The image returns the body is increasingly seen as a draft to be corrected by plastic surgery, tattoos, piercings to, etc.

“Beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter” wrote Aristotle. Self-image understood here as “physical appearance” is not only experienced from within, it is also reflected by the eyes of others. Our image reveals itself outside of ourselves and, in this respect, more experienced as a draft that must constantly correct that must erase what we perceive as imperfections and need Why not, shape with tattoos, piercings and other practices.

The plastic, the equivalent of a

In our society, there is no doubt that the look is worn on the body is responsible for cultural performances and in this sense has nothing spontaneous. It transmits a social imaginary beauty. The media also contribute significantly to constantly conveying an image of the stereotypical body and tending towards an ideal that stirs in people the desire to change the image of their own body.Immediately after World War II, the first campaigns by aging yet natural deformity, are emerging and their target is the first woman.


This economic market of beauty is now very promising. We live now in a society where physical appearance is paramount and if it is too far from the conventional standards, it suffers the unfortunate consequences, sometimes leading to social marginalization. Indeed, an individual with a physical hand felt unconventional disadvantaged on the labor market. There are no exaggeration to say that our society has made of plastic beauty equivalent of a diploma. Add this materialistic reductionism can be very dangerous for some people because it is undeniable that the image is bound to change over time, as anyone who identifies himself in the image of his body can only end in hatred and self-loathing.

Plastic surgery and distinction

The name “plastic surgery” is a general designation for all interventions that alter, repair or beautify the integument and forms of the human body. It is therefore a distinction between cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery, the first passing of the “normal” “beautiful” and the second of “abnormal” or pathological to “normal”. Thus, the surgery tends to remove or reduce such damage in the body (burns, bites, diseases such as cancer), this function has surgery to repair a defect and tends towards the best possible improvement. Cosmetic surgery, in turn, is driven by aging, pregnancy or non-pathological misfortunes, not by the effects of a disease or other pathology.

This surgery is for many people the answer they are the dictates of society. Namely: in France, 350 000 procedures are conducted annually, with about three out of four women. Today, no stratum seems untouched by this phenomenon facing a prefabricated ideal, which is coveted by individuals younger and younger. United States, for example, 220,000 people under age 18 had already undergone plastic surgery in 2003, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Physical beauty and its ideal by the media has been so extensive that there is now what we call the aesthetic tourism, as well as specialized agencies of the niche, which offer their clients formulas containing living tourism and a medical procedure! These surgical practices raise many questions, because of physical standards dealt out by the company and relayed by the media, racial problems, economic problems, the risks of eugenics, endangering the health.

Piercings, tattoos and scarification

Although there is now a resurgence of the practice of body modification, these are ancestral exist since Neolithic times. The men and women of the Murmur tribe in Africa, for example, was part already clay discs in earlobes or lower lip Mitzi mummy, discovered in the Alps total in September 1991, unveiled her highly stylized small tattoos, probable signs of therapeutic tattoos. These practices result in bodily changes depending on the person, place and time, group membership, rank, social status, or express a religious symbol or sex. They symbolize a rite of passage in many cultures as the passage from adolescence to adulthood or the status of the single marital status.Practices which have been in recent decades a revival were previously banned by the major monotheistic religions, and therefore in the West long been reserved for marginalized individuals such as convicts, Travelers.

This revival has first been observed in some groups hippies, punks, soda-masochists before being valued by fashion and artists. Just as today, cosmetic surgery, this phenomenon affects all social backgrounds, but particularly affects young people, while seeking an identity based on the sign of differentiation, then these practices to function be markers of identity. In addition to the practice of body piercing and tattooing, there are far more extreme forms such as scarification and “branding”.

Incision of the skin, scarring still retains connotations much stronger and more violent than the tattoo and its purpose is, according to the psychiatrist Xavier Pommereau, being perceived as “skinned alive.”The “branding” is a procedure that scarification is not a cut but a burn of the skin made direct contact with an iron. These extreme forms have certain dangers because they are characterized by incisions or punctures the skin or mucosa barrier natural. The risk of transmission of bacterial or viral infections are important, on the border with self-mutilation, it is tenuous to say the least.