There are many ways to stand out from the crowd, ranging from being mildly extravagant to actually breaking the norm to such a degree that social reintegration can be problematic. The people who want to take a break from being a part of the regular and boring part of society usually see subcultures as a way out of the mass. But even this solution can take numerous forms, since there are plenty of different subcultures out there. The nonconformist individual can join a hippy commune to live in harmony with nature and craft things, for example, or can choose something a bit more… extreme.
Extreme body modifications don’t require their fans to go away from within the large part of society and lead a secluded life like hippie commune inhabitants do, quite on the contrary. What would be the point of going away in a place inhabited by like-minded individuals if there’s no one there to shock, right? We’re not talking here about a few tattoos or piercings (which have become adorably accepted and quite mainstream in recent years), but we’re talking about truly extreme body modifications. And here’s exactly why they’re called extreme.
1. Forked tongue
This type of body modification has begun to show up at the end of the 90s and nowadays it’s considered among the most common (of the extreme ones, mind you) by enthusiasts. It involves a procedure to surgically cut the tongue from its tip and on, as far back as the tongue’s base, creating a double end or the fork effect. Only oral and plastic surgeons are licensed to do it, but it can also be done in various shady establishments for body modifications by unlicensed individuals as well. This procedure is reversible, but the procedure required for that may be even more painful than the first one.
2. The Lizardman
Eric Sprague, nicknamed the Lizardman for obvious reasons, is a 38 year-old performance artist living in Austin, Texas. Over the years, he underwent many body modification procedures (including the tongue forking presented above) in order to resemble a lizard as much as possible. These included piercings, all over body tattoos, as well as 5 ridges implanted over each eye (noticeable in the photo). The earrings he is displaying are inspired by a native African custom performed by quite a few tribes, which insert such plate-like earrings in the ear-lobes and/or bottom lips of young females in order to create a larger and larger gap over time.
3. Corset piercing
Returning to extreme body modifications, this one is real pretty. It’s usually popular among women and it consists of two rows of evenly distributed surface piercings, usually done in symmetrical rows, meant to emulate the rings sustaining the back lacing of a corset. After getting the piercings done, the wearer can insert a lace string through them to create the corset effect (pictured here).
4. Stalking Cat
Another fan of extreme body modifications that made everything possible to look more and more like the animal of his choosing, Daniel Avner usually goes by the nickname of “Stalking Cat”. Just like his fellow artist Lizardman, his public appearances to tattoo and piercing conventions are received with much enthusiasm by his fans and body modification enthusiasts in general. Beside extensive tattooing, he made a cleft into his upper lip, got his nasal septum surgically altered and replaced his teeth with fang insertions. His ears have also been modified into feline-like tips and he has been given eyebrow implants as well.
5. Horn implants
These implants go under the skin on one’s forehead in order to create the impression of horns and to give the wearer a devil-like appearance. They usually go hand in hand with at least a couple of other body modifications, as pictured above. The photograph depicts a member of the extreme body modification community known as “Vampire woman” and, as you can notice, horns are far from being the only thing she’s altered about herself. As a funny and unexpected background detail, she is trained lawyer, hailing from a deeply religious family, and she was married at the age of 17. She became a tattoo artist after years of suffering domestic abuse and she says that the horns are meant to be a symbol of her strength, being implanted without any anesthesia. Pretty impressive turn-around, right?