserves to be hurt, that’s a problem.
    I speak from experience. I realize that just because it applies to me it’s not going to apply to everyone else. Just my two cents.

  10. Oh wow..I’m on Modblog :O

    I should probably provide my personal point of view on this, I most definitely count this particular incident as more of a ritual cutting thing than self-harm, in that I did it purely for aesthetics sake, and because I love the song and the lyrics. (obviously) I’ve had a lot of experience with self-harm, certainly enough to be able to differentiate between the two.

  11. I’m torn on how I feel about “cutting” versus “ritual” but I think this image is beautiful and I hope that it helps them in the long run.

  12. #19, I completely understand what you mean but even if someone would cut in big bold letters “I love myself” (it seems to me from what I keep on observing) that you would still have people commenting about how this person needs help (for how many times I heard this comment about myself I just spin around now). I would completely agree with you though on the difference between control and hate for the act itself. Most definitely.

  13. i’m sort of waiting for the day we start to see ed girls on modblog. food rituals are still ‘rituals,’ as well. and what’s more body modifying than dropping 20% below a healthy body weight?

  14. In a way self harm is a ritual. It was an automatic reaction to a situation or emotion I found difficult to deal with or express in a verbal way…but that’s just me personally. Where do you draw the line, and make the distinction??

  15. I’m so in love with the human form, especially the female one that to see skin covered in scars really ruins the aesthetic for me

  16. I can tell you the difference between “self harm” and “ritual cutting”, and of anyone who is capable of commenting on this particular scene, my qualifications speak for themselves.

    There is a difference, of course, and it is this: “ritual cutting” in no way involves a sense of self loathing, self destruction, or feelings associated with major depression on the part of the subject. “self harm” on the other hand, incorporates one or more of the above.

    That said, it is very, very clear that the cutting pictured here is “self harm” and not “ritual cutting”. Look behind the fresh cutting and note the dozens of older, random “self harm” wounds and scars”. This person is not in it for the ritual.

    I know, I know. It’s an unpopular point of view, but it’s an experiential one, having been on both sides of that fence myself. From my own experience, and extensive experience with others who slice themselves to ribbons because they don’t understand what “boundaries” are (usually do to something somewhere between a major chemical imbalance and just being a selfish idiot), almost no one experiences both sides of this fence. If you do ritual cutting, that’s what you’ll always do. If you do self harm, THAT’s what you’ll always do, where cutting is involved.

    So is self harm so awful?

    No. It is what it is, and in many ways its superior to ritualistic cutting, which is generally soaked with ego and one-up-man-ship. At least people who do self harm tend to stay pretty quiet about it and are generally not to interested in a lot of attention beyond the people they’re trying to manipulate with their behavior.

  17. #25 – Well, I noticed it was sharpened and “colour balanced” but thats about it.

  18. Hear hear #27. I’m your friend now.

    This picture doesn’t belong here. Self harm is not something that should be showed off on a bodmod-webpage, honestly it shouldn’t be showed off anywhere at all.

  19. 26-
    i think scars make the human form that much more beautiful. it shows an awareness of the body, and the struggles that have been overcome.

  20. ritual cutting is a fancy name for self harm…

    that being said, it’s NOT a bad thing unless you’re depressed/suicidal/etc….

  21. I agree with both 27 and 30. This seems beyond ritual cutting, and more as self harm. The fact that they are lyrics doesn’t make it “art” any more than the scars underneath the lyrics.
    This _is_ and unpopular view, but I personally feel that there would be many other images of ritual cutting that wouldn’t indicate an issue of self harm that would be better placed here.

  22. BTW, re: “people who cut are trying to manipulate others”

    That’s generally false; the vast majority cut in a way where they try and hide it from others (by choosing private locations or dressing to hide it), especially those in their immediate life… Cutting is in general a private act (picture posting notwithstanding).

  23. i dont know about this person..but used t o cut simply because i liked it..i liked the blood and i liked the look of it…maybe im just sick and twisted..

  24. I’ve been a cutter for many years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something more appropriate cut into flesh. Too often, we never look into our own hearts to see how good of people we really are.

  25. Whether or not you agree with self harm as a viable method of release and as a coping method, it is to some people and it is not up to you to form a distinct line of right and wrong. Obviously, if a self injurer becomes addicted to the coping method and is dependant on it there must be some sort of intervention in which they are shown other methods of coping and dealing with whatever they’re going through. As an ex-self injurer it became addictive to me and I’m glad that I found a way to cope without it, because while it fixed my problems temporarily it brought about things I didn’t want.

    Whether or not you are a self injurer, the beauty of this piece is remarkable. I can honestly say that, for me at least, it brings some form of closure. It shows self injury in a better light instead of letting it be swept under the rug.

    I completely disagree withh #30; who is to say that self injury shouldn’t be “shown off”, as you put it, here or anywhere else? I have scars from self injury that I’m proud to show off. It marks a journey I went through, much as someone’s tattoos or piercings or burns could. Body modification isn’t limited to what you define as “right and wrong”. Body modification is art, and body modification is the modification of someone’s body in any way. This piece is beautiful for what it is and if you can’t appreciate it, move on. Modblog has something for everyone; I daresay you couldn’t find something else to talk about.


  26. a few of these comments made me sick. self-harm scars are art. ‘pretty pictures of hatred.’ they’re beautiful and are truer to art (in my mind) as a real expression of angst as opposed to a trendy cutting of a flower or a drunk spontaneous tattoo. But that’s just my opinion, even as a self injurer myself, i don’t pretend to understand other people’s motivations for self injury or tattoos(everyone has different reasons, and not all are attention whoring or manipulative or trendy), and i don’t put people down if their reasons differ with mine or if i just think they’re ridiculous, neither should any of you.

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