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February 19, 2013

Body as Your Identity

Body is a place for demonstrating social, political, religious, cultural and racial identities. The colour, physical or biological features, body modification for religious, social, cultural and political purposes are some of the causal elements behind it.
Racial naturalism refers to the natural superiority of white people to non-white people. This concept is culturally constructed and underdevelopment is often the claim for racial historicism for non-white people. The color of the body is referred to different racial discriminations. White skin color is being preferred over other colors and is the official sign of superiority in all over the world. On the other hand, black color is always devalued, subjected to hatred and blacks are considered an inferior creature. Hierarchical difference refers to the categorization of human beings on the basis of social concepts for inferior and superior races. South Africa has seen an apartheid era when black people were treated in inhumane ways and white skinned people are considered more respectful and honorable in every field of life. Holocaust can be considered as an example for it when German people forced Jews to migrate from Germany.

Social construction of gender is related to the biological differences exist with respect to human bodies. These differences make two distinct categories of gender which is women and men. Biological features also have a deep impact upon the perception of understanding people’s strength and abilities. In Asia, women are considered fragile and not fit for heavy work due to their female genitalia as compared to that of male members of the society. Transgender can be seen as social construction of gender that is often looked down particularly in South Asian arena. Their mixed masculinity and feminine features have a particular social understanding which differs from culture to culture. For example, if transgender is artificially adopted by the way of castration, it will be looked down upon by various religious communities like Islam. It is also not legal in many countries of the world. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, Iran despite being an Islamic country has allowed people legally for their sex-change operations. Transgenders are also not allowed to work in formal professional fields and seldom allowed to get education.

Intersectionality refers to the study of some specific categories of people (e.g. Minorities) how they interact in multiple systems and keep the identity intact. Semiotics refers to the body modifications largely in terms of signs to convey a particular socially constructed meaning. These are the things that are strictly attached with one’s own religious, cultural, racial and social beliefs and how the meaning is communicated through these body modifications. These body modifications are done generally in terms of explicit ornaments, surgical augmentation, removal or splitting and usage of heavy forces in order to have a permanent body modification. Body piercing, ear piercing, pearling, neck ring, scrotal implants, usage of tattoos on the entire body, eyeball tattoos, eyeball jewelry, microdermal and transdermal insertion are some of the examples of explicit ornaments. Surgical augmentation includes body modifications like breasts implants (Implantation of silicon bags in order to raise the size of breasts) and sub-dermal implantation in which an object is inserted below the dermis. Nullification (voluntary removal of some parts of the bodies like parts of penis, testicales, labia and nipples), hair removal, female genital cutting, Nipple spitting and removal, tongue splitting, genital bisection and male circumcision are some instances of removal or splitting of body organs. Permanent body modifications artificially are Corestry (restricting the waist), cranial binding (restricting infants’ head to grow), breast ironing and foot binding (especially for females). Other body modifications include voluntary scarring, ear cropping and filling within teeth.

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