Archives for February 2013

Celebrity Piercing Trend – Nipple Rings

scandalous celebrity piercings

And the award for most visible body piercing goes to…

Rihanna! She “shocked” us all when she arrived at the Staples Center in LA for this year’s Grammy Awards in a very shear, red Alaia dress that showed off one of her body modifications. She however did not encounter a full on nip slip, just the outline of her nipple ring through the shear material on the top of the dress was enough to cause a sensation. The Grammys supposedly have a very strict dress code. We all know that rules are made to be broken, especially when “bad girl” celebrities like Rihanna are involved. Guests even received a memo that stated “Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered.” Also “Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples.”

singer Rihanna at the 2013 Grammy Awards

Ri-Ri and her stylists must have missed that one, or perhaps they go by the “all press is good press” theory. On the red carpet her piercings became a hotter topic than her tumultuous relationship with Chris Brown. The singer has been photographed several times in revealing clothing that shows off her right nipple piercing. Rihanna’s bestie Katy Perry even tweeted about catching a glimpse of her piercing in the video for “California King Bed.” Rihanna is a wild child and I hope she never changes.

a scene from Rihanna's video

There are many other celebrities with nipple rings. Janet Jackson’s sun nipple shield was made famous during the 2004 Super bowl half time show. Justin Timberlake accidently exposed Janet’s piercing; it was a worldwide wardrobe malfunction.  Christina Aguilera has a nipple piercing on her right breast and has been photographed in shear outfits that reveal her nipple jewelry. She is said to have 11 additional piercings. Model and recording artist Amber Rose had both of her nipples pierced before taking them out for pregnancy. Nicole Richie has hers pierced as well. It is rumored that Richie once set off a security alarm at the Reno Airport because of her piercings.

celebrities with nipple piercings

Musician Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) has a significant amount of body jewelry, including bling on his right nipple. The singer Pink has her nipple pierced also. The actual piercing was filmed backstage at one of her concerts  for her Live in Europe DVD. Other celebrities with known nipple piercings include Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) , basketball star Dennis Rodman, musician Lenny Kravitz, and Axl Rose (Guns and Roses). I am sure there are many, many more! Who else do you think has a nipple piercing? Who do you think would look good with one?

Body Modification – I Blame Barbie

pierced and tattooed Barbie doll

My fascination with piercing and body modification started very early in life.  Like most girls, I painted makeup on my dolls, chopped and dyed their hair, pierced them, and gave them all tattoos. I knew then that things could be modified and personalized, even the body. At the time I could do to my Barbie doll what I could not do to myself, I lived through her in a weird way. I knew that someday I would have colorful hair and piercings, and it is all her fault. Generations of girls have used their Barbie dolls to discover fashion and develop their own style. Barbie has become an icon and a role model. I remember spending endless hours changing her clothes and making up lives and personalities for all of my dolls.

tattooed Barbie dolls

Barbie is certainly an interesting character in pop culture. She is the “perfect” woman and is often judged for giving young girls a false idea of perfection and unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like. The right hair, makeup, accessories, figure, friends, and boyfriend are all you need for a perfect plastic life.  It is illogical to think that anyone can measure up to those standards of beauty. There are some women who haven taken extreme measures, and gone through plastic surgery, to look like the doll.  If she was a real person she would break in half from the weight of her breasts. That to me is much more frightening than a woman with piercings and tattoos.

In 1999, Mattel released a Butterfly Art Barbie that came with a permanent tattoo on Barbie’s stomach and in 2009, there was  the infamous Totally Stylin’ Barbie. The fact that the doll came equipped with a “tattoo gun” is what bothered parents the most, although it’s really just used to put the tattoo stickers on. In 2011 the controversial Tokidoki Barbie was released. She has pink hair, stilettos, a cactus-covered pet, oh yea, and is covered in tattoos. Tokidoki’s tattoos are actually inked on. Her upper body is covered with exotic looking tattoos, including a large flower covering her chest and a tiger that curls up her neck. Some parents don’t think it appropriate for little girls to be playing with a tattoo covered Barbie. They say it’s sending the wrong message to their kids.

modern modified Barbie doll

There are other dolls on the market that sport piercings, tattoos, colorful hair and alternative fashion as well. Bratz, Monster High, and My Scene Dolls are all examples of this trend in toys. There is also a growing trend in collectable doll modification. Artists are adding body modifications and embellishments to dolls. There are countless DIY instructional videos and tutorials on how to modify your doll. You can learn everything from piercing a doll’s ears with a staple, to how to stretch it, to branding and tattooing your doll. Much more advanced and sophisticated than the “modifications” I was giving my dolls when I was young.

Hard Rock's Rock N Roll doll

The best toys reflect real life. All of my friends have piercings and tattoos, therefore their children will have pierced and tattooed parents. 1 in 4 Americans now have at least one tattoo. Tokidoki Barbie is just a reflection of a more accepting attitude toward body ink and alternative fashion in general. Body art and modification are not going anywhere, and the times are finally reflecting that.  Many children have parents with tattoos and piercings. Tattooed moms everywhere are applauding that it’s about time there’s a Barbie that looks like them. Piercings and tattoos are not a measure of character. I think that dolls that have body modification are a step in the right direction and a sign that the world is changing for the better. It is great to see positive examples of piercings and tattoos in children’s entertainment.  Tokidoki Barbie is a positive example for children not to judge, and reflects that regardless of what someone chooses to do with their skin, they are beautiful.

In Living Color – Body Modification in Cartoons

It is very common to see cartoon characters as tattoos and featured on body jewelry, but it is less common to see them WITH tattoos and other body modifications of their own. I love to see body modification making its way into the world of popular cartoons and animation. To me this trend shows the extreme mainstream popularity of body modification in general. Historically cartoon characters that have been portrayed with tattoos or piercings were always a certain kind of character: Thugs, Punks, and Sailors.  Modern progressive adult/ teen orientated cartoons such as The Simpsons and Daria have shown body modification on everyday people, and main characters.

temporary tattoos

The character Daria is a cynical, modern girl. I have always related to her on a deep level. I was thrilled when she got her belly button pierced in the “Pierce Me” episode. It was especially cute when her long time crush, Trent Lane,  held her hand to ease her nerves. “Just don’t think about it and it won’t hurt”, I think we all swooned a little bit when that happened.

Daria characters with piercings

The Simpsons continue to be on the forefront of recognizing trends. The recent “Hipster Invasion” episode featured many characters with piercings and tattoos. There is also a large amount of fan art that has sprung up with heavily modified Simpsons characters. My favorite might be Millhouse as the popular Dub Step artist Skrillix.

Simpsons characters and fan art

Fan Art and the popularity of memes and viral internet photos has spurred the addition of body modifications to all of our favorite cartoons. Just as in any generation, we want to hold on to our youth with a tight grasp, and we want what we loved then to still remain relevant in our lives. Artists take the characters that give us a warm and fuzzy feeling from our youth and modify them (as we have modified our own bodies) to reflect current standards of trend and beauty. Whether we like to admit it or not Disney Princesses are the standard of beauty for many young girls. Every little girl wants to be a princess.  Now we have princesses that look like we do, complete with beautiful piercings, tattoos, and modifications.

tattooed Disney princess art by Tim Shumateawesome illustrations by Tim Shumate

I was also really excited to see 2012’s ParaNorman have a character with stretched ear lobes.

stretched ears on ParaNorman