Body modification is the practice of altering the body for non-medical reasons.  Common body modifications include piercings and tattoos.  Other, less common and more extreme forms of body modification include subdermal implants, branding, scarification, or even amputation. Plastic surgery is another form of body modification.


Temporary body modification like putting on makeup of dying your hair isn't a problem, you can stop doing it if you change your mind. Permanent body modification can be a problem because people sometimes change their minds afterwards and changing their bodies back the way they were may be hard or even impossible.

  1. Think things over long and carefully before you decide on any permanent change to your body.
  2. Don't do permanent changes to your body till you're at least 18.


Some critics of body modification claim that body modification is wrong because it is "unnatural". However, the claim that body modification is unnatural is dubious.  On the face of it, body modification seems to be unnatural, because the natural state of the body is being altered. However, the propensity to modify the body may be natural.  Some form of body modification is practiced in seemingly every culture around the world.  Evolutionarily, it is natural for humans to make themselves be as evolutionarily fit as possible, which includes modifying themselves to be more accepted within a group or tribe, and to make oneself more likely to attract mates.  Even if characteristics caused by modification are inborn, humans may have evolved to modify their bodies, so body modification is arguably natural.

Even if one argues that it is unnatural, that still does not make it wrong.  If it is wrong to go against nature, it is wrong to have modern technology.  Having a tattoo is no more morally wrong than using electricity.  There is no reason why we should not do things that are considered to be unnatural.


Some people are opposed to body modification on religious grounds.  Leviticus 19:28 in the Bible states: You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.

However, as many of us realize that religion doesn't make sense, we can disregard religious arguments against body modification.


Body modification should be a personal choice.  If one chooses to modify their body, or alter their appearance in any way, they should have the freedom to do so.  We are the owners of ourselves, so we should be able to choose what we want to do with our bodies. Not all liberals want to get body modifications themselves, but liberals should allow others to freely choose what they want to do with their lives.  A fundamental tenet of liberalism is personal freedom.

Note: There is a case for laws requiring people to wait several weeks, perhaps even months before having permanent body modifications that can't easily be changed back afterwards. That would reduce the numbers of people who later wish they hadn't got that tattoo or whatever. There's also a case for legislation against body modifications so grotesque that sane people are aren't going to want that shit and the same goes for amputations that no sane person would want. Psychiatrically sick people sometimes need protection against themselves.

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