The politics of Body Modification?

I removed the post that Sean put up earlier which was causing such controversy. I didn’t want the discussion to keep revolving around one person’s tattoos because we don’t know if that person is a racist or just an idiot (if it’s the first then it looks like the answer would be both).

Shannon and I have been discussing the post via email earlier and he reminded me of this old post of a Hitler portrait from a tattooer in Singapore. As it stands now and has been the policy for years, racist and hategroup tattoos go into the Political Section of BME. Similar to the Animal Tattoo & Piercing sections, we don’t support it but BME’s mandate is to archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community, even the ignorant aspects of it. However, that doesn’t expand to other parts of BME like IAM.

IAM’s long standing TOS states the following:

“IAM is a community built around principles of tolerance. You may not post hatespeech (race, gender, or sexuality-based attacks). This includes use of terms like “gay” or “fag” or “kike” in a derogatory manner, even in jest. This rule is very strict, and extends to racist codes and iconography (“14″, “88″, and so on), as well as NSBM and racist band lists and so on. This includes verifiable offsite posts. To be very clear about this: if you are a bigot, onsite or off, stay off IAM. This is not a ban on racism. This is a total ban on bigots.”

This begs the question as far as political commentary on racist tattoos. I personally don’t want to see them get any more attention than they deserve, which is why they’re generally quietly filed away, along with other ill advised modifications. We can’t sit back and pretend that they don’t exist but we also don’t need to give them any room in the spot light that is Modblog.

As both Sean and I have said in the comments section, neither of us recognized the tattoo as a Totenkopf. At first glance I thought it was three skulls because you couldn’t see the entire tattoo. I was sent some messages stating that the racist aspect of the tattoo should be ignored because it wasn’t the focus of the post. The focus of the post was the small boobs and not tattoos. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. One of the other reasons we can’t flat out reject racist tattoos is that we simply don’t have the manpower to be fully adept at all the secret racist codes out there. As none of the staff on BME are racists, we don’t know the secret handshakes. So we try to file the tattoos where they belong. Maybe it would be more helpful if racists grew balls and weren’t so embarrased by their beliefs that they have to disguise them.

The reasoning for this post was to give you guys a post to comment on that wasn’t attacking a specific individual. So let your thoughts fly.

110 thoughts on “The politics of Body Modification?

  1. This was the last comment I posted:

    LaurenElizabeth posted here saying that it was a prussian war skull.

    Automutilation: You seriously cannot credit Shannon with the swastika and “it’s resurgence as a peaceful symbol”. Try Buddhism. He and I discussed this post earlier today and we both agreed that it was a racist tattoo.

    This is NOT CENSORSHIP. I am not going to promote hate on the site. The easiest thing I could do to quell this conversation would be to remove the post entirely. I’m not because I’m leaving the post up for discussion.

    I’m tired of these “censorship” accusations. I let all the comments on modblog go through except for spam and people threatening to kill me. It isn’t censorship to remove a post that I don’t support. This is my blog and I get to decide what to promote. Hate Tattoos aren’t something I support.

    Mike has been messaging me about the tattoos and claiming that I censor BME now and blah blah blah. I’ve asked him if he wants to recant the meaning of his SS unicorn tattoo because he claims that tattoo of the rainbow unicorn is the same as this totenkampf tattoo. If that’s the case then he’ll be removed from IAM for violating the tattoos. I thought it was clear that the SS Rainbow Unicorn was making a mockery of the hate behind white power. I guess I was wrong.

    I am not “caving in” to people who are upset by the photo. Had I known it was a such a symbol of hatred and the torture and murder of millions of Jews, I would have never posted it in the first place. It should not have been posted. I am not offended by the tattoo.

    If you guys want it back up, then fine, I’ll put it back up. I’ll be caving in to the people who are claiming “censorship” if anything, which is more upsetting to me than anything because I would actually be caving where as before I wasn’t doing anything but removing a post that I would not have published in the first place had I known the meaning of the tattoo.

  2. I took down the post so we could have a meaningful discussion about the posting of racist/hate tattoos and what it means for our community. I did not want this to turn into an attack or discussion of the person wearing the tattoo.

    If we post Buddhist swastikas along with Nazi swastikas then the general population will not learn the difference between the two. I am trying to educate the community outside of our small world and I have to do it the right way.

  3. Did I hear my name?

    The thing that bugged me on that last one was people playing a game of “maybe it’s not a Nazi totenkopf”. The thing is, it’s LINE-FOR-LINE a Nazi totenkopf. This isn’t like a swastika where it could be buddhist or any number of other things. This was a very specific iteration of the Nazi totenkopf, and to willfully say it isn’t either shows that the person is lying or that they’re totally ignorant. Anyone can go and look up the images and compare.

    It bothers me a great deal when people get racist tattoos and then play a game of pretending that they’re not — “oh, it’s just runes” or “oh, it’s just about my heritage” or “no, I was born in ’88″ or whatever (and yes, I realize that “sometimes an 88 is just an 88″, but that’s not what I’m talking about here). What, you are “proud” enough of your politics to tattoo them, but ashamed enough to not be willing to admit it? Isn’t part of the BME mindset being proud of who you are and shouting it from the rooftops? The only thing worse in this context than lying about what you’re about while trying to communicate in a secret code with likeminded folks (“don’t piss on my legs and tell me it’s raining”), is when people get Nazi or otherwise problematic images because they’re ignorant of the meaning or worse yet, think they’re funny. Come on, believing really base attempts to shock is “funny” or “profound” or “cool” is childish.

    Anyway, I like hearing everyone’s stories. Personally, I like hearing why someone got a nazi totenkopf, and I watch documentaries on every part of the human experience, and I tried to do that a bit on BME when I was editing it (hence things like the interview with a scratcher, and the shit-eating-aids-wanting interview that got some flack). What I don’t like are lies and ignorance and subterfuge and least of all, the false outrage.

    This stuff should be documented on BME, but it should not be held up for idolization on ModBlog, at least not without an accompanying interview to give it context and commentary.

  4. I saw that post, and I just thought of it as a random skull…now looking back (and trying to remember it) I suppose it could’ve been a totenkopf.

    I’d like to thank you, Rachel, for doing a great job on BME – it’s not censorship to remove something that could be hate related and is causing a serious shit storm. I think that there is always a form of censorship, everywhere, and I think that it is very big of you guys at BME to have a special section for racial tattoos (I personally wouldn’t be able to as I’d probably find them so offensive!). It’s perfect, so it doesn’t offend anyone that doesn’t want to see it, but the questionable tattoos can still be seen by those that would like to see them for whatever reason (whether it be curiosity or wanting to learn some of the symbols, or even people who are racist).

  5. I just realized how much the two “SS” at the end of “KISS” (the band) look like the SS symbols from Germany.

  6. Nice to see Shannon involved in this “philosophy of BME” discussion.

    IMO, it’s fine to catalog it on BME. I have no problem with cataloging. ManWoman was one of the first modded people I ever saw (many, many years ago) and I was impressed by his decision. He had a reason for doing what he did. Presumably the girl from the previous post did too, and the guy with the Hitler portrait, etc. Whatever their reasons are, they are VALID REASONS.

    Now, I think artists should not be forced to do such tattoos. They have personal integrity at stake; if they don’t want to tattoo what they perceive as an offensive symbol, they shouldn’t have to. But if someone DOES do such a tattoo, their work should be cataloged. The variety of things people get on their bodies should be cataloged. No arguments here about that. Put the Aryan Brotherhood tattoos up here too.

    HOWEVER…I don’t think it’s necessary on ModBlog. The picture in question was already removed by the time I saw the post, so I have no idea if it was actually posted as a super massive awesome piece of artwork, or just a hot chick. But ModBlog is a subjective collection of “these are the best works” and NOT a catalog. As blog writers, you have to consider what your audience will enjoy the most. Clearly, the readers of ModBlog don’t want to see Nazi symbols. When writing a blog (which I have done for nearly 10 years now) you have to consider your audience. If you don’t do that, you won’t have an audience for long.

    To summarize: Catalog it in BME – yes. Showcase it on ModBlog – no.

  7. great … now i gotta worry about where the bones cross on my skulls.

    i didnt pay enough attention to the chest tat to weigh in,
    i kinda wish i could see it again :C

    it seems odd, that two posts after goggle or whatever calling ‘porn’
    we have a giant grain of sand in our twat over a skull …
    im not sayin’ anything,
    im just sayin …

  8. Censorship is done by government entities or by media. Privately-run websites such as ModBlog have every right to choose what content they wish to display. Which is to say that eejits who want to see racist tattoos can go elsewhere; Rachel and the ModBlog staff are absolutely within their rights not to want to air such stupidity and vileness here.

  9. i think the whole thing is a slippery slope.

    even i don’t totally disagree with removing the post.
    the fact is….it is divisive.

    where it gets cloudy is the idea of attempting to purge iam of “racists”.
    i mean, where does it stop….Ok….no prior links to hate groups, or related web sites….no tattoos that could be deemed racist…up to and including runes or then any norse mythology…..then celtic mythology, what about confederate flags, or american flags….

    Do we then have to sign a statement swearing we are not a racist?
    Or have to swear we have never said the “N” word.

    Lets face it…we ALL see the drama that thrives in a lot of these forums especially the private ones.
    We are NOT a community of friends.
    I mean, everyone knows the iam member who has the random TOS generator on his page….yet has HE ever been TOS’d?
    That doesn’t mean we are NOT a community.

    I am not here to argue for or against racists…I DON”T CARE.
    i only argue in favor of TITTIES.

  10. I have to say that one was new to me. Really, I thought I was familiar with the majority of them but I wouldn’t have caught on to that one either.

    Like Rachel said, we aren’t going to necessarily recognize every hate tattoo and unfortunately, like Shannon and Rachel both mentioned, most people with hate tattoos won’t admit that they’re hate tattoos.

  11. I didn’t see the post but…. Can I just mention how fucking happy it makes me to see Shannon and Rachel being kind to each other?! As stupid as it sounds it really did make my night!

  12. The thing I found odd about it was that I believe (and correct me if I am wrong) she posted something saying about how her Grandfather was in the war and I’m assuming that was her idea behind getting it.

    I almost wish she either told us PRECISELY why she got it, or that she owned up to the ignorance of not realizing what is was (although I highly doubt that).

    Also it makes me curious about the placement of it too. I personally think for a while about things like that. For example for some reason chest pieces, or any type of torso work always have some sort of greater importance. Almost because it’s close to the heart in a way.

    Yeah……I sound a little sentimental. I’ll be quiet now =(

  13. Also sorry to Rachel if I offended you with my comment on the last one.

    I wasn’t trying to say that your censoring anything, but mainly that you have the complete right to kick whatever it may be off here.

    And also thumbs up for being as diplomatic as possible.

  14. It’s kind of hard to have a discussion about this when you got rid of the post. It leaves no context for anyone else to discuss or look back to for reference.. No one that wasn’t already a part of the conversation can join.

    This post wasn’t about white power tattoos, it was about small titties. There happened to be a white power tattoo in it. Then they erased the picture. Then brought it back, with the tattoo edited out. Then erased the post entirely.

    According to wiki, “Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.”

    I would feel comfortable to call this a media outlet. FoxNews is a media outlet. When you suppress information or “communicative material” it is censorship. Though I understand it is Fox’s right and ability do so, as well as it is yours, that does not mean I agree. Rupert Murdoch can broadcast anything he wants and suppress anything he wants. Does that mean it’s right? Obviously, that’s an extreme example but still the same concept.

    I don’t believe in any form of censorship, and that’s what my position is and my problem with this in general.. Just because it’s something you don’t like, shouldn’t mean it’s removed. I’m all for bashing it, but deletion is removing information. When you remove information you stifle diversity. This site is based on diversity. Censorship should never be on this site.

    That’s my logic.. and my gripe.

  15. Might as well pretend swastikas don’t exist on the foundation that the nazis used them. If the swastika was facing to the right does that make it a NAZI swastika, line for line and suddenly become a hate symbol? Well, I’m sure the uninformed in every day life would call the wearer a nazi and scum. Hmph, silly buddhist nazis, who were apparently nazis before nazis. The nazis may have ruined the stigma with the totenkopf, although anything used in war is pretty bad, but the totenkopf was always a totenkopf and they took it. Yeah, the made it more realistic, compared to the more archaic prussian version, but the totenkopf is a totenkopf as a swastika is a swastika. Just my two cents. Feel free to call me a nazi. I mean… I am white. I’m sure I even have German in my heritage. I must be a nazi? No.

  16. what about mikes tattoo on his ass of the unicorn with the swastika and the SS bolts? HUHHHHHHHHHHHH?

  17. And in the end, pretending something doesn’t exist and sticking fingers in your ears doesn’t make it go away. It’s funny because that’s the inability to accept. I love how the initial reaction of what should be an accepting community is to jump down someone’s throat and keep closed minds. Tsk. Tsk.

  18. I think that offensive/racist things should be available, but as I said, I like that it’s in the political section. Not posting it on the main page makes sense, given that it’s most likely just going to cause a shit storm of comments not related to the tattoo itself, but what it stands for. I think that having a section for it is a great way to keep people who would be offended from viewing it, but still having it available for others to see, much like how porn is kept separate from other things (and not just because you need to be 18 for it, but many adults are genuinely offended by it, and shouldn’t have to see it if they don’t want to). Although I try to be as diverse as possible, there are going to be things that I find offensive. I’ve got to admit that part of my family is Jewish, so I’m not really interested in seeing lots of white supremacist images. I know it exists, but it shouldn’t be thrown in my face.

  19. Absolutely last thing as I’ve completely lost interest.
    In regards to gang tattoos now. We should ban those as well… and not allow them into restaurants???

    The Sureños identify themselves with the color blue and sometimes gray, mostly with Los Angeles Dodgers (the baseball team of their home town), Duke University and Dallas Cowboys apparel. Their gang number is thirteen! An additional significance of the LA Dodgers lies in the numbers corresponding to letters of the alphabet: L (12) + A (1) = 13.

    So LA is a gang tattoo and anyone wearing an LA tattoo is obviously in a gang.


  20. Automutilation & Ru

    I think that you both have valid points, and this isn’t said often enough in conversation/blogs, but you’ve both posed questions that I haven’t considered before. I think that the main problem is the intention behind the tattoo – maybe someone has a racist tattoo that they hadn’t realized was racist, or it was supposed to be sarcastic, etc. Assuming that only racist tattoos with racist intentions behind them are not allowed, what’s to stop any racists from claiming that their tattoo had a different meaning behind it, in order to get it posted? I’m not sure that what the tattoo means to the person should be the deciding factor, simply because we can never know what someone is thinking, and whether or not their lying about it (especially given that, as Shannon said, racists will get a tattoo, but then lie about the meaning).

  21. Again, with that logic, anything can be construed to fit that format. Which is exactly why people don’t like Nazi’s in the first place. Propaganda, book burning, censorship were all tenants of the Nazi regime and what made it possible for them to kill millions of Jewish people.. If there was free information, the world population would have never let it get that far..

    Now, I’m not saying this removal of this posting will lead to such atrocities.. But that censorship and removal is exactly what Nazi’s did.. So how can you agree to censor Nazis? Like I said in the old post,
    “We hate this white supremacist book! Yeah!?! Lets BURN it!”

    When you reject one, it leads to another. And though you don’t want it in your face, it is a fact of life. Some people out there want to ban all tattoos or piercings or scars or other forms of modification. Google thinks suspension is pornography.. Google is a business too.. Are you saying that you and Google have the same idea?

    How can you disagree with such censorship, then all of a sudden say “Oh well, if it’s something I don’t want to see, that’s ok!”

  22. Automutilation: You have to be joking??? The reason that people don’t like nazi’s isn’t because of their propaganda, their book burning and their censorship. It was their attempt to exterminate not only the Jews but every other race, sexuality, birth defect that didn’t fit their idea of the perfect race.

    This is not censorship. Your categorization of it is immature and shows that you don’t understand the pure nature of the subject at hand. Had I left the post up, it would have continued to fuel the fire and the possibly unnecessary persecution of a young IAM member who will hopefully outgrow her racist ideals. If she doesn’t understand the nature of the tattoo that she has place front and center on her chest, I hope that with time she will understand the consequences of her beliefs and actions and will have the tattoo removed or covered up.

    As I have said countless times, if either Sean or I had noticed that it was a racist tattoo, it would not have been posted and there wouldn’t even have been this conversation. IT DOES NOT MATTER THAT THE SUBJECT OF THE POST WAS SMALL BREAST AND “ITTY BITTY” TATTOOS. They distracted from the fact that there was a partially covered up Totenkapf tattoo.

    Had the tattoo not been partially covered up, I would have recognized it instead of at first glance thinking it was a skull and two 3/4 views of a skull. As I’ve spent the last week putting together collectors editions of flash, I would have noticed it and not mistaken it for skulls.

    The next person who mentions the word censorship loses this argument. As they say, the quickest way to lose an argument on the internet is to bring up Nazis.

    The claim that not posting hate tattoos on Mobdlog is as naive as bashing us for attempting to only post good tattoos, good scarification pieces and good piercings. That is what we try to do here on Modblog. The BME galleries are where EVERYTHING ELSE GOES.

    I hope that you understand that your censorship argument is invalid because I am not censoring these people. I am deciding what I promote and display on Modblog which is my right as a writer and owner of this site. I will fight to the death for your right to get whatever modifications you so choose on your body even if they are in poor taste and poorly done as long as you do so in a safe and educated manner.

    That is the best thing that I can do for this community. If you want to get your daily dose of racist tattoos then go visit the political tattoo section where you can find all the hate/racist tattoos that you want. If we were censoring them as a media outlet, then we wouldn’t accept the submissions at all and pretend they don’t exist.

    This is yet another example of why the community needs a legal defense fund so that we can fight for your right to get a stupid nazi tattoo. Oh yeah, and it’s my right to call that tattoo stupid.

  23. Auto: One other question for you. At my tattoo shop we don’t do hate/racist tattoos. Do you consider this “censorship” as well because I do not allow these tattoos to be done in my shop?

  24. Jojo: Shannon and I communicate on a daily basis. This is not new for us. We have a tepid relationship and are fine with each other as long as other people don’t get involved in bating us. :)

  25. Hahaha The longer and argument goes, the probability of someone relating you to Nazi’s becomes 1:1. That being said, it started out being about Nazi’s..

    I wasn’t at ALL trying to say that propaganda was the reason people hate Nazi’s! I was trying to say that propaganda and censorship was a major contributor to the atrocities committed..

    I hadn’t put together that the reason you dropped the post was to protect the subject at hand. That’s more about being a good person than censorship in my eyes and I’m sorry for accusations otherwise. Privacy of an individual is something I can understand not wanting to make public domain.

    I’m unsure of how Modblog works, was she informed of this post? If so, and it is an intentional racist tattoo, she deserves the backlash probably.. And I don’t think the post at hand was supporting racism in anyway or could be construed as such because it was a supplemental image.. I most certainly never seen or heard of that symbol. Just because it was up, doesn’t really mean you support it, just like how a “meatlover” tattoo on here might offend vegans who associate it with murder and prejudice.. People might get mad, but I wouldn’t remove it.. But like you said, this is your show boss..

    And if you think my idea’s on this are childish, so be it. I don’t think censorship is based on censorship of an individual, but on information. There’s literally nothing I can do, other then argue to a point in which we don’t agree and you find completely invalid. So I’ll just stop..

    But to answer your question, no I wouldn’t think that fits my idea of censorship because you are unwilling to directly contribute. But if one of my artists did one without knowing it was a racist tattoo, I wouldn’t try to get it removed or deny it happened. But I can definitely understand not wanting to put it in your portfolio..

  26. She was not made aware of the post and as I said, she is young. Since it’s not really clear if she fully understands the meaning of the tattoo or if she’s really confused or has been mislead. I’m talking to her now but I see a lot of people who get hate tattoos and then later regret them when they grow up. If she has this tattoo, even knowing full well what it means, I would not put a person up on Modblog to be attacked. I have had people (like the shit eating aids chaser that Shannon wrote about) who was going to commit suicide because of the attention that he got from being published on Modblog. I don’t want that blood on my hands. I know what it is like to be tortured and tormented on this site. I am subjected to it daily.

    I would be pretty upset or embarrassed if I posted something on Modblog that I didn’t realize was a nazi/hate tattoo and then someone became inspired by it and got it tattooed on themselves not realizing it was something more than just a skull and cross bones.

    As I’ve said before, everything goes on to BME and it’s my decision as to what goes on to Modblog. It’s not the same as Fox News distributing news broadcasts that are full of lies and deceit. I don’t post Animal Tattooing & Piercing on Modblog because it’s also something I don’t agree with but it goes into the galleries on BME. We don’t sit there and pretend that it doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t get put into the spotlight on Modblog. Everything is there for the purpose of documenting our community. It doesn’t mean I have to allow it on IAM, or on Modblog. That isn’t the mandate of these other parts of BME. While they are all part of BME they have different missions and reasons behind them that drive them on each and every day.

    Each function of BME serves a different purpose regardless of if it’s IAM, Modblog, 411.BME, Ask.BME, Shop.BME, etc etc etc. I hope you understand more where I am coming from.

  27. Yeah the Nazis were really bad…. But on that same train of thought how many millions of people have been murdered in cold blood in the name of Christianity? SO i suggest that you should ban all Cristian imagery from modblog… Really people where does this end? Its all merely at the discretion of the person running the blog..
    Happy holidays :)

  28. Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong.

    It makes no difference. This is Rachel’s site and I’m just happy to get whatever I can from it. Whether it be simple ear piercings or a racist tattoo, I am an appreciative spectator.

    Sooooo….. I think all the hooplah is unnecessary.

  29. @ andre, don’t worry it was just a bit of script underneath some boobs, which weren’t visible anyway cos the chick was holding them with a vice like grip. You weren’t missing anything.

    Oh and as for the removal of the post, I didn’t even notice the “racist” content. I just checked my sleeve knowing I have a skull and bones, the bones are below, close call eh! I could have unwittingly had and instant “cast ye into the pit of eternal damnation” tattoo scrawled on me. *sweet relief*

    It’s Rachel’s party, and she can do what she want, hell, if I ran the site I’d ban script tattoos. But I don’t and that’s ultimately where the argument ends isn’t it people.

    You can’t win, this discussion serves no purpose other than to get accross the viewpoint of BME admin and you will not be able to change anything so like in the real world, sit back and (try to) enjoy. :-)


  30. “This stuff should be documented on BME, but it should not be held up for idolization on ModBlog, at least not without an accompanying interview to give it context and commentary”

    I think Shannon’s hit the nail on the head there. The choice of what to feature on Modblog is – and always has been – that of the editor. I didn’t see that pic so I can’t comment on whether I thought it was a racist tattoo or not. I don’t think Modblog should shy away from the occasional controversy on the other hand, provided the submitter is given a fair chance to put his/her view across.

    I don’t subscribe to deriding people as “stupid” for their choice of tattoo design. I may not agree with it, but I respect their right to get it and to submit pictures of it if they so choose – however personally distateful I may find whatever it symbolizes. Attempting to suppress or ridicule racist tattoos doesn’t make them go away, nor does it tackle the underlying problem which is the racist attitudes that inspires them. If anything it makes racism appear less of a problem than it really is, and unless we as a community have the courage to discuss it openly and rationally and try to understand it better, nothing’s going to change.

  31. OK this whole OMG-that’s-a-white-power-tattoo thing has gone way to far IMO. I can understand that some people can feel offended by swastika tattoos, or in this case, a totenkopf. But really, when are people going to (finally) realize that ‘Nazi iconography’ is effectively non-existent? And before you flame me and proclaim I deny the holocaust (which I don’t), let’s pretend to be grown ups for a moment and think; What did the Nazi’s REALLY come up with? Everything they used, from the banners to the swastika, from the eagle to the salute, and the totenkopf as well, it all comes from other cultures. All of it! The banners are from all over the placed, but were largely inspired by the Roman empire, as was the use of eagles (Aquilas). The salute comes from the Romans as well btw. Everyone knows the swastika comes from buddhism…And the totenkopf was widely used by many armies, not just te Nazi’s.
    So it makes me wonder. Just because Hitler basically decided to ‘abuse’ all these icons, does that make it wrong for someone to get it?
    I have a friend who has a tattoo of an Aquila, does that make him a Nazi? No, of course not! he’s of Italian descent and has a fascination for the Romans.
    If my neighbour gets a swastika tattoo, does that mean he’s a rascist? For all I know he is a Buddhist…
    And since Hitler liked to borrow from ancient Rome (and let’s be honest, we all know the Roman emperors weren’t innocent either), If I were to get a tatt of Julius Caesar, would that be offensive, too?

    My point is, even tho I agree with Rachel, I find it sad that it had to come to this. We’re all adults, and we all have a functioning brain, right? So why can’t we grow up, get over ourselves, and practice what we preach. I have said it before, we never want to judged based on our mods, and there are plenty of people here who have mastered the modders mantra to perfection; “My body, my choice”, but when are we finally going to apply it to others? “Their body, their choice”.

  32. I almost want to type a short essay of my opinion…

    but its nothing that hasn’t been said before, and also previously mentioned, this site and blog is Rachel’s. She can do whatever she want see’s fit with Modblog, and in this case she found it best to remove a picture that would cause mass arguments.

  33. Trynna narrow this down to the important bits for y’alls:

    1) Holy shit that was an ugly looking tattoo (wait, those were _two_ ugly looking tattoos)
    2) The totenkopf is older than the nazis, so technically speaking a totenkopf != a nazi symbol (not that this girl found it in a history book and did NOT know it’s connotations)
    3) I can’t help but lul my ass off every time I see a tattooed, pierced, brown eyed brunette with a third reich fetish: do these mongrels not realize that per Hitlerin’ standards they are bottom of the barrel subhuman scum and oven fodder?
    4) Hitler love and dumbitude aside, I woulda gone down on that girl’s ass for days anyway (just mentioning it)
    5) “Shit eating AIDS chaser” is the best thing I’ve ever heard, I’m off to call the first person I see this

  34. This whole thing does indeed seem like a slippery slope. There is so much iconograpy out there that has or could potentially be considerd to have a connection to one of the various hate groups in the world today that its just ridiculous. As Ru was saying, is a swastica that goes to the right a NAZI swastica? What guide lines are there to determine rather or not an 88 is racist? Is it just based on the general apperance of the person wearing it? Who makes such a call? Are there really that many Buddhist Nazis out there?
    Clearly this web site is privately opperated and as such the owners do and should have the right to make whatever calls they want to regarding its opperation. However, if the goal is really to have nothing related to any variation of bigotry on IAM or modblog then there will certainly be many less IAM members as well as a good number of deleted modblog posts. Id venture to geuss that most of the people who were ousted due to their potentially hatefull modifications were far from bigots in the first place. Yet who is to say? Once my hate group that uses tribal tattoos and butterflys as their symbols gets big this web site is goging to get a lot smaller. Maybe we can use microdermals as our hate sign… then you’ll all be racist.
    I get not wanting to basicly give free advertising to hate groups by putting hate related modifications up on modblog and such. I’m just saying there is a lot of grey area out there when it comes to rather something is in reality the iconograpy of a hate group or not and to have all of this content banned could very possibly negatively impact a whole lot of people who just dig skull and cross bones tattoos and things of that nature. I feel like that would negatively impact the comunity significantly more than every once in a while having a racist asshole show up on IAM… we can all just call him/her a dick head when he proves himself to be one instead of assuming he must be just because he has an 88 tattoo….right?

    (and I dont actually have a hate group…but you get the point… no?)

  35. I hope she gets the number 6 tattooed below the skull. (So it would be a Death in June logo..for the uninitiated).

  36. What happens when people of hateful ideology recycle motifs for their own propaganda?
    As in how do we distinguish intent from those whom have swastika/swatik and other “hate group motifs”?

    I feel the dialog needs to be up. It means a lot to the community that Rachel and Shannon are involved working as a team on the matter.

  37. I dislike that the post was removed, it should’ve been left and edited for content (ie: add a disclaimer up top).

    The post wasn’t cached, and I can’t even find the iAM page anymore of the person who uploaded it.

  38. BTW, AFAIK I’m the one who originally posted the girl’s totenkopf in the BME galleries, and I also posted the “White Power Unicorn” tattoo here on ModBlog, so let me briefly respond to the “what about that” query. The white power unicorn tattoo is one of two things:

    1. Making fun of white power, and/or generally trying to be “bad taste humor”. Personally I think that’s worth posting, and given how extreme this example was, I think it was absolutely worth posting. I also don’t think that people would be instantly assuming it represented a general support of white power, so to me I didn’t worry that people were going to say “oh, now BME is featuring white power stuff?”

    2. A way of supporting white power but getting away with it because of the silliness of the image. I personally did not think this was the reasoning, but I suppose it could be. If it is, I find that just as fascinating, and worth posting as well. It would make an interesting comment on the subversive nature of the modern racist movements, and how they are at once “out” but still ashamed or afraid to show themselves.

    Either way, it’s completely different from posting a line-for-line copy of a key Nazi symbol.

    Also, this is not a slippery slope as some have suggested. No one as far as I know is proposing not featuring anything that is ambiguous in its meaning, or applying the “don’t feature this” suggestion in anything except the most obvious cases. The totenkopf that was removed was not ambiguous. It was very specific. It might as well have said “Waffen SS” underneath it (and if the girl didn’t know it and somehow did this “by accident”, which I doubt given her BS followup about the claimed reason, she’s an idiot). Somehow saying “watch out if you have a skull tattoo” is silly, and seeks to create a strawman.

    Also, remember, this is not censorship on BME. The image is still on BME. It just hasn’t been chosen to be FEATURED. Just like if you’re in school, not winning a “top student” award is not the same thing as being expelled. It just means you didn’t work hard enough.

    I hate strawmen, and I hate claims of slippery slope when there is none… and as someone who has spent a long time fighting censorship (and as BME continues to do without me I hope), it upsets me when claims of censorship or rights violations are made when nothing of the sort has happened. It’s deceptive and it’s ignorant.

  39. Re: “Just because Hitler basically decided to ‘abuse’ all these icons, does that make it wrong for someone to get it?”

    I really want to emphasize this — her tattoo was not some general totenkopf. It was a line for line replica of a Nazi SS totenkopf. No one is saying don’t get a skull tattoo. It’s being said that if you get a NAZI totenkopf, don’t be surprised when you don’t get featured on ModBlog, and your image just goes on BME as normal.

  40. Re: “I dislike that the post was removed, it should’ve been left and edited for content (ie: add a disclaimer up top).”

    Actually, the post was edited a few times before it was removed, and this was in my opinion a mistake. Removing it totally was the right decision. Because:

    1. Partial removal meant more fighting, and targeted this girl very directly.
    2. Editing an entry after the fact is disingenuous.

  41. Hm, I should add that after a bit of searching google it’s possible to pull up a photo of the tattooed showing the totenkopf in full view.

  42. is this still going on? geez, IMHO it was an honest mistake, i didnt know that it was a nazi. so in fairness it was removed, why people are question rachel about cencership i’ll never know, im sure there are sites full of nazi/white power bull, IAM isnt one of those sites, i know the odd one dose pop up from time to time, 99% of the time it just gets up loaded and lost.

    sean and rachel didnt know it was a nazi sign, and when did removed what they felt they should, why should BME/IAM include nazi’s? while im not saying the owner (of the tattoo) is or isnt nazi (and if they where they wouldnt admit it.)

    i 100% understand why A. it was changed and then removed (since it was about tits) and B. why some people are a little crancky about someone changing the post.

  43. I missed the titties :(. Was it of laurenelizabeth? She also has an inner lip tattoo that says “whites only”, which could have been borderline funny, but with that context….

  44. Alright I’ll preface this comment by saying I’m jewish, just haven’t practiced in many years and don’t really care much about it. I think that racism is stupid, but I don’t feel personally affected if that is the persons mindset. Naturally, people are going to hate people. It has always been that way. So even if someone says something about my religion, or the fact I have tattoos, or any other reason they can find to hate me, I brush it off. If that is really their feelings, it is usually impossible to change the way they feel about it. I can understand not wanting to promote that on this site, but its a lot like the hitler portrait. Keep it archived for the sake of it being a modification, just have it tagged as being a nazi symbol and controversial.

  45. vern, i think it is, didnt know she had “whites only” tattooed on her inner lip.

    i’ll stay clear of her. TBH

  46. skull and crossbones is racist now?

    I think that any imagery should be permitted. But then again I think that thought, especially in our community, should be free. Most of us do not need to be told that racism is bad and seeing some symbols of it…well, it seems like among bme people it fosters thought more than it breeds hate.

    Just take a look at the various swastika reclamation projects out there.

  47. oh yeah. you could always post any of the stuff I submit instead, though, if you really feel like racism shouldn’t be up on modblog :D lol

  48. I’m gonna quickly chime in here, as I personally have known Lauren for 4-5 years and happen to be good friends with her. Let me preface my comments by saying: if you know me, I’m one of the most relentlessly PC people you will meet. I have the word “Unity” tattooed in huge letters across my stomach, and I am of mixed racial ancestry. What I’m trying to say is: I’m not in any way, shape, or form a person who displays prejudice.

    It may be hard for most people who have seen this Totenkopf tattoo to believe, but Lauren has MANY friends of different races and backgrounds who are very aware of what the “dead head’s” original context is. In a fashion similar to Mike’s pseudo-Aryan, funny (and at times, undeniably tasteless) tattoos, she has taken something which was once a powerful, fascist symbol and made jest of it. I don’t think any truly racist person would be happy to learn that a woman who constantly associates with “non-white” individuals and has even engaged in sexual acts with the same would be wearing a symbol which was reserved for SS officers.

    I’m not completely defending this, either. I wasn’t exactly “stoked” when she got it. In fact, it made me quite uncomfortable. This discomfort was not because I was personally offended, but rather because I was fairly certain that the critical reception would be exactly what has been exhibited here. Lauren is a tough girl, so she can take the criticism just fine on her own, but I just wanted to be able to vouch that she’s not some horrible racist.

    In regards to “censorship,” I agree that Modblog isn’t the place for modifications of “questionable intention.” I think Rachel/Sean/whoever is posting absolutely has the right to remove any content which they object to, so long as the original content remains accessible in it’s proper section on BME. The reality is: Modblog gets traffic from all over the web, while individual image galleries buried in the tattoo section do not. If you go looking for it and would like to find it, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard. By posting it on Modblog, it can be construed that BME endorses or promotes tattoos of that nature. Frankly, I don’t feel that’s the kind of press our community needs.

  49. Chris, it sounds like you’re saying that her way of “disempowering” this Nazi symbol (which now it sounds like she knew the meaning of from the start) is by sucking black cock? Was this her plan from the start? Because I’m having some trouble buying that the explanation is this abstract and profound. And anyway, the “white chicks and black cock” porn subgenre, and the explanation of “well I have a gay/black/whatever” friend, doesn’t dispel racist potential, and in my experience, those who fall back on those excuses tend to have bigoted inclinations.

    You’d be amazed who’s a racist, and you’d be amazed how long they can hide it not just from the public but from their close friends, both because of outright secrecy, and because of communicating their racism with “codes” and messages that can be difficult to interpret (not that the plain old totenkopf is difficult to interpret, even if she’s sucking black cock). It feels to me like “playing” with racism gets “cooler” and more common every year. I don’t get it. I suppose it typifies the ignorance and shallow thinking that’s all too common in this generation, the first generation that’s starting to grow up in a world that hasn’t had really obvious suffering from institutionalized racism (not that it’s not still quite common). It’s a really pathetic worldview.

    I stand by my assessment that she’s either an idiot or a racist, or more likely, a bit of both.

    **Important side comment: Anything I say here is my personal opinion and has nothing to do with Rachel or with BME, and that I have no association with BME or ModBlog other than being a reader. I don’t work for or edit BME so if you have a problem with what I said, blame me, not BME.**

  50. I certainly support Rachel’s right to do what she wants with this website- I do however find it a bit odd timing after the post about Google….Its understandable to be angry when someone is being a moron, but what it comes down to is that we can all and do,say, and think whatever we want. And privately owned/operated businesses can too. BME and google are not so different, eh?

  51. I’m sorry but she is a racist. Her inner lip tattoo says WHITES ONLY. She had to take it down because of all the crap she was getting for it.

  52. The difference between what google did and what I did is as wide as the ocean.

    Google called a tattooed image of a pin up pornography and stopped allowing BME to display ads.

    I removed an image from Modblog that WAS a racist tattoo that was unwittingly posted by Sean.

    Those are not even in the same category.

  53. This discussion is pretty much over. I have spoken to the wearer of the tattoo and she is indeed a racist even though she’s too chicken shit to admit it and stand up for what she believes in. Her account has been locked many times for racist content.

    11-07-2008 16:00:25 Account TOS blocked (racist posts “edit: i didn’t cry until some nigger came up to me in the grocery store and said “smile, girl. you’re so pretty when you smile. tell your boyfriend we’re all jealous because we’re all looking for a girl like you.” great, nigger. that’s the reverse of what i needed to hear today. “) – set by Jen

    11-28-2008 09:18:05 (Second chance – she must remove all racist content from her page.) – set by Jen

    01-14-2009 09:22:42 Account TOS blocked (“whites only” lip tattoo/ nazi ss skull crossbones) – set by Rachel

    01-14-2009 09:22:42′ Public message: Rascism is not accepted on IAM. We are a diverse and open community and we don’t think “Whites Only” tattoos or Nazi SS Skulls are “funny”. – set by Rachel

    It is one thing to have these beliefs and get them tattooed on you and a completely different issue to not be willing to admit it and to come up with one lie after another to justify the tattoos.

  54. actually, the white power unicorn was the logo for a failed line of aryan kids toys that Sarah Palin and I were trying to launch a few years back.

    We have practiced a very secret form of racism for years called, being white.

    Mike Beer must have stolen it from me.
    It is obvious that simply due the the stark seriousness of ALL his other tattoos, that this one must be finally taken for what it is…..A WHITE POWER UNICORN.

    Achtung Smufs, you are colored people in the hateful eyes of the KKKunicorn.

  55. Shannon-
    I’m certainly not disputing whether Lauren sucks black cock or not, as I’m sure she does. I digress from my point, though…

    I’m not defending the fact that she’s displaying racist symbols, I genuinely don’t agree with it. I was just speaking from my personal experience with her character. I suppose I didn’t make it clear enough that I don’t approve of her choices, but I don’t feel it’s my place to completely judge her motivation.

  56. Rachel said: “I would be pretty upset or embarrassed if I posted something on Modblog that I didn’t realize was a nazi/hate tattoo and then someone became inspired by it and got it tattooed on themselves not realizing it was something more than just a skull and cross bones.”

    I think this is a really good response to the “why can’t we just look at her tits and ignore the tattoo since that’s not what the entry was about” line of thinking. It is true that people see tattoos on ModBlog and then go and get them without researching it. Yeah, maybe it’s that dummy’s fault for getting a tattoo they haven’t researched, but it would be a shame if ModBlog shared some blame in someone accidentally getting a hate-themed tattoo that they didn’t want.

  57. Think you guys at BME, Shannon and Rachel, are doing a GREAT job. Can’t please everybody, but I certainly think you guys are both doing a fantastic job with the whole racist thing by not censoring it (by having it available in the galleries) but not featuring it :-)

  58. “As it stands now and has been the policy for years, racist and hategroup tattoos go into the Political Section of BME. Similar to the Animal Tattoo & Piercing sections, we don’t support it but BME’s mandate is to archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community, even the ignorant aspects of it. However, that doesn’t expand to other parts of BME like IAM.”

    This strikes me as a remarkably slippery statement and policy. It strikes me that it has to be a bright line, not a murky one: either you support such attitudes and behaviours, or you don’t. If you don’t, as you say, then why would you provide a forum for the promotion and display of such things, a forum ultimately paid for by members of a community supposedly “built around principles of tolerance”? Justifying the promotion of such things by allowing images of them on certain parts of the site and not on others is rather like an officially vegetarian restaurant that offers meat dishes but simply doesn’t place them on its main menu: you can’t have it both ways. Either you support and therefore provide a forum for racist/hate tattoos, images of animal abuse, and dangerous, ill-advised modifications, or you don’t permit such images anywhere on your site; which is it?

  59. While im certainly not going to defend hatred or pride based on something one can not change nor control like skin colour or heritage, I can understand why people that feel strongly about something feel the need to hide it.

    For example i am an atheist and i avoid sharing that in certain situations because of how much aggression it causes. If i had a flying spaghetti monster tattoo i wouldnt brag about it if i was around my friends that are religious.

    Even though i think its completely ridiculous to be proud or the judge based on things out of ones control i can understand the desire to hide the true meaning of certain things.

  60. And the argument that hosting such images is necessary to “archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community, even the ignorant aspects of it,” is frankly nonsense. There’s a difference between writing about something in a scholarly, dispassionate way — such as would be possible at BMEzine Encyclopedia, and promoting it by giving people a special image gallery where they can post photos of their racist/hate tattoos.

    By the way, the Swastika entry at BMEzine Encyclopedia currently has no image of a Nazi swastika, suggesting that archiving and cataloging Nazi tattoo imagery for scholarly purposes isn’t going on there either. In fact, the entry currently reads: “Contrary to popular Western belief, the swastika is a culturally universal symbol of peace and love, and has been used literally by every society in history for this purpose”, a claim which isn’t even remotely close to being true.

  61. Bob are you on something? of corse the swastika has been used by almost ever society at some point in history do your research, nor dose the BMEzine Encyclopedia need an image of the nazi swastika, we all know what it looked like, and we all know the nazi’s used it once, and because of that alot of western people see it as nazi and only nazi, when in fact it has been in use for 100′s if not 1000′s of years before and will carry on being used for good.

  62. in fact it evan states “This single exception is the brief period where the Nazis attempted to tarnish it and twist it to their purposes. “

  63. I, for one, would like to see this person removed from iam.

    Anyone who cites censorship in this instance is coming from a place of white privilege. People of colour have to put up with racist bullshit on a daily basis and therefore (speaking as a white, western person) it is our responsibility to maintain the safety of spaces, be they online or otherwise and that means not giving a platform to anyone who threatens the wellbeing of a group of people based on racial background.

  64. gandy, the article says the swastika has been used by LITERALLY EVERY SOCIETY; this is not even close to true. It has been, and continues to be, used in *many* cultures, but even to say “most” cultures would be untrue, let alone “literally every society.”

    And if, as you claim, BMEzine Encyclopedia doesn’t need an image of the Nazi swastika because “we all know what it looked like, and we all know the Nazi’s used it once,” then by the same logic BME doesn’t need an image gallery of racist/hate tattoos in order to “archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community” either. Get it?

  65. having Nazi Imagry included in tattoos and art work does not always mean a “person is a racist or just an idiot (if it’s the first then it looks like the answer would be both)”

    Nazi imagery has been used in American counter culture since WW2.
    When soldiers came home from the war (particularly popular in motorcycle culture) they would wear pins of killed enemies on their vests.
    It has continued to be popular in motorcycle and hot rod culture. not necessarily as a racist symbols but going with a fuck the world mentality. Its also frequently used by those with and intrest in the occult.

    look at Ed “big daddy” Roth, creator of rat fink. One of the most popular artists in American counter culture.
    uses Tons of Nazi imagery.

    i can’t say exactly why each individual uses it.
    May be simply because it is so offencive to mainstream culture?
    who knows. don’t pass off judgement in every case so easily. their are many other motives a person may have.

  66. I’m not going to debate the issue of censorship again because it’s apparently clear we can’t come eye to eye on that discussion. We’re not going to change minds by bickering.

    I would like to comment that the restriction of issues it was makes it taboo. The restriction of a word is what makes it vulgar. If everyone used a certain word, or image, or expression that was previously restricted and with very negative connotations, it usually takes a whole new form after the fact.

    God, of course I’ll have this example and I’m sure this isn’t a very popular view, but here goes.

    Some people don’t think being called a “bitch” is a bad thing. In fact, some people think it’s endearing. Of course, it upsets LOTS of women but not all. It’s like the reclamation of a word that was once used as hate. Nigger is used predominantly and publicly by black people. Faggot is a term embraced by much of the gay community. Women have reclaimed a lot of what was once used against them. Comedy has been a way to dispel racism by making the stark reality of racism or sexism a joke and bringing light to it.. Maybe this is sort of their way of poking fun at the nazi world and icons in general. It’s so taboo, which makes it that much more funny in a way. Vulgar jokes are the best kind..

    I’m not saying this was her intent, or the intent of Sean or Modblog to describe this idea, it’s just a social commentary on why people might get joke racist tattoos. You might see it as childish and vulgar and stupid, but if you make a mockery of something, or don’t make it a big deal, the image doesn’t mean anything anymore. She might be a racist who loves to get stumped on her birthday by her black friend, but I think the irony of it all is what makes it so ridiculous. “Yeah I have this white power tattoo, but it plays to no factors in my life. Socially, ideologically, or even genealogically..” Maybe people do it to make a mockery of the whole damn thing and your sensibilities be damned. Maybe white people are sick of being called a racist, so they reclaim racist imagery? That might be a stretch… but if it’s a phenomenon, there’s a reason..

    I know for sure that just because you use a word, or have an image, provoke a taboo response by using or making jokes about something, doesn’t mean you go out and blame an entire race for your problems, try to rid the world of their existence, or make it a criterion for your experience with those of other creeds. Or promote propaganda believing that or showing any signs of violence towards other races or anything else.

    That being said, I knew a black jewish woman that got a Nazi Swastika in flames tattooed on her. Explain that to me? No really, it blew my mind..

  67. look, and look hard you will sooner or later find someform of a swastika from all corners of the world and from all times and dates.evan during the 2nd world war it was beeing used out side of the nazi party on greetings cards and best of all, a ration book! i can go outside (in the uk) and see them in quite a few places from peoples front gates, to stone work at railway stations, and garden centres! the swastika is such a basic shape, like curcles, triangles, squares and so on, that you will find a swastika shape somewhere, almost everywhere, from the past, and today

    bme dosnt need a gallery of racist/hate tattoos because why should bme be a platform for racists/white power etc, there are probly sites already for it and as already stated by rachel ” One of the other reasons we can’t flat out reject racist tattoos is that we simply don’t have the manpower to be fully adept at all the secret racist codes out there. As none of the staff on BME are racists, we don’t know the secret handshakes”

    so in other words the odd one will get past them, then sink away in the gallery that the staff think it should be in, but because one sliped past and made it onto modblog some are now acusing all sorts of BME.

  68. Maybe we should be worrying more about the rampant fucking stupidity of a great deal of people in the body modification community as opposed to the racists?

  69. gandy, it’s not a case of a few odd images slipping past the staff. Rachel explicitly said that BME policy is that “racist and hategroup tattoos go into the Political Section of BME” because “BME’s mandate is to archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community, even the ignorant aspects of it.” This means that BME IS a platform for “racists/white power etc” because a gallery is explicitly provided for them, with the rationale that hosting such images is necessary to catalogue body modification history. The argument that BME can’t outright reject such images due to lack of manpower is nonsense. It’s as simple as making a site-wide policy that such images aren’t tolerated, deleting accounts that post them, and investigating “secret” images that are brought to the attention of staff on a case-by-case basis.

    And I agree with Jacques, above. Certain things shouldn’t be posted to a responsible body modification site: if people don’t think that images on BME are being used for the idiotic experiments of people who read the site, then they need only look at a recent episode of “Lockup,” which featured prisoners who were injecting their eyes with inks made from disposable pens using shared hypodermic needles. They got the idea from postings on Modblog.

  70. Suggestion:
    watch “Gangland”
    4 seasons on DVD, of information about racist/gang symboligy, tattoos, graphitti, etc

  71. “we don’t support it but BME’s mandate is to archive and catalog the evolution and history of our community”


  72. Bob, I’ll respond to that because I was the one who made the decision initially to include these images.

    It was my feeling that rejecting images from the main image galleries of BME was problematic for three reasons:

    1. Censoring really does have the potential to become slippery slope, and to be unevenly applied. Where is the line drawn? Whose politics are OK and whose are not? How do we explain this rule so people know what’s OK and what’s not? This was even more true when it was me running it because my politics tended to be more extremist than the current BME team (some will recall my militant vegan period)… So I set the policy that for the main galleries, and the main galleries alone (not IAM, not ModBlog), these tattoos could be included.

    2. With BME’s role being to document the community, it’s important to include “racist” and otherwise difficult tattoos… To show how many people are doing it, what sort of trends exist in these subcultures, and so on. To a lesser extent to show the world which shops are doing these tattoos so they can avoid them (or patronize them I suppose). I think it’s disingenuous to try and manipulate the demographics of the community to give a false impression. In addition, keeping the “rotten apples” visible shows people that we still have to work inside our own walls to make the world a better and more enlightened place.

    3. Because of the “secret codes” that are rampant in racist subculture, it’s unrealistic to attempt to try and censor. It means you end up missing a lot of images and letting some slip through (as well as some “false positives”), and it means that a racist subculture bubbles secretly under the surface rather than being visible. To me this is more dangerous that seeing it out in the open.

    Anyway, these were the original justifications for including racist tattoos in the politics section. All things considered — and there is no answer that’s going to make everyone happy, nor is there an answer that’s going to make ME completely happy because there are pros and cons in each — I am happy with the compromise that I made and I continue to stand by it… Although of course Rachel is welcome to change it if she feels there is a better solution (and like I said, there are good arguments for everything in the spectrum of possibilities). But I hope the above helps explain why it was originally instituted.

  73. sorry if this has already been stated, but i stopped reading around comment 34 or 35…
    BME, in my opinion, is a place for unity; for people to come together who have a love for modifying the body. not a place to bitch and whine because a tattoo that symbolizes hate was taken down. I am strongly against censorship; but as stated many times by many people, there is a difference between censoring tities, and deleting a post that will offend shit loads of us. i am a tattoo artist, and the only thing i refuse to do (aside from facial/neck/hand tattoos on anyone who isnt already heavily modified) are racist/sexist/homophobic, etc tattoos. Anything thats going to blatantly offend someone else. I feel everyone has the right to say and do what you please, until the point comes where it infringes upon other people. granted, theres the whole ‘if you dont like it, dont pay attention’ sentiment, but sometimes its just best to avoid the spread of hate.
    from a business prospective, i understand why it was taken down. if i as a patron believed BME as a whole, or even its staff, to be racist, or nazi sympathizers even, i would probably stop coming to and contributing to the site… as im sure plenty of others would, too….
    cant we all just stop the bitching and remember that were all here for the same reason…?

  74. This boils down to the same subject again and again.

    I want all of the various aspects of body modification to be archived and stored for all the world to see. This means the good, the bad and even the ugly.

    However, just as I wouldn’t showcase really poorly done work (unless it was in the context of “Hey! This is really bad stuff”) on Modblog. I don’t need to showcase the bad and ugly things about the community.

    IAM also is a gated community for a reason. We get to choose who our “neighbors” are. I don’t want racists or homophobes on the site. It’s been a long standing rule. I personally like that I don’t have to read people’s pages where they call someone “gay” or a “fag” or drop N-bombs every other word.

    BME strives to be a historical archive.
    Modblog is where we post photos/videos/stories etc from submissions that we like.
    IAM is a country club/gated community. We have rules in order to be allowed in.
    411.BME is a mod shop directory service.
    Ask.BME is where people can ask questions.
    Shop.BME is where you buy stuff to support BME (hint hint!)
    Plus all the other facets of BME that have their distinctive purposes.

    I would really love it if we could all move on and enjoy the holidays instead of having this continuing debate which at this point feels more like a circle jerk than a productive conversation.

  75. I don’t really have much to say about this. I don’t think the wearer should be proud of how ‘edgy’ or ‘ironic’ she’s being having a totenkopf tattooed between her tits. It’s easy for a kid of 20 to claim to be of Jewish descent and get this tattooed… but never actually live or suffer through a war.

    Try showing it to your Jewish grandma and see what she says about it.

    It’s one thing to walk around shouting the N word because you hear it in all the rap songs, and another to get (as Shannon pointed out) a ‘line for line’ totenkopf tattoo, still used as an image by modern white pride groups all over the world.

  76. I don’t really think it’s necessary to add anything further at this point, but I just wanted to say: Rachel, your point is more than valid.
    There is a vast difference between documenting/archiving something, and condoning it.
    Well done. You guys all do a wonderful job in keeping BME as an archive and reserving Modblog for the ‘cream of the crop’ (subjective as it may be).
    There are lots of us who appreciate all the work you put in for us to enjoy being part of this community, so don’t listen to the crap.
    Just my two cents.

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  81. so….no Louis Farrakhan portraits then? No Geronimo tattoos? No Stalin memorials?

    I think “racism” is subjective. We all have our heroes and villains. Is it right to remove them from BME? It’s not my sandbox. If it were, I wouldn’t. I always enjoy dark humor and irony.

    On the flipside, i think branding someone a racist, bigot or homophobe is very ugly. We don’t know the circumstances or intent when she got that tattoo so it’s wrong to generealize and say “well because sometimes people tattoo X on themselves and it really means Y …etc”.

    tiff badhairdo – yeah lets ban everyone who has tattoos, ideas or beliefs that don’t agree with ours. i think someone else had an idea like that one time…….

    Hanargh- its also kind of easy to say that when you weren’t in that war either.

    Also, it’s 10 years in to the new millenium, can’t we find a new group to all agree to dislike?

  82. I just want to say I could not agree more with the idea that there’s a difference between cataloguing and condoning.

    It’s not censorship to choose not to feature an image of a hateful symbol, even if you do know that the hateful symbol was chosen for shits and giggles (and from the above, I’m not entirely convinced it was.)

    But I do think it is regrettable not to document such tattoos. Pretending people don’t do something objectionable leaves gaps in recorded history, and that’s a shame. Having a record of something is not condoning it. If we thought that, many of us would not know that Nazism even happened at all, because it would have been expunged from the history we learn as “too horrible for decent people to hear about.”

  83. if people are getting hate tattoo for “shits and giggles” then it really shows how stupid she is and you are for thinking it.

  84. The complete joke she is making out of it is extremely disheartening to me.

    It makes me think about the motives behind it. Whether it be for attention or out of complete ignorance of the issue she is taking so lightly.

    I really hope this isn’t the direction our already narcissistic society is going towards.

  85. Timmy, I don’t understand what you’re getting at really.

    So yah, none of us were in that war. But I like to assume we’ve all been educated to some degree about the horrors that went on. The totenkopf is a horrible image which probably brings pain to Jewish people even today due what it symbolises. I also know it’s still widely used in ‘white pride’ groups, who show it off proudly. The girl claims to have Jewish family. If that’s the case, she should have left the irony to Shakespeare.

    As for ‘meaning’, throw your xs and your ys out of the window because when someone gets a tattoo there is as much importance on how other people INTERPRET it, as to what it means to them personally. She’s pretty dumb if she thought people would appreciate, or even understand, the humor, irony, or whatever she was aiming for.

    Interpretation is key. Say if you went out and got the words ‘HIV positive’ tattooed on your forearm. It could mean something completely different to you in your head or in your circle of friends. Or you could get it to be ironic because I’m you’re HIV positive… but to the outside world, there’d be a HUGE stigma attached to it. Did she really understand how upset it might make a very wide and varied community, let alone the general public?

    I’m all for people getting the tattoos they want and like. I have no problem with people getting ‘slut’ tattooed above their genitals, or even pornographic images… they’re not to my taste but if it makes people happy and they don’t go around showing it off to kids then fine. What I do object to is such a blase attitute towards a symbol which represents years of murder.

    I’d also like to know why on her iam page she lists her tattoo as ‘skull on my sternum’. Why couldn’t she be a bit more specific and write ‘totenkopf on my sternum’ if she knew exactly what it was and all its political and social implications?

  86. The simple fact that this discussion would never have happened unless the image was posted, is argument enough to convince me that these things should indeed be posted in future, and fully discussed in this way. The fact that bme may post sexist artwork, tattoos which mock various beliefs, and swastikas, is a way of raising awareness about how we’ve come to define these symbols, and the collective reaction to them says a whole lot about the nature of this community, its tolerance and its dislike for racism, sexism, and the like.

    What a good debate this has been to read along with (at times). Food for thought for sure.

  87. oh and rachel, in #86…you do realize that the sheer volume of pinup-type images, sexual objectification, and more controversial tattoos in modblog should all, technically, qualify as sexist?

    Personally I do not mind having people I disagree with as neighbors.

  88. Hanargh-

    “So yah, none of us were in that war. But I like to assume we’ve all been educated to some degree about the horrors that went on. The totenkopf is a horrible image which probably brings pain to Jewish people even today due what it symbolises. I also know it’s still widely used in ‘white pride’ groups, who show it off proudly. The girl claims to have Jewish family. If that’s the case, she should have left the irony to Shakespeare.”

    I’m saying since none of us actually experienced what happened between 1939 and 1945 its pretentious at best to “interpret” what those people may have felt.

    Her ancestory, to me, doesn’t even matter. It’s her body and if she choses to have that tattoo, more power to her. I suggest if you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t get one.

    “As for ‘meaning’, throw your xs and your ys out of the window because when someone gets a tattoo there is as much importance on how other people INTERPRET it, as to what it means to them personally. She’s pretty dumb if she thought people would appreciate, or even understand, the humor, irony, or whatever she was aiming for.”

    -So we should get tattooed for what others will interpret and think?

    “Interpretation is key. Say if you went out and got the words ‘HIV positive’ tattooed on your forearm. It could mean something completely different to you in your head or in your circle of friends. Or you could get it to be ironic because I’m you’re HIV positive… but to the outside world, there’d be a HUGE stigma attached to it. Did she really understand how upset it might make a very wide and varied community, let alone the general public?”

    -Jonathen Davis (the lead singer of the American rock band Korn) has HIV tattooed on his arm in nold black letters. Yet he is not (to my knowledge) HIV positive.

    -Maybe she wants exactly this sort of reaction. Or maybe she’s just trolling all the sensitive types. Either way, I’m sure (if she in fact intended the tattoo to be “racist” or “offensive”) that she doesn’t give a fuck about the “very wide and varied community s” opinion. And, clearly it does not take much to shock or offend the “general public”.

    “I’m all for people getting the tattoos they want and like. I have no problem with people getting ’slut’ tattooed above their genitals, or even pornographic images… they’re not to my taste but if it makes people happy and they don’t go around showing it off to kids then fine. What I do object to is such a blase attitute towards a symbol which represents years of murder.”

    -Does that symbol represent years of murder to her though?

    “I’d also like to know why on her iam page she lists her tattoo as ’skull on my sternum’. Why couldn’t she be a bit more specific and write ‘totenkopf on my sternum’ if she knew exactly what it was and all its political and social implications?”

    -Maybe that’s not what it is to her.

  89. Ok Timmy. I think this’ll be my last post, because I really cba. And it’s Christmas.

    1. It is not pretentious to assume that the events between 1939 and 1945 were, at very least, horrific, and in my opinion should be treated with respect. Perhaps you and I have been reading from different text books, or have been taught differently. For most of this year I’ve been studying mass graves, some of them dating back to world war 2, and damnit, call me boring but it really doesn’t tickle me to imagine such events, despite my side of dark humor – which often manages to escape me at the most inappropriate times.

    2. I never said we should get tattooed for what others think. Ultimately we should do if for ourselves, but we should also keep in mind that other people will and can interpret away when they look at us. If you’re a year away from qualifying as a lawyer, the last thing you do is go out and get your throat tattooed. In the same way, if you become immersed in a community which on the whole, strongly opposes nazi culture, it’s a bit of a bad idea to go out and get a totenkopf tattoo (assuming you’re not a racist) unless you strongly like debate or the thought of being ostracized. It’s just common sense.

    3. You missed the point here completely. My point was, you don’t have to be HIV positive to get the tattoo, but you have to stop and think, gee, some people may THINK I am if they see it on my arm. And then you’d think, ‘well, people have strong viewpoints on HIV. They may not want to come near me!’ Etc. Just like this girl should have thought, ‘gee, someone might think I’m a racist if I have a huge SS symbol between my boobies! They may be nasty to me!’ She or her friends have no right to whine about her being labelled a racist on those grounds. Also, the thing with Jonathan Davis, it’s a bit different for a very famous rock star to get something like that tattooed when he’s very much in the limelight and everyone knows that he is in fact, not HIV positive. It’s not as Joe Bloggs off the street could go out and do it, due to status, we’d get a totally different reaction. Way to be contraversial, good to see we can still rely on korn after all these years!

    4.”Does that symbol represent years of murder to her though?”
    Maybe not, but you can’t go and park in a disabled spot and then say “Oh wait, this symbol doesn’t represent a disabled spot TO ME”. It’s pretty tough to take a symbol known to millions as something, and then swap the meaning around as you please, and not expect everyone to fall in line with you. You can’t go through the dictionary and change the meaning of words depending on what they may ‘represent’ to you. It’s a very widely known symbol. As Shannon said, it’s line for line. If she wanted a ‘skull’ she could have easily googled around a bit and found a nice one, without the political implications. Maybe she doesn’t think of it as a totenkopf. But isn’t that a bit like going out and getting a cat tattooed on my chest but then saying, ‘actually, that’s not a cat TO ME’…?

    5. As for what the community thinks, and your line about sensitive types, I honestly couldn’t give a toss about what she does to her body. It’s her body, and if she wants to display what the mainstream know as a racist symbol then, woah, be my guest. Power to her, let her liberate her freedom of choice through expression of tattoos. Etc etc. But if she was doing it to be a troll, or to give a great big ‘Fuck You’ to the world (what a rebel), then from where I stand, there are a lot of more intelligent ways she could have done that.

    Merry Christmas.

  90. i dont condone racism in any way, so dont attack me for asking this but,
    would you consider a confederate flag racist? given the south supported slavery, but it does also stand for much more than that. opinions?

  91. i tend to get overly-defensive when people attack my best friend for any reason, but in this case i don’t think that’s really necessary. i know you’re all going to put your two cents in on how you view this topic and you’re entitled to (that’s why this forum is still open), but some of these statements are just.. petty and embarrassing for the lot of you. To the few people I used to have some respect for due to their open-mindedness and understanding: It seems common courtesy not to accuse someone of being a racist whore when you had never spoken to, or met them, especially in a situation she didn’t choose to put herself in.

    Shannon Larratt on August 16th, 2006 at 12:08 pm:
    “…honestly, hiding the symbols and history of fascism is the best way to have fascism RETURN. One, because anything that’s suppressed tends to grow, and two, because those who try and erase history are doomed to repeat it.”

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  97. i am disgisted by the ‘rebel flag’ as well as the swastika, and other symbols of fascism, racism, etc…
    death to nazis

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