I enjoy high quality body modification. Martial arts since 1993. Family, friends, music, movies, and pugs.
No body piercing can be 100% sterile, that’s a myth. What you aim for is an aseptic technique. Meaning you’re not contaminating any items you’re working with before they are used. It’s important to understand the difference, and to have a rational expectation of what can be done outside of a surgical suite. Now I can’t speak for the piercer you’re talking about because I don’t know how the operate.
Here’s how I would perform a piercing with three pairs of gloves, start to finish.
- Glove pair 1: Lay out all items to be used on your work surface. Put down a dental bib, put down prep pack, put down tools, needles, etc. Open the packages without touching the items within. Remove gloves.
- Glove pair 2: Go into the opened prep pack, use sterilized gauze to clean the skin and area to be pierced, dry the area with another piece of gauze. Mark the piercing with a sterilized toothpick (optional, marking can also be done on next step). Remove gloves.
- Glove pair 3: Mask off the area to pierced (if needed, preferred), mark site if desired. Pick up sterilized needle and/or jewelry from previously opened package or out of statim cassette. Perform piercing, insert jewelry, drop needle in sharps container, affix end piece on jewelry. Control any bleeding if needed. Done.
If preferred the final pair of gloves can be a sterile pair. This is up to the piercer unless it is required by law or local regulation. Even when piercing with sterile gloves the piercing still is not 100% “sterile”. That would be called a “sterile glove technique”. I teach classes on aseptic technique at the APP’s annual conference and I see huge misconceptions about what using sterile gloves means, or how to properly utilize them. Using sterile gloves in the wrong way is nothing more than a false sense of security. I pierce with non-sterile gloves, and so does the majority of the piercing industry. When you work in the proper steps you can perform an aseptic technique very easily.
I can appreciate how someone in the medical field might be trying to critique a body piercing, I’m sure they were just looking out for you or trying ti impress you. It does bother me a bit when doctors, nurses, or other medical employees dump on professional piercing. Especially since infections in hospitals kill numerous people each year. Maybe they’re not quite as “sterile” as they’d like to think they are.
This is a great question actually. My wife is a very confident woman and we have an exceptionally strong relationship. I honestly do not think she looks at what I do any different than I do. I am a professional and I’m here to provide a professional service. This service happens to be in the vein of enhancing sexual confidence and enjoyment. My goal is to make my customers super comfortable and create an environment where they can be open and honest with me about what they want, without having to worry about being judged or public about it.
My response to cultural appropriation and body modification industry….a conversation initiated by Alan Vedge..
Dear Alan, I appreciate you initiating a conversation like this .. It is also my hope that you read this with an open mind and heart…
I am speaking to you from the perspective of a women, a native to north and Central America, a body piercer and essentially a ” hipster white kid” believer.
Although I appreciate what You think is an attempt to magnify the ” injustices ” taking place in the body modification industry or rather “disrespect to indigenous people of the planet ” you have In fact done quite the opposite. In fact you alone in my opinion have done more damage than good in the quest for higher conscientiousness and unity.
In this melting pot of a culture you live in, you have put your perspective or opinion in a place above others in an attempt to right some wrongs that you believe are occurring. Don’t you think it’s time that privileged people stop telling all the other people what to do? Isn’t that the premise of all colonization on this planet …Someone with presumed privilege telling the crazy natives to act and behave in a certain way? Let me tell you something …really something about what it’s like to not belong anywhere and find a connection with anything that keeps you feeling like a human… Because that’s what tattoos and stretched lobes, body modifications, jewelry, ritual and other earthly things do for some people …and most certainly for me.
If you want to know how a native person feels about using ancient symbols or ceremonies in a modern way for tattoos or otherwise maybe you should ask one…instead of instituting what you think upon the situation…just pick up a stone and throw it ..you will no doubt hit a person who is native to some place who uses these symbols and ceremonies. White, black, red , yellow…all the people of the earth, homie.. What you might find is a person who live connected to these symbols is happy to share even with the most oblivious ….symbols don’t belong to anyone that’s what make them symbols…they can symbolize anything you want them to….
Lets talk details:
“Using culturally significant names for westernized piercings (ie. “Bindi” and “Sadhu” piercings)”
How fucking presumptions and white privileged of you to call these piercings western…or to identify them with modern usage before their cultural roots…a sadhu piercing is called a sadhu piercing because the first people to have large conch piercings where in fact sadhus so that means we stole it not the other way around and FYI , the word bindi means decoration…not specific to just Hindi and is technically correct if the decoration is a piercing worn by whoever…it is also called a third eye piercing but I would hate to offend those who have been blessed with an extra eyeball.
"Wearing culturally significant jewelry with no regard to the culture it came from."
Wearing jewelry from another culture, without knowing the significance, are you kidding me? If you studied jewelry of the world and tribal cultures you would know that one thing all the cultures of the world have in common is that many times if not most times jewelry is worn for adornment…to look beautiful and to express a beautification process. Well fuck if I didn’t honor that culture by wearing a piece of jewelry and looking beautiful…all the ancestors must be pissed…if just trying to be beautiful offends you than you might be truly lost.
-“Stealing culturally significant tattoo imagery, jewelry designs, etc. )”
"Stealing" really? Stealing is a word that doesn’t belong in this equation..to steal something means it at some point belonged to someone and was than stolen. and again your conquestador mentality comes out. Symbols like the swastika don’t belong to anyone or any one culture, just like the cross..or spiral, or hundreds of other imagery items that are now used for tattoos…if they don’t belong to anyone , you can’t fucking steal them…in fact I would go so far as to say they belong to everyone.
"(Especially when that jewelry is then produced by exploiting other people of color in developing nations)"
Is this directed at the people making jewelry in Bali and selling to Piercers in the US? It’s clear that you speak to this not from first hand knowledge but rather a very sheltered experience….Do you know that because of the rise in popularity of organic jewelry that an industry has been created in Bali for what would be considered a not as talented carver? A carver who otherwise may have gone without work? Do you believe the people are being exploited because they offer low prices on large orders and get paid decent wage to carve jewelry. Do you believe people like Jimmie, Corey, Erika and Phoebe would engage in a business standing on the backs of indigenous people?? Well they don’t. These people honor the designs and the carvers who make them and compensate them for their time and efforts. ( Oh and the phrase ” developing nation” in regard to a third world country like Bali is fucking insulting, they are well developed )
And please find me the original tribe who invented the spiral so we can pay them respects…oh wait ! That design surfaced in at least three different continents all at the same time and it reminds us that we are all one tribe and identify with the same symbols…oh no ?too soon ? We will get to that part…
-“Stealing the names of rituals, mimicking them, and/or taking elements from and using them outside of their cultural history. (“Kavadi” and “Sundance” rituals.”
This is the part where I want to punch you in the face …boy , you fucking missed the boat on this. Stealing the names of rituals? Really ? Mimicking them? Taking elements? Blood rituals go back as far as humanity…they don’t have names until we gave them names and therefor stealing their names is a moot point. Spiritual ceremonies belong to the people who participate in them. The ceremonies from Africa using scarification aren’t stolen from Meso Americans that also practice the same art. And mimicking ? The modern day Sundance ritual is a mimick of itself at best as the ceremony has changed many times handed down time and time again. The Druids have a type of Sundance, the Lakota, the Mexicah, Mayas, Dine….about a million visions of the same intention who’s to say a back yard suspension hold any less importance. These rituals are resurfacing in different manifestations all over the world….none more important than the other. Should people be respectful of ceremony in general ? Absolutely. Should they feel like they don’t belong doing those ceremonies because they are white or not able to make it to the land of their origin to participate in the original mimic of their roots? Absolutely not. Any truly spiritual person will honor each individual and the movement that is needed to accomplish their spiritual quest….add these words to the list of names that don’t belong to any one tribe therefore are not needing you to defend their usage. Vision quest, Sweatlodge, Moondance, ball dance, spear dance, Blessing Way, Birthrites, Death dance, etc…. These ceremonies belong to the people of this earth, they are not a privilege but a birthrite, at anytime any human or any cultural background can claim these rights and don’t deserve to have anyone judge them for that.
“Wearing cultural people as tattoos or on clothing, often a bastardized and racist stereotype of the culture. (“Indian girl” tattoos with headdresses and face paint, “Gypsy” tattoos, etc.)”
Regardless of what you might think both the examples given here are part of a subculture here in the United States that wears these Tattoos not for the content but because of the original artist who made them popular. Both the Indian head and gypsy head tattoos come from a body of work originated by artists like Sailor Jerry who serve as a godfather of modern tattooing in North America… People get them more for the traditional style than for the content..so while trying to amplify the offensive nature you are also trying to rip apart a culturally significant design to THIS culture. Way to go…
"Wearing other cultures’ clothing as costumes for events"
This might be the only one I agree with you on but I also feel like this has been taken too far. Black face is not funny , no doubt …but does a person dressed as a Mexican Vato for Halloween offend me? No not really …and men dressed in drag for Halloween also doesn’t offend me. What offends me is how offended everyone gets for no reason.
I realize your post was to heighten awareness of these subjects but what it sounds like you are saying is ” you stick with your tribe and not borrow from others. ” or ” don’t do it unless it’s from your cultural background ” and what that says to me is you are more comfortable keeping cultures segregated. Which quite honestly sounds like separatist shit. Expressing disgust or dislike to ” white hipster ” kids for learning about cultural symbols and tattooing them is so ironic since you are in fact a ” white hipster” but alas refer to my initial statement that says I am a ” white hipster” believer ….what I mean by that is the middle American white male that has ” stolen ” these cultural markings has in fact given birth to the generation of Piercers that I identify with. If it wasn’t for a certain few white males in western culture ( Fakir, Blake, Cliff Cadaver, etc) ” reclaiming” these practices and then being published in magazines and books ( modern primitive, savage magazine, PFIQ etc….I would have never found it and connected in the way I have to my culture and the rich cultures of the world that have been my inspiration for the last 20 years in the industry. So I believe in the movement of young westerners and their innocent quest to connect with the culture of the world. I believe it has been monumental in the resurfacing of ancient practices that in so many ways are saving lives, mending broken hearts and closing in the boundaries that separate us.
"Those of us with privileges should be using that to elevate the voices of others in our community and reaching out to those who may feel initially left out rather than asserting opinions and alienating them."
In your attempt to not alienate people you have done so. Take your own advise. You are no doubt one of the privileged and yet lacking in so many other ways. In my fight to connect with other humans, to belong to the tribes of the world and to educate about compassion and awareness…I encourage you to step back, look at what has been said and realize that you are most certainly part of the problem in our industry, not the kid who unknowingly is wearing some Jewelry from India , but a person who judges and presumes to know what is best for others based off limited knowledge of the subject. If you would like I would love to have this conversation in person and invite others to chime in.
"What offends me is how offended everyone gets for no reason."