Eyeball Implants Hit The Mainstream?

Nearly a decade ago Modblog covered Rachel’s extraocular implant.

Recently there has been a surge in news sources covering a woman paying $3,000 to have the same procedure done in New York City. Comparatively Rachel paid about $900 USD including the flight! Six months after Rachel’s procedure there were a few cases of  the media claiming that a few people in California were the first Americans to have it done. So not only is this topic not a new trend, it’s already been done in the United States, been covered, and it was already full of misinformation!

Now we all know more “conventional” news sources aren’t always up to date on what’s going on with the body modification community, but waiting almost 10 years to tout something as a “new fad” is a bit excessive. Even a quick internet search would let you know this has been going on for years, and that for 3 grand you could have a hell of a vacation in the Netherlands AND have the procedure done! It seems like there should be a bit more investigation work when it comes to hyping a body modification publicly.

It has always been interesting to me as a body piercer to see certain things randomly gain popularity. Forward helix piercings have been around since the dawn of time but I can’t begin to explain how frequently I’ve been asked about them this year. It leads me to wonder what else the mainstream media may finally discover and decide is the new cool and/or a danger to your children.

How do you feel about popular news sources picking up on body modifications? These articles expose a new audience to things they have never seen, but are often times filled with misinformation and spun in a negative light. Is it our job to shout back?

 Personally I’m holding my breath for when USA Today figures out what a subincision is, what a headline that will be!

BME meets FHM

After yesterdays post of a BME Girl on British tv, I come across this picture from MIss Duveaux from a 6 page spread that was shot for FHM (For Him Magazine) Holland. It’s great to see a beautiful modified girl getting some love from mainstream media and not getting teased like KissItGoodbye was in my last post.


Miss Deveaux had this to say about the experience on her IAM diary entry about it:

Not only was I featured in a six page spread with For Him Magazine, FHM, but they decided to not re-touch my tattoos… The dude is a famous dutch tv-host *Sebastiaan Labrie*  Not only hot, but with tattoos and he was very open minded and interested in all my body mods… he liked my branding real much!

For more pictures from this shoot check out her IAM page, the BME/ Culture/ People gallery, or look for them in FHM Holland.

For one more showing off her chest tattoos, keep on keeping on.


BME’s Big Question #6: Fameballin’

Welcome to BME’s Big Question! In this feature, we’re going to ask a handful of the community’s best and brightest piercers, tattooists, heavy mod practitioners and shop owners for their opinion on one question or issue that’s affecting the body modification community. Many, many thanks to all of the contributors.

If you’d like to be a part of future editions, or if you have an idea for an issue or question you’d like to see addressed, please e-mail me.

This week’s topic comes from Allen Falkner:

“The media. We’ve all dealt them. How do you feel about the media? Have you had good or bad experiences? How do you decide who to talk to and who to avoid? Maybe name one of your most memorable media experiences.”

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Meg Barber
I’ve had good experiences overall with it. In previous shops I’ve worked in, there have been the usual newspaper interviews, appearances on the news and radio, etc. I’ve done scarification for one local paper for their “Beat the Winter Blahs” issue; the cover was me cutting, so that was fun and pretty cool.

Here at Venus, media is our best friend. We love the media. We have had high level celebs in the store, with paparazzi lined up outside shooting in, and we use that footage to our advantage with our Press Kit that we use as a display piece in our lobby. Instead of having portfolios and stuff sitting around, we have our Press Kit, and it really gets people talking and excited to be pierced by the same studio and piercers who have worked on their favorite celebs, and we have the media to thank for that for sure! I mean, without the media, those people aren’t really all that special.

Of course, there is always the downside of overzealous reporters trying to trace a hepatitis outbreak to the rise of tattoos and piercings in the nation, who come snooping around and spreading bad press. But in my experience, that’s few and far between these days, and not really too much of a concern, really. When something like that pops up, you write your little letter to the editor, throw some facts at them, and forget about them.

I think, to an extent, this question ties in with the Internet question as well, and Internet media is becoming more prevalent. With sites like Digg occasionally putting up tattoo- or piercing-related stories or photos, there is more exposure to our work than ever, and as long as it looks good, that’s never really a bad thing.

Oh, here’s a story. I really should let Maria Tash tell this, but it’s too funny to pass up …

Years ago, she was interviewed over the phone by CBN. She didn’t realize at the time what it was — she was thinking in her head CBS or CNN. A few weeks later, a client comes in to tell her he saw her picture on TV … on The 700 Club. She was being referred to as one of the most evil women in America, and her quotes about the beauty of piercing were all turned into pro-satanic remarks, essentially. You can never be too careful.

Steve Truitt
I’ve had good and bad experiences with the media. I’ve worked with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel several times, and they’ve always been really easy to deal with. They didn’t try to portray us in any particular way, more like, “This is what’s going on and you should make your own opinion about it,” which is nice for a change since a lot of the stuff we do is usually portrayed in a negative, or shock value type of way.

I’ve also worked with several big budget feature films and had fairly good experiences. Most recently we did suspensions in a scene in the movie Game, which should be released this summer or fall. The people making this movie were really interested in what we were doing, they did everything they could to provide us with anything we could possibly need and make sure we were safe and comfortable, and weren’t trying to portray us as freaks or negatively in anyway in the scene.

The only time I’ve had bad experiences have been when dealing with local media, like news stations. We were interviewed about suspension for a news segment several years back. They asked questions about the popularity of suspension, the safety issues, possible complications, why people did it, etc. When the piece aired on the news a few days later they had changed all the questions being asked to be about tongue splitting and surgical modifications, and chopped up our answers and rearranged things we said to fit their new questions that they never asked us. They did that to make it more shocking and to make us look really bad. After this and hearing similar stories from quite a few other people who have done interviews for the news (not just body modification related either), I stopped talking to news reporters at all and won’t deal with them again.

Tracy Baer
I’m not a tattoo artist, but I play one on TV …

Does that count as media experience?

Meg Barber
Oh whatever, you’ve been in the paper about a million times!

Tracy Baer
I have, and it’s been a double-edged sword for sure.

The news story that was filmed on Halloween, while I was dressed as a vampire, and then didn’t air until after Thanksgiving was probably the worst thing. I looked like a goth kid, and they took bits and pieces of what i said to make a paragraph that was to the editor’s liking.

It was horrible. The one thing that sticks in my mind is the question of why people get tattooed. My answer was long and drawn out — that, I believe, was my mistake. It was edited, and the only answer they played was, “People get tattoos for vanity’s sake.”

Seriously. I gave them at least 10 other reasons that I could think of. So, there I was, dressed up as a vampire on the evening news, talking about how people only get tattooed for vanity’s sake. I was mortified.

I think I’ve learned from my mistake on that one, though.

In more recent media coverage, I’ve had better luck. The last few were positive. The interviews have been upbeat, educational, and well rounded, as well as beneficial to my amount of business and new clients. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that body modification is more widely accepted, or that the person interviewing was more open to the idea of tattooing as a legitimate career.

Either way, I feel like the horror stories in the news are being overshadowed by the positive ones. That being said, there’s definitely a place for the horror stories. Individuals who take this industry for a place to make a quick buck need to be brought to everyone’s attention.

Meg Barber
I agree. The bad side is that the shows that go over the dangers never point the finger at the troublemakers directly. No investigative reporting happenin’, you know? And it should happen: send the undercover person in the shady shops with the bad reps to see what’s really up. It could really shed some light on those places, encouraging people to make smarter choices.

Allen Falkner
I think everyone agrees on the most important point. Depending on how the media wants to spin the story you can be presented as an articulate professional or you can be edited to sound like a fool and a hack.

It’s been my experience that the media that focuses on documentation pieces, National Geographic, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, etc. tend to tell the story in such a way that the subjects are shown in a positive light. Granted, there is normally some added sensationalism infused into the story, but that’s what sells, right? However, even if the story is given a commercial flair, these production companies know better than to make people look bad. These kinds of pieces are built on mutual respect and trust. If they violate that, then their chances of working with that culture might be virtually impossible in the future.

Now when it comes to other types of media that are simply doing a one-off piece, the person being interviewed must be more careful. I’ve been burned more than once by agreeing to something without having all the facts. Once I had a live debate on TV and it was obvious, about 30 seconds in, that the topic wasn’t about piercing. It was a witch-hunt and yours truly was the witch. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

I guess my advice would be to do your research. Find out as much as possible about the person and/or company doing the interview. In general, writers and production companies stick to a specific style. If you can get your hands on some of their previous work, you should be able to get a sense of what direction they might take it, and ultimately how they could portray you.

The old saying is, “Any publicity is good publicity.” But, when you’ve had little to no exposure, bad publicity can really hurt you in the long run.

What do you think? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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Please consider buying a membership to BME so we can continue bringing you articles like this one.

Modified Footage and Cast Request

Rebecca needs you!

“I’m currently casting for a short abstract experimental film on the body and body modification for my masters project, I’m a piercer and I’ll also be filming stuff with Samppa Von Cyborg on the side.

What I’m after is heavily modified people based in the United Kingdom to feature in the film, it’s not a documentary, it’s going to be really arty and cool (a script is currently being written up).

I have no budget but I can travel within the UK for the right footage. It’s all being filmed in HD and burned with blu-ray so it’s gonna be good! All contributors will receive credits and a copy of the film, once it’s complete I’m looking to submit the final product to film festivals et cetera.. Exciting!

To cut to the chase, I’m looking for VERY modified people who would be willing to be in this film for free/and also looking for any footage of your modifications you might like to donate.

I can be reached at the following email address – [email protected]

So get rummaging through your hard drives, check your schedules and help the girl out!

Vimby Videos!

Earlier today I got an email from Ary over at VIMBY. They’d just done an interview with Shawn Barber, who I happen to think is the bees knees and so I wanted to share the first video with you. Shawn’s new book Forever and Ever is available from several places online, including the publisher that I linked to, and it is definitely worth picking up.

It also doesn’t hurt that Ary sent over a couple of videos about CanvasLA, with a segment about the gallery itself and another video featuring the opening of Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman‘s Scratch Art show. It was an amazing collection of work from some of the best tattooers in the industry.

I posted the extra studio/city videos because I felt like these videos are much better than the various “Ink(ed)” shows on cable. They don’t give you the same manufactured lines that you hear over and over again which come off more like the producers feeding the stories to the people getting tattooed. Want to see more videos like these? Let me know in the comments section..

What Say the Internets? New York Times Edition

Photo source: Getty Images

So, in its bi-monthly attempt to take the onion off its belt and prove how hip it is, the New York Times has published a piece on the ever-increasing acceptability of tattoos in the mainstream and it’s actually not so bad. There are a few predictably hilarious quotes, such as this reaction to Project Runway season three victor Jeffrey Sebelia’s large throat tattoo:

“I was, like, ‘Whoa.’ It wasn’t a prison tattoo. It wasn’t sailors or criminals. It was this real-life person that you saw being creative and successful, and it really affected your perception about who gets tattooed.”

So that’s a nice, positive sentiment. And, since it’s the New York Times, this has gotten some pretty heavy coverage all over the series of tubes. What say the Internets?

Jessica Grose, Jezebel: “We were already aware that tattoos have lost their taboo status because the Times keeps telling us. Over and over and over and over again. They want to make sure we know that moms and dads and heartbroken doctors and heartbroken writers and even the Jews are getting inked. After the jump, some passages from these taboo busting articles that show, once and for all, that getting a tattoo is about as transgressive as eating a donut (think of the transfats!).”

Michael M. O’Hear, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog: “While the article has led me to reconsider that flaming skull I’ve always thought would look great on my forehead, I do note that ‘lawyer’ is not in the list of professions in which visible tattoos are becoming more common. I wonder, though, whether there are some outposts of the legal profession in which tattoos have become the norm, or are at least more accepted than in others. And is there a resource guide somewhere for inked-up law students letting them know which employers are tattoo-friendly and which are not? Maybe this should be part of the NALP form . . . .”

Ann Althouse: “Who knew you had to earn your neck tattoo? I’d have thought getting a neck tattoo as opposed to, say, one of those peeping-over-the-pantyline tattoos was a real demonstration of commitment. Ten (or more) years ago I stood in line at the University Bookstore behind a pretty young woman who had a tattoo on her neck of an old-fashioned, claw-footed bathtub — complete with the extended pipe and shower-head. ‘Poseur’ is not the word that crossed my mind.”

Half Sigma: “I think they have prole drift backwards. The higher classes are taking on the habits of the lower classes.

It still seems incredibly stupid to get a tattoo. What happens when they go out of style? It’s still not considered upper class. Why permanently prevent yourself from ever being upper class?

Nevertheless, I see many white people in Manhattan with white collar jobs and probably college degrees who have tattoos. I suspect that they are all voting for Obama. College gradautes with tattoos just has a left-wing feel to it, but I can’t pinpoint why. Normally, left-wing people have no qualms about hating low-class white culture like hunting and NASCAR. It’s a real shame that the General Social Survey has never asked any questions about tattoos.”

Vote or Cry

Intrepid reader Jennifer sends in this scan of an ad from Seventeen magazine:

See, I’m conflicted about things like this. On the one hand, there are a lot of positive things to consider here: Encouraging young people to vote is undeniably noble; realistic-looking piercings in ads are rare; a crying woman is a huge turn-on.