Sat, August 2nd, 2014

Body Modifications and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body modifications are any type of change to your body that modifies it in any way for the better or for the worst. They come in all different sorts forms. Most commonly known and normalized in our society as plastic surgery, dying of the hair, piercings, and tattoos. Most people don’t see any of those as wrong because they are presented to us so loosely in society as a trend. I even see those as normal in my eyes having body modifications of my own; my ears are stretched and I have my lip and ear cartilage pierced. Body Modifications are so popular now because they are advertised to “solve” the problems you have with your body or to make you feel trendier. Plastic surgery is so common in this modern age that getting a nose job or breast implants is overlooked now as a normal thing to do to most people. But what if people went deeper than that to find out why it’s so common? One of my first thoughts is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). BDD altars the perception of the person’s own physical appearance. This disorder creates high levels of anxiety for the person and can ultimately getting so bad for the person that they will disfigure themselves to try to “solve” the problem. The thing with BDD is that you can develop it at any age and it will stay as long as the person obsesses over it. This is where body modifications come into the picture. Some peoples BDD goes away after a few piercings, ear and facial piercings mostly. But sometimes people take their modifications too far. People can get addicted to their ever-changing look. Plastic surgery addiction has been featured in several celebrities. In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to look at a celebrity and see the obvious modifications to their face and or body.

Heidi Montag, a familiar face to social media, underwent 10 surgeries in one day. Seems insane, but to her it was a great idea. Rumor has it that she started getting plastic surgery because her fiancée at the time, Spencer Pratt-who she is married to now, told her she wasn’t pretty enough for him to marry her. After undergoing only a few operations she became addicted to plastic surgery. After realizing she was getting attention for her new look, her husband and her BDD pushed her for “perfection” so that they could reach “fame and fortune” as the couple puts it. Heidi seems to think her appearance is perfect and is happy with the changes.

Before and after pictures below of Heidi’s procedures taken out of a magazine:                              

“I just wanted to feel more confident and look in the mirror and be like, "Whoa! That's me!" I was an ugly duckling before.”- Heidi Montag on her new appearance.

Jocelyn Wildenstein, also know as the Cat Woman or the Lion Queen, transformed her face to have the features of a large feline to save her marriage to her billionaire art-dealer husband, Alec Wildenstein, after she had found him in bed with a 19-year-old Russian Model. Alec Wildenstein who reportedly had an obsession for large felines was the reason why she chose big game cats to start her facial features towards. After over 4 million dollars in surgeries to transform her face she presented herself to her husband who wasn’t as pleased with the look. Tabloids say when he saw her he screamed and ran out of the room. In 1999 Jocelyn divorced Alec. Her plastic surgery addiction was so rampant that the judge contracted the settlement that Jocelyn received from the divorce so that she could not use it for plastic surgery. In 2011 she was spotted with less intense cat features that people dub to mean she is finally seeing her mistakes and is getting reconstructive surgery. If she is getting reconstructive surgery, it has not been released by her publicist.

 Picture of Jocelyn Before and After:

Now as I said before BDD shows up in both genders, which mean yes, Men are just as capable of suffering from BDD as much as women are. Two French male twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff  (optionally spelled as Bogdanov), were teen heartthrobs actors who starred in 80's French sci-fi shows. The twins have reportedly had several chin, cheek, and lip implants along with being injected with silicon in various parts of their faces several times. Although not much is known about the twins themselves in the film industry. The reasons why they started getting plastic surgery is a damn shame because they were pretty cute.

The twins in the 80’s before going under the knife:

The twins in the 00’s after going under the knife:



  It's clear after reading comments about those featured, that a lot of people just overlook the plastic surgery and think it's normal and that it is just someone looking for attention. But that’s not always the goal idea. Hang Mioku; a native Korean woman had her first surgery when she was 28. After seeing her new self she moved to Japan to extend her new love of plastic surgery. Even when things started going wrong and she was left disfigured from all the injections and surgeries, Hang felt she was obligated to keep up her appearance. Eventually surgeons refused to operate on her and she became desperate. She returned home to Korea and even her parents couldn’t recognize her. Her parents could see an obvious mental disorder that rose to the surface because of the plastic surgery and decided to get her treatment. Because of the high costs, Hang could no longer pay for the treatment and was forced back into her old self. After being rejected again by multiple plastic surgeons she found one that would give her silicon injections. The worst part is that he gave her, her own syringe and silicon so that she could inject herself at home. When her supply of silicon ran out, Hang injected her face with cooking oil to substitute for the silicon. But as you might of guessed it back fired on poor Hang. Hangs face and neck became so swollen and so grotesquely large that children mocked her in her neighborhood. After being featured on a Korean TV, people sent in enough money for Hang to get surgery to reduce the size of her neck and face. Even after the procedures were done, Hang to this day is still disfigured and scarred forever. And now after seeing her mistake with plastic surgery says that she just wishes she could go back to the way to the way she was before.


Hang before:

Hang After:


  Although plastic surgery isn’t always the choice of acting out body modification wise, it is one of the most common. Others take something that they loved as a kid and glorify it to the point that they will modify themselves, like Dennis Avner or also known as Stalking Cat. (Shown below)

SchoolCenter PictureSchoolCenter Picture SchoolCenter Picture

Dennis is the holder of the most body modifications. Dennis was first driven to transform himself into a tiger because an Indian chief told him to follow the ways of his totem animal, the tiger. This however is a case of BDD disguised by being driven to save an old tradition because many people do not practice it anymore. With all the attention that Stalking Cat’s modifications have gotten, Glenn McGee, director of the Center for Bioethics at Albany Medical College in New York, is one of the most concerned for Dennis’ health because of how many procedures he has gotten could possibly threaten his health. Dennis has gotten most of his body tattooed with tiger stripes, lip-splitting surgery and silicon injections to change his top lip into a more feline-esque shape, fiberglass whiskers that he attaches to his face via 18 piercings in his top lip, a nose-job to change his nose shape like a feline, subdermal implants inserted into his brow and forehead, silicon injections into his cheeks and chin, his teeth removed and tiger-like dentures placed with longer dentures that were shaved down to have longer canines, surgery to have pointed ears, acrylic nails, and an animatronic tail that was attached to his spine. With all the health risks that less extreme plastic surgery comes with, I agree with Glenn McGee thinking that the modifications are a bit extreme and that doctor should be concerned that the excessive surgeries will have a very negative effect on his health. Although, Stalking Cat protests that the modifications are only to “preserve his culture” and that the modifications are “who he was supposed to be”.

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