Help An IAMer With A Project! C’mon, Do It.

(Scarification comes from Ze in Milan, Italy.)

Unrelated to the above photo, Clara recently wrote in about a project she’s putting together for school, which sounds like it could be pretty great, but she needs help from YOU. Yes, YOU. Take it away, Clara!

Dear BME members,

I am a student in Hong Kong working on a video documentary about the health, safety and ethical issues of tattoos and piercings.

As this is a project on body modification, I would like the members of BME to help me by sending me pictures or videos of the following. Basically, if you have any of these photos/videos in pretty decent quality for a DVD, hanging around in your hard-drive…


Tattoo problems
– Scarred up DIY tattoos.
– Faded DIY tattoos.
– Tattoos with blowouts. Example.
– Name tattoos with the outline of another tattoo waiting to be filled in. Example.
– Tattoos after laser removal. Example.

Problem piercings
– Rejecting piercings. Navel, eyebrow, surface…etc.
– Badly done piercings. You know when a client comes in complaining about a piercing done down the road in that shady store? Example 1, 2.

Piercing gun horrors
– Hugely swollen up, infected, or embedded gunned piercings. The grosser the better. Example 1, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6.

Well healed tattoos/piercings
– Tattoos/piercings that have been done correctly to help my audience distinguish the difference between a poorly and a well done piercing/tattoo. Ear (all kinds), navels, eyebrows, tongues, labrets, surface…etc. Tattooists/piercers, this is your time to shine! Send me your portfolio!

– Your studio’s jewelry display.
– Anatometal surface bars.
– BCRs, Curved barbells, Straight barbells.
– Internal & external threading jewelry, placed side by side for a comparison.
– Substandard jewelry. Example 1, 2, 3.

– Your studio’s layout (reception, sterilising room, piercing/tattoo room.)
– Your studio’s logo.
– Clamps
– Needles (sharps and cannulas.)
– Tattoo machines.

Sterilisation and disinfection
– Autoclaves.
– Ultrasonic cleaners.
– Bagged up tools.

– If there are any 3D animators on BME with too much time on their hands, helping me create animations in HD quality will be very, very much appreciated.
I will need a few of these, showing the insertation and removal of BCRs, Curved/straight barbells (internal & external threading), and the mechanisms of an ear piercing stud. Anyone who would like to help me, please contact me at [email protected]

– Videos of anything piercing/tattooing related. Must be in DVD quality or higher though. Anyone who would like to help me, please contact me at [email protected] to make arrangements.


My final video will be in standard DVD quality, where the resolution will be 720 x 576. To allow me some “space” to zoom in/out, or pan sideways without affecting the resolution, I would appreciate it if you can send in your pictures/videos in as high a resolution as possible.

Please email them to [email protected] Or, if the file(s) are too large, you can compress them into .rar or .zip, and upload them to

Please only send photos/vids that you own (you should be in the photo/vid, or you must have taken the photo/vid yourself.) Please send them to me with your full name and your city of residence. Your name and city of residence will be used in the credits, whilst your email will be kept confidential. By emailing me picture(s) and/or video(s), you are agreeing to let me use your videos/pictures in my school project, and I have the right to edit or make changes to them as I deem suitable.

Please note, I will not use genital or nipple (male AND female) photos/videos as this is a school project.

Thank you BME. I hope that this is something the whole BME community can be involved in.

Much appreciated, Clara Chan. (IAM: fuck_life)

Questions/comments? Email me.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 20, 2008)

[Joplin Globe] It’s pretty often that we stumble across stories of backwards school boards that have decided students with tattoos and piercings are an affront to the education system and do not even deserve access to the same crippled-by-No-Child-Left-Behind embarrassment programs as all the others, and who cares right? What have stupid kids ever offered society other than scabies and juvenile diabetes? Well, the mavericks on the Joplin R-8 Board of Education in Missouri have turned their discerning eyeballs on the swill merchants who are pushing these ideas of “body” “art” on the little scamps: teachers!

Joplin R-8 Board of Education members Tuesday night gave administrators the OK to change wording in the district’s employment policy to not allow any part of a tattoo to show.

The policy previously instructed teachers to wear clothing that “minimizes” tattoos, but it did not prohibit part or all of the tattoo from showing.

The board also wants to make that policy apply to all district employees, not just teachers.

Superintendent C.J. Huff said he brought the issue to the board because someone had raised concerns about teachers with tattoos. The board members appeared to be in unanimous agreement about tattoos not being appropriate in a professional and, specifically, a classroom setting.

[…] Joplin resident Maurice Filson encouraged the board to adopt a policy that requires teachers to cover their tattoos. He said refusing to do so would be a statement that might speak louder than the body art itself.

“You already know the problems our children are facing, so for the sake of our kids, I hope this can be properly addressed,” Filson said.

Do those problems include low test scores and problems focusing in class? Because I have a feeling that even if the subject matter of these classes isn’t engaging the little ragamuffins, then maybe more interesting individuals at the helm could be of some help. But as I’ve said before, it’s hard to argue with an employer that seeks to enforce a dress code, so … keep up the work, Joplin Board of Education. You are doing a job.

[Greensburg Daily News] So what with it being election season and all, does anybody know when we cast our ballots for mother of the year? Because, even though it’s only October, I have a feeling it’s going to be tough to beat Indiana’s proudest daughter, Jessica Middleton of St. Paul, who had herself a pretty spectacular twenty-second birthday:

According to Greensburg Police Chief Brian Heaton, Jessica L. Middleton, 22, was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony. Heaton said at 10:26 p.m. Friday, the department received a call of a 2-year-old in a car unattended in the city parking lot just off the downtown square. Due to a high call volume taxing the on-duty officers he had at the time, Officer Mike McNealy didn’t arrive immediately. When he did, he found a child being cared for by some friendly passers-by.

[…] Heaton said they may not have found Middleton without thew help of a 16-year-old male who said he was friends with the mother. He told officers Middleton, who turned 22 on Oct. 15, went to Somers’ Ink, a new tattoo parlor downtown, for a tattoo at around 9:30 p.m. Afterwards, Heaton said the teenager informed officers she went to the Tiki Bar for a birthday drink. He identified Middleton to officers, who allowed him access to the bar for the purpose of making their arrest.

Booze and tattoos? Sounds like a pretty sweet birthday to me! Other than the whole borderline-infanticide thing, which really sounds like it was being blown out of proportion. When asked for a comment, Middleton told reporters that she used to babysit herself in the car all the time, eating cigarette butts and strangling herself with the seatbelt, and she turned out pretty well, didn’t she? Middleton then fell down, soiled herself and a rabid coyote ran over and licked her fresh tattoo, thus capping the greatest birthday she or anyone else has ever had.

[YouTube] No snark here, friends: The video that follows is of a ballet performed by a pair of amputees, one male and one female, and it’s about as beautiful as anything you’ll find on these here Internets:

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Sept. 22, 2008)

Photo credit: Peter Parsons / The Chronicle Herald staff

[The Chronicle Herald] As a rule, it’s probably best not to advocate tattoos as a means of winning a bet or a contest. Unless it’s a happy moment of serendipity in which a situation arises in which you were planning on getting a tattoo anyway — or, at least, that the situation inspires you to get a piece that you enjoy but may not have considered otherwise — the results will likely be dire. (I swear, that photo-realistic sleeve of Oprah horse-whipping the Pope in drag was for charity!) Luckily, JoAnn Harpell isn’t in the regretful camp: the Nova Scotia woman got a portrait of Elton John on her leg (right) in order to win a radio contest to see John in concert.

“The only thing I wouldn’t have done (to get a ticket) would be to go to a scalper,” Ms. Harpell said.

And she did try to get tickets when they first went on sale for the Halifax and Moncton concerts.

“I cried like a baby when I didn’t get them,” she said. “I was very upset.”

The serendipitous part is that Harpell was already moderately tattooed, and there are a few songs in Sir Elton’s catalogue that are incredibly meaningful for her — the lyrics of which were incorporated into the new piece. Sweet story, right? Surely the commenters visiting The Chronicle Herald’s Web site agree, right?

“I can’t believe that anyone would go to those extremes to see an entertainer plus with 14 tattoos she is lucky she has a husband. I think she needs to take some of her money and see a psychiatrist.”

“There are two things wrong with this story. First, that this woman will disfigure herself for a couple of tickets to see an aging pop star, and second, that C100 would sponsor such a thing. Unbelievable. Shows very bad judgement on both their parts. And the tattoo is very poorly done and looks nothing like Sir Elton. I felt really embarrassed for her, and really ticked off at C100 for their juvenile behaviour.”

“C100 is a crazy radio station and this woman’s behavior fits right in. Me thinks you need to get a life…… “

God damn it.

[] In the latest edition of Tattoos v. School Board, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board in New Orleans is seeking to ban “visible lewd and gang-related tattoos,” which doesn’t actually sound the like worst idea ever. Sure, it’s problematic because terms like “lewd” and “gang-related” are certainly open to interpretation: Is a traditional pin-up girl “lewd”? Should a tattoo referencing one’s neighborhood qualify as “gang-related”? And as well, some may suggest that prohibiting tattoos of any kind is some sort of violation, constitutional or otherwise. But at the same time … it’s high school. Banning tattoos and piercings is silly, but, as with any venue that relies on a sense of decorum to maintain some semblance of order, I can’t quite disagree with measures that might cut down on idiotic gang violence. As long as it’s not a single figurehead making the decisions — a committee of peers, perhaps?

[] It seriously seems like there’s a tattoo-related story coming out of the Republican presidential campaign every other day, does it not? This is one is even more boring than usual, though. Meghan McCain was overheard talking to her editor about getting a new tattoo! She’s already got a blue star tattooed on her foot, and her editor has 11 tattoos of his own! McCain said she would wait, however, until after the election to get new work done, out of respect to her father, who, for five-and-a-half years in Vietnam, couldn’t get a tattoo.

[Darragh Doyle] Cute story here about a guy admiring a Don Quixote tattoo from across a crowded pub. He approaches to the woman wearing the piece, who either doesn’t know the right story about where the design came from, or is purposely screwing with the narrator. Nice tattoo, as well.

It’s Just a Lip Piercing, For God’s Sake

Though I think it’s usually dumb and misguided, I have a hard time taking issue with a company that institutes a dress code that prohibits visible, tasteful modifications — by all means, that sort of thing is up to the discretion of the owner. When it comes to a school board banning them, however? It often comes off as an arbitrary and thoughtless use of power. So it goes in Portales, New Mexico: 13-year-old Kierra Seales has been informed that the clear bead she wants to wear in her lip piercing is unacceptable, and that the piercing will have to come out while at school. Her mother, Nkoshe, is calling it a First Amendment issue:

Photo credit: PNT / Mickey Winfield

“If we could accomplish changing the wording of the dress code, both sides would benefit,” Nkoshe Seales told the board. “The students would feel like they have the freedom to express themselves, and the administration and staff would no longer have to make an issue of the fashion trend.”

The current Portales schools’ dress code policy for piercing states that no student shall wear nose rings or nose studs or any type of visible body piercing accessory with the exception of earrings in the ear. […]

“The First Amendment is freedom of expression. Whether youth have First Amendment rights is still a legal question, but what is not in question is that they will (have them) some day,” Nkoshe argued. “Constraining them now from expressing themselves is no preparation for exercising those rights.”

Nkoshe has opened up a dialogue with the school board on the issue, and the board’s superintendent, Randy Fowler, seems open to reviewing the current rules and determining if a change in order. Nkoshe’s argument goes beyond a simple constitutional defense, though, and insists there are tangible benefits to body piercing:

“Piercing is a healthy and positive thing in some people’s lives,” Nkoshe said. “It encourages personal growth and self-discovery. Body piercing is the safest and most positive (expression) a youth could embrace given the alternatives of drugs, sex and gang violence.”

Well, I’m not sure those are the only alternatives, but … what do I know? Let’s see what the readers of the Portales News-Tribune have to say!

I wonder what this mother would think if Portales Schools went to using school uniforms? With the large number of students now, it would be helpful to the teachers if they knew who exactly should be on campus for safety reasons. Does she think teachers should also be able to express themselves by wearing what they would like and showing what they would like?

Hmm … well, the teacher issue seems like a bit of a straw man, but I’ll grant that if it’s a particularly problematic area, uniforms shouldn’t be discounted immediately. Even still though, aren’t piercings compatible with the institution of uniforms? One would think …

“I hope the School Board will remain firm in the set policy. Wearing a pistol on the hip, running naked in the streets are all part of self expression however thankfully there are laws and rules. Our schools are to teach. Teaching rules is part of education. This is why children are willful today.”

“Please change the rules for me because I am more special than all of the other kids who have gone through these schools and followed the rules. BULL!!!! I think it would be a very different circumstance if someone were to go into their place of business here in town and urinate in the floor. I think Ms. Seales would be very upset with you, and I don’t think she would be any happier if you told her that it was ok and should be allowed because you were just expressing yourself on the carpet.”

Oh, God damn it.

Mother protests school district policy on piercings [Portales News-Tribune]