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Episode Highlights: 

1:21 - Why people get pierced for religious reasons?
2:58 - Why people usually get pierced for self-expression?
6:15 -  "After... becoming a mother, you just go through a lot of bodily changes, and it just is like the perfect way to... come back from that in ways that make you more confident" - Kara
11:45 - "I didn't do it for myself I did it so someone else would feel confident in themselves and I thought that makes it a lot more special to me" - Kara
13:27  "I'm still going to be happy with the fact that you made a decision on what you are confident for yourself and it just makes me even more excited" - Kara
14:14 - Why aesthetic purposes is another reason why people get pierced?
15:15 - Another reason why people get pierced is for sexual pleasure.
17:39 -  "Genital piercings being designed specifically for trans anatomy, which is beautiful and exciting and my intention with that isn't necessary to be all evil, but it's a fun goddess too" - Silas
19:40 - Medical purposes, another reason why people consider getting pierced.
22:15 -  LGBTQ plus community, flag themselves through the help of piercing.
22:26 -  "I have a rainbow of balls... I feel like without that I don't really have anything that will let people know that I'm not straight and I would prefer the people to smell it without me screaming it off the rooftop" - Endy

Transcription: 

Endy: Here in Avanti, we're all about implementing the three E's: Education, Empowerment, and Expression. Welcome to the #iamAvanti podcast!

Endy: Hey, everyone, welcome back to the #iamAvanti podcasts. My name is Endy, and I'm here with my two co-hosts -

Silas: Silas

Kara: And Kara.

Endy: And today we're just having a little chat about why people get pierced. We did a little bit of research and we found some reasons but of course, as with most inspiring modifications, there are many reasons why someone might want to participate in modification, and there is no right or wrong reason and there are a plethora of answers. These are just the common ones that we happen to find when we listen to it. So some of the reasons that people get pierced are for religious and spiritual reasons, which we kind of discussed during our history episodes. Other people do it for self-expression. Some people do it for the aesthetic value or sometimes for sexual pleasures, or to conform to one's culture or even to rebel against it and some people actually do it to help flag others in the community, which we'll discuss a little bit later so let's dive in.

Why people get pierced for religious reasons? 
Endy: People get their selves pierced for religious reasons all the time, and we listed a couple of examples in our history episode. For example, the tongue and it can sometimes be seen as a rite of passage for some people. Last time we recorded we had our piercer Jasper here and he gave an example of a family that would come into one of his past shops and when all the daughters turned around nine years old, they would get their nose pierced. I'm guessing on the same side to represent them coming of age and also, it can be a thing for beauty as well and it has sometimes, Christians have left into deities and religious status and like we mentioned before tongue piercings were contour lipsticks in the Mayan times and they would use the blood flow of the tongue piercing as a way to communicate with their gods, which I think is pretty darn cool.

Source: https://www.ootlah.com

Silas: Yeah, that's super interesting

Endy: Yeah.

Silas: And even separate from, you know, certain religions too. There's this ongoing kind of spiritual thread that I think is found in a lot of different modifications about like altering the body to reach a different state of consciousness. A lot of suspension work and piercing that's tied to BDSM and kink communities really focuses on that sort of practice as well.

Why people usually get pierced for self-expression?
Endy: Yeah, that's really, really cool. So there's plenty of reasons why people may get pierced for that particular reason. Another reason people usually get pierced is for self-expression, which I think is something all three of us can relate to. All three of us are pretty, moderately modified, or heavily modified, depending on who you ask at this point, and I think we all have a plan to getting more piercings in the future. I think all three of us have talked about at the shop different things you want to get done to our faces or ears or the rest of our bodies. So let's just go around and talk about our own experiences with self-expressions and how our own piercings contributed to that. Who wants to start?

Kara: I guess, I am.

Endy: Yeah

Kara: Well, I mean, like I started getting pierced at a very, very young age. I was about 10 years old when I did my first piercing on myself, but I did get my ears pierced when I was six years old so I just kept---I just, you know, from there, that's where it started. I mainly did it for the purpose of I always was trying to find that as a way to like use that as a way to be able to express who I am and trying to find myself like as a coming of age thing just you know just like really growing out of being a kid and slowly turning into like a teenager and like just that whole transition is like confusing and frustrating as is so I used piercing and modification as a way to be able to try to find who I am but then I grew up with a lot of family who didn't necessarily agree with modifications so I was always kind of constricted in that aspect so that just made everything a lot more frustrating for me so I always rebel against my mom and pierced myself which is not advised at all but you know, like I said, I knew what I wanted and I knew that it was right and I knew that if I got it, I would be happier with myself and I believed even at being 11 - 12 years old, that who is anyone else tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. Yeah, that also turned into just trying to pull myself out of very like toxic and traumatic experiences and being able to overcome that as like, you know, distinct by just taking my body back. And I know that you know, there's other people who can agree with me and people who worked here too so there you know, I mean, like, specifically in stretching my ears, I was in a relationship for five years. It was very, very toxic and he unfortunately you know, he didn't like the way stretched ears look like on me so he always told me like, you look ugly, you look ugly like that, like, you know, keep stretching your ears more like just like the more I don't like it, which is always just trying to convince me to not do something that I found I was passionate about and that really frustrated me so I think I really rebelled against some of the aspects of like, okay, you're saying that like, you know, you don't like love [inaudible 6:00] it even more so that just made me want to continuously do it. Also being a mother too and being so young, I really want to like get my belly button pierced again because I had it when I was 16 but, you know, after being pregnant and like becoming a mother, you just go through a lot of bodily changes like physically, and it just is like the perfect way to, you know, come back from that in ways that make me more confident for who I am and being able to be more self-accepting with the body that I now have after having my son so I'm super excited about that. There's also a future piercing I am looking into getting but mainly just for, you know, trying to just constantly without having to say it through talking, just being able to "F*ck it, no." like, "This is who I am, this is what I believe in". I am confident in who I am, I'm confident in the decisions I make with my body or within myself and, you can state your opinion but it's unsolicited and I'm most likely will not listen to it if it's coming across a way that's demeaning to me.  [inaudible 7:06-7:12]

Source: https://www.reddit.com

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"After... becoming a mother, you just go through a lot of bodily changes, and it just is like the perfect way to... come back from that in ways that make you more confident" - Kara

 

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Silas: You know, a lot of similar themes as yours, Kara, like, people telling me what would look good on me or I don't know being a trans person my whole life you've all been telling me what my body is and isn't and who I am and who I'm not and at a certain point, I just got really sick of it and, I, at the time, wouldn't necessarily consider piercings or you know, other mods as part of my transition, but now I really do because I think they were the first steps I took in claiming my body as my own and it also went against these norms, you know what's considered like ladylike or that's what was often thrown at me of like, you know, and elegant lobe piercing is chill but if you start getting too many you're gonna be too masked or whatever. What's wrong with that? I was like "Sweet!" I'm gonna be doing it then.

Kara: That is exactly my goal.

Silas: Yeah, like for sure note taken and it took me a while to still even get comfortable. I'm learning those things from what I've been told and you know most of my facial piercings I've gotten in the past few months since working here because I still like scared those you know, those voices in your head and people telling you like this is a bad idea or whatever, but it makes me feel so much more comfortable in myself, in my body existing in the world, it makes me feel grounded and it makes me feel hot, which is an added fun bonus. So that's where you know where I'm [inaudible 9:03-9:04].

Endy: Cool. My journey with piercings and self-expression, I basically thought piercing so that I would like myself more. I wanted something that was unique for me and with kind of an accent and making more comfortable with certain features like I've had my nose pierced for over a decade now and it's a part of my face. I can't imagine my face without it and I feel I'm growing the same relationship I felt on piercing I've only had it for about three to four months now but it's starting to be something that I like and it helps me to essentially certain features of my face that I wasn't necessarily comfortable with at first and I've been getting piercing since oh boy since I was like around 15-16. I've had my nose pierced three times I've had most parts of my body's pierced and every time I get a piercing, I see it almost like a ritual because there's so much build-up and there's so much anticipation and so much pressure deciding you want a piercing, deciding where you want it, trying to find a place, go into the place, doing all the paperwork, waiting for it, and then you finally get it, and then the second the needle goes in, it'd be like, let go this like long sigh of like relief or you know, or just knowing that you just modified yourself in a way that makes you a little bit more expressive and I think that's super special and that's why I want to get more and I don't know if there's a cap on how many piercings I don't want to get but since we work in here, it's really really tempting. I've always loved modifications and I've always love the way that they make people look and feel and I like the way that they make me look and feel so.

Kara: Yeah, no, I mean like that's kind of something I mean, 'cause like my septum piercing prime examples like a piercing that like I never thought that I would ever like on myself. I literally only got it just because my old manager, he really wanted his septum pierced and he was worried about the way that it might look like on him. He was scared of what other people would think what it'd look like, you know he's trying to say talk him up like, you know like I'll go with you like it'll be fine like you're gonna look really great with it like it's not gonna hurt like it's super fast. I'm just trying to reassure him like it doesn't matter what other people think and he literally asked me he was just like if I get my [inaudible 11:28] you get [inaudible 11:29] me? And I was like absolutely like I didn't even think twice about it. I never planned on getting my septum pierced and then I ended up getting it soon just literally so he could be happy with the decisions he made for his own body and then like I think that's one of the main things I do like about my septum because I didn't do it for myself. I did it so someone else would feel confident in themselves. I thought that makes it a lot more special to me but now I've really grown on it and like, now like I've I started stretching myself to up to 10 gauge and like I couldn't be more happy with the piercing, which is how it looks on me now. Like I think I'm 10 times more confident when I stretched it. So yeah, it's just kind of funny how things like that happen.

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“I didn't do it for myself I did it so someone else would feel confident in themselves and I thought that makes it a lot more special to me” - Kara

 

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Silas: I also feel like you know, that story brings up a really important role of like community in piercing and relationships and like, Endy, I think we both express this of a bit of like not being in this shop environment where we're all like, yeah, piercings are amazing and you look amazing with that and do you feel amazing and like, all of that, it's totally shifted my relationship to getting pierced and what piercings I want and like, the idea that there is no cap like we can really do whatever we want and I think if we all---like removing those barriers of self-policing and being like, yeah, what would it look like for yourself? If you really just let yourself do whatever you want? No rules, just let it be like, who could you be? Who could your life be without feel like, and I think that's such an important. I don't know why I think why piercing is so great.

Endy: Yeah.

Kara: Yeah. It's just the whole experience to like all of those customers that come into our shop and like, they have an idea on what they want, but they don't really know and then they always ask me, like, what do you think? And I'm like, well, what's really what you say.

SilasYeah, it doesn't matter!

Kara: But like, it's your personal preference like I'm always going to be for supporting the decision that you make even if you decide you didn't want to get something you end up walking out, you know? Like I'm still going to be happy with the fact that you made a decision on what you are confident for yourself and it just makes me even more excited like when the---like as time they responds like know what you're right; like it is what I want like, this is what I like, I figured it out. Okay, this is what we're doing now. All right, awesome! Let's put the jewelry, let's do the paperwork, like and it just makes the experience a lot more memorable - being able to like watch people transition and with piercing, they're like 10 times more happier than they were coming in and just being super confident in themselves, and then even being educated too. So it's just it's a really great feeling. That's why I love this community.

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"I'm still going to be happy with the fact that you made a decision on what you are confident for yourself and it just makes me even more excited"- Kara

 

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Endy: Yeah, it's really nice to be able to help people make that change for themselves.

Why aesthetic purposes is another reason why people get pierced?
Endy:  Another reason that people get pierced could be for aesthetic purposes. It's finally starting to transition into Spring. I've noticed and we're getting a lot more like dermal and belly button piercing because people wanting to look cute for the summer, getting things that you know, would accommodate crop tops or swimwear or whatever piercing that is and whatever places so aesthetic-wise. Piercings are very aesthetically pleasing. I remember being younger. I did have my belly button pierced at one point because my favorite pop stars had belly button piercings like Britney Spears and Beyonce and I thought they were just like the coolest ladies. I still do. I think they're so awesome.

Sources: https://www.thelist.com 

SilasI'm still waiting for you to bring that trend back.

Endy: I am thinking about it. I'm thinking about it. The tapering experience seems a little bit intimidating because I had someone explained what being tapered was like and what that entails and it just sounds terrifying.

Kara: But it's different for every person. 

Another reason why people get pierced is for sexual pleasure. 
Endy: That's true and I have already had it here. So it's not like it would be going through like a fresh hole. It's just a closed-hole but I don't know. The way they explained it and they're like, Oh, your skin cells pop out in ones like confetti, and I was like, Oh no! I don't want to do that, I don't want to see that, I don't want to be part of that. Yeah, it's just like surprise, like oh my god. I just, but we'll see. We'll see if I do it. We'll see if I can survive it, and make it, and keep on surviving. If you already said I reference and we're best friends now. Another reason that people maybe get pierced is for sexual pleasures. So genital piercings are a topic that's a little bit more taboo. Not all that people like to talk about them just because it is something that's kind of intimate and it is something that is considered private most of the time, depending on who you are, yeah, exactly, no pun intended but what are some of the reasons that people may want to get pierced down there?

SilasI'm really passionate about genital piercing and like, I will gladly talk about it.

Kara: Yeah. Go ahead!

Silas: There's a lot of different reasons and it also depends on what anatomy you're working with. But generally speaking, the most common genital piercings for whatever genitalia you have, due in high in your sensitivity down there, depending on what jewelry you pick out too, there can be, in what acts you might be involved in, you can use the jewelry to your advantage for some extra stimulation. Another one that could also just be for aesthetic reasons. Genital piercing kinda gets automatically thrown into this like, taboo kinky round, like, you know, that's so like freaky or whatever, which, if that's why you're doing it, that's also cool. I totally support that great, but also, you know, I'm thinking about getting genital piercings down the line, as a way of kind of connecting to a part of my body that I haven't always felt connected to. There are certain now genital piercings being designed specifically for trans anatomy, which is beautiful and exciting and my intention with that isn't necessarily to be all evil, but it's a fun goddess to you know. I don't know how to get into this. Maybe we'll do a whole episode just in genital piercing.

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"Genital piercings being designed specifically for trans anatomy, which is beautiful and exciting and my intention with that isn't necessary to be all evil, but it's a fun goddess too"- Silas

 

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Endy: We should do an episode on genital piercings because there's something that I am not as well versed on but I think it's very interesting.

Silas: I love to talk about that.

Endy: So yeah, I would be happy to have a conversation about genital piercings with you, Silas.

Silas: And there's so many.

Endy: There are.

Silas: The world is your oyster with your genitalia.

Kara: Yeah. Being able to signify bringing your body back to because I'm also like I told you guys before like I'm considering getting a specific type of genital piercing because, you know, after giving birth and going through all those changes and stuff like that, like it just it really does take a toll on your body and a lot of people you know, like you sometimes you can't bounce back in the ways that you hope that you could have, and I, you know, I'm one of those people like it would on top of like a nipple ring it would be a perfect way of being able to, like, you know, kind of just be back to control of who I am in my own body, like being able to be happy with it. Especially because, you know, like giving birth is really, really traumatic so just also a tiny advise and like, you know, coming up, like overcoming traumatic experiences and stuff like that, like considering getting [inaudible 19:07] just because it's not specifically the stimulation purposes, but I just think it looks really, really pretty aesthetically, I think it's super cute.

Sim: They're cute.

Kara: They are very, very cute so I think that would be the perfect way of being able to just come back from that and like, you know, like, yeah, I am a mom, but like, that isn't all that I am anymore. I'm still my own person. I still have control over my own body and my son, you know, kinda intruded for nine months and so now.

Medical purposes, another reason why people consider getting pierced.
Endy: I love that. Another reason that people might consider getting pierced is for medical purposes, for example, the daith or the daf.

Kara: The daf [inaudible 19:51-19:56]

Endy: I was thinking Jasper, I haven't tried that one yet but it is also next to mine. People have been getting those to apparently cure migraines. Now we're not 100% sure if that is the sole purpose and if it actually works, but that's usually the reason people come in for it or people will have questions about it and they usually have like pressure headaches or like constant migraines and they just want to alleviate that. Apparently, isn't the daith like a pressure point or something we're talking about?

Kara: Yeah. It was pressure point right there and that's why a lot of people---I've---my theory on it is like I feel like it's kind of like a psychological thing too. I guess it is a pressure point and the needle going through your skin like that. Any kind of piercing there is going to be that pressure there especially about feeling too. So I feel like in the beginning, like yeah, it will most likely like help those headaches but honestly, I told customers if they're curious about it, I said it's a 50:50 shot. You know, because like a lot of people I've heard conflicting things for like, yes. I used to have headaches every single day like chronic migraines. I got this pierced and then I haven't had one since then and it has been 10 years. I've also heard other customers who said like, yeah, it works sometimes. It doesn't really work now that it's healed, but I like to push down on the extra pressure. It does help.

Silas: Yeah, that's the only time I've really heard about it really working for people is when they're like when they feel migraine or something coming on pushing and pulling down on that piercings, I guess. Activate the pressure point, but again, the verdict is out.

Endy: Yeah.

Silas: Do either of you have your dog pierced?

Endy: Yeah. 

SilasDo either of you have your dog pierced?

Endy: I don't

Kara: I think it was, I remember I think it was me and Anastasia actually talking about where it goes considering doing it just to sort of test that theory and hear our experiences with it.

Silas: As guinea pigs.

Kara: Yeah. See? I love it.

Endy: Yeah.

Kara: And I'm just like, also if it doesn't work, you still have a cute piercing.

SilasYeah. 

Kara: Yeah.

SilasIf I stop getting headaches, what a fun idea [inaudible 22:00-22:02]

LGBTQ plus community, flag themselves through the help of piercing.
Endy: And last but not least, piercings can help people to identify communities. Personally, I am not straight. I am clear. I'm in the LGBTQ plus community and some of my piercings that I've gotten was kind of to fog other people to let them know that I'm clear. I just got my full work done and I have a rainbow of balls. So it gives me more of I guess it can kind of a flag for people to see and be like, okay, yeah, she might not be straight because I feel like without that I don't really have anything that will let people know that I'm not straight and I would prefer other people to smell it without me screaming it off the rooftop. So I figure it having like a rainbow earring would be the next best thing if someone happens to look at my ear when they first meet me, they could be like, okay.

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"I have a rainbow of balls... I feel like without that I don't really have anything that will let people know that I'm not straight and I would prefer the people to smell it without me screaming it off the rooftop" - Endy

 

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SilasThat's the gate here.

Endy: Right. That's the gate here, alright, alright. Yeah, she's a little magical [inaudible 23:03-23-05]

Kara: Yeah, God exists. Any person who identifies as male, if you're considering about getting one ear pierced, your skin is going to "make you look gay". No, it will not. Like you can get your left ear pierced and you will be fine but that's just my input on that.

Endy: Now, if we see making out with another man, that might look a little gay. I wouldn't recommend that if you're trying to avoid that but yeah, earrings are a fair game.

Kara: I mean, like my mom also did that too though. Like my mom, she's also like, she's been gay since I've been alive. Even before that, she knew that she'd liked women but she didn't fully come out. Like, you know, the term coming out of the closet and like, actually being confident in that and accepting of the fact that she did like women until after she had me and she just finally was like, you know, this is who I am and I'm just going to embrace it and she actually did that same thing but she got like up in a cartilage pierced and like she had it for over six years. She wants to take it out just because I think it just started to bug her. I don't think she was properly taking care of it but I do remember being little and her explaining them to me, even I am just like at six years old, so I've always been exposed to that community and I've always been accepting of it, but that's just like, it just was natural for me because like I'd never had any other like I guess perceptions/perspectives on it just because when I was exposed to my whole life and like I did understand them at a very young age that people did use that as a way to be able to like flag specific communities and stuff like that, just because that's what my mom did. She explained that to me, and I was like okay, like that. That makes sense. Like you do you mom like it still looks really cool. I mean, me being young that also made me fascinated about my mom's pierce so again, no biases, no one to ever do this, but that's what inspired me to pierce mine at 10 years old in the bathroom was---because my mom had it and she had it for a very specific reason and I don't know, it was just kind of one of those things girls like, oh, my mom had it she did for her own reasons. So I want mine so I can get my own reasons. So -

Silas: I think there's such a long you know, interesting history with queerness and piercing. One being that a lot of like the jewelry is now just was invented by the Gay BDSM scene in the 70s, but also because I think a lot of it goes back to pushing against these roles that would have been assigned to you like, in some ways, you know, gender roles, I think it's where they give the gate your cave in the first place. The idea of men wearing some blinky jewelry would automatically be gay or like, you know, the thing I talked about earlier, like having too many facial piercings as someone that was like read as a woman, too budge or bla bla, bla bla bla, and I think like, where the Venn Diagram really overlaps between, like the modified world and the queer world as being like, here are these things that society are telling us are acceptable or not and we're---over that we don't accept these rules, I don't know who came up with them in the first place but I'd like to have a long talk with them.

Endy: Right.

Kara: Strong worded letter.

Silas: Yeah, strongly worded letter and again, just bring it all back to like, who could you be if you just allowed yourself to like, go there, and just take those steps?

Kara: Yeah, I agree 100% percent. I mean, this is just kind of like what this whole community, with the whole purpose for is, it's just being able to be self-expressive, and not have to feel bad for it and just being confident in yourself, regardless of what identify us, or where you grew up, or your history, or like how you are like, there's a lot of more concerned people coming to our shop, as you guys know, they're just like, you know, like, this is how I grew up my whole life. This is how I view things. These are the views of the people in my family but I still want this because I know, deep down that it's right for me to get it and that's just [inaudible 27:15-27:16]

SilasThat's the day that's what it's all about, you know. Whether your reasons for getting pierced are included on this list or not, If you feel it's right for you, then we support you.

Endy: 100%! Come on in and we'll help you out. 

Kara: Yeah!

Endy: All right and with that being said, that concludes our episode and just in case you forgot, my name is Endy and I'm here with-

Kara: Kara

Silas: Silas.

Endy: And that was another episode. Thanks for tuning in, be sure to follow us on our social media pages. We have some great stuff coming out and we will be back soon. Thanks!

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