14 May, 2011

For The Rogers Sisters

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com. Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

For The Rogers Sisters


A bonus blog is a blog with a bonus. The bonus is that you get another blog in the same week as the regular blog. Also, you get a unicorn ride. Note: there will be no unicorn rides.

I have two readers. Yes, I know I have more than that. Well, maybe I don’t and the same two kids read my blog two hundred times a week. The one is called Cathryn, and the other is her sister called Jeanette. I mention Cathryn first because she turned Jeanette onto my rants, so for that, she gets first billing. The two beautiful women I have never met. Likely, I’ll never meet them because I live in another state far away. Well, not that far, but gas is expensive. Not that you guys aren’t worth the gas but… I love America! Anyway, I have a bit of a relationship with these kids solely because they read me. We will send the occasional message on the Facebook (whatever a Facebook is!), and interact that way. Are we friends? I think so. Cathryn is a loyal Mystic Mobster (which is what I call the awesome fans of Mystic Metals), and Jeanette has become one too, I believe. Recently, Jeanette and I had a discussion, and the thesis and themes of which I will share.

Jeanette is a beautiful woman, as is her sister. They are modified, and to reiterate, they are women. The woman community within our beautiful society of modification is as vast as the men, and maybe in this modern generation, more so. Much more frequently, and it possibly may be where I live, I see beautiful women augment their beauty with stretched lobes, chest tattoos, corset piercings, nostril studs, septum rings, leg sleeves, arm sleeves; and even soft mods like yarn dreads, unconventional makeup, shaved heads or unconventional hairstyles like mowhawks. Women, in my view, have a style freedom that is varied, vast, and beautiful. And no, a women does not have to be modified for me to find her stunning. See also, my beautiful and magnificent girlfriend. For all of the absurd and outlandish outfits that emaciated models (and that’s a judgement, I know) wear on runways throughout New York city, the modified woman still falls victim to the vexed stare of those who adhere to a more conventional aesthetic of the woman. Why does this happen?

Maybe it is the women with whom I associate (See also, J. Isobel Delisle, Steph Vicious, V and their band of alt woo girl models), but unconventional beauty dots my reality. And the majority of those women are modified. Yes, I hang out with alt models and artists on an infrequent time to time, and no that doesn’t make me cool. I couldn’t buy cool of they sold it at the dollar store. I see more frequently in their faces a feminine beauty that is painted on all faces of women. I don’t see alt model ‘fake name here.’ I see the little girl, the girlfriend, the daughter, the mother in some cases. I see the human being first, and the modified persona second. But for some reason, I believe that my point of view toward these modified beauties is a minority view. Why do onlookers see a modified woman and assume unsavory things and behavior of ill repute? What are those assumptions?

Let’s start with a simple one. Say it with me: Tramp stamp. I do not use this phrase, and even though I’m in no position to tell you what to do, I don’t think you ought to either. This phrase is a damning one. Yes, rhyming words are fun to say (screw you words ‘orange’ and ‘silver!’), but the implications of this simple phrase does very little to service the positive personification of women in the modified culture. A woman’s sexual promiscuity ought not to be determined by a modification on a specific part of her body. The last time the human culture identified a person by a specific tattoo, we had a war, a guy in a little mustache, and a doctor sewing twins together. Didn’t the great Dr. King say something about content of one’s character? If a dame is at the bar while I’m on stage playing stupid cover songs and she’s sticking her tongue down nine guys’ throats while toasting with her Miller Lite and terrible shoes, then yeah; she’s probably a tramp. The tattoo has very little to do with it. Three of the many things we ought to do in this culture are these: never say tattoo gun (it’s a machine), never say tattoo parlor (they don’t sell ice cream), and never say tramp stamp.

I’ve also heard this in regard to modification: why would you do that to your pretty face? This often comes from a stressed out mother with high waisted jeans pushing a pram with an unruly child throwing things onto the filthy floor. The irony is that the asker often has some dangling earring hanging from her head as she swings her hair demonstratively in concert with her question. At least, that’s when I usually get that comment, and I’ll have to assume that women get it more than I do. I think that what people chiefly misunderstand about women in modification is that they are celebrating their beauty in the same way as any unmodded woman is with a pearl necklace, designer shoes, or handbag that is probably large enough to be called luggage. The long and boring tale of women throughout history celebrating their beauty through modification is one that we all, in this supposed forwardly thinking and accepting society, ought to be familiar with by this point.

When did modification become the domain of the masculine? The days of bikers and sailors has long since passed, and the tattooed lady at the circus is a thing that no longer sells a good draw because modification of women has thankfully become a celebrated and beautiful thing. Don’t misunderstand me now, I don’t give much of a turd about the women’s movement, and I think NOW is more of a terrorist organization than PeTa, Greenpeace and the NAACP combined, but I would tend to think that in densely populated areas of this great nation like New York and where I live outside of Philadelphia, the aesthetic of the modified woman is a thing that goes with little notice to its anomalous occurrence, but rather just another variety of beauty that this human society has to offer.

Women in modification. It is a beautiful thing. So celebrate, Jeanette and Cathryn. Be proud of your beauty through mod, and your beauty pre-mod. I am thankful for all of my women readers, modified or otherwise. Becks, Jenny, Isz, Steph, my beautiful girlfriend Nanci, Lynn, my gorgeous mother, and the huge list of others all of whom I regrettably don’t have the space to name. Thank you. Stay beautiful.

As a quick aside, I have taken to using an online journal at www.caringbridge.org. This website is a beautiful resource for those with chronic illness or difficult medical journeys. They provide free webspace so that those facing these difficulties can communicate more easily with friends and family about their diseases, illnesses, disabilities, and other medical difficulties that may be arresting to talk about. In this forum, I plan to freely talk about my disability to hopefully help those around me understand how I manage living with spina bifida without my pride usurping my sharing. Join me here http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/arobertbasile, and if there is someone you know with a difficult medical journey, let him know there is a place to vent. Thank you.

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  1. Hello there sir! I happen to be the littlest of the the Rodgers sisters dynasty, Michelle. Jeanette and Cathryn were an inspiration to me growing up and continue to be. What better role models to show me I didn't have to fit the cookie cutter version of American Beauty? I watched them grow into their incredibly unique and breathe taking selves, and their confidence and beauty helped me to grow myself. The sad reality is that they did suffer some harsh sanctions from family and friends. I remember one time in particular, before I had undergone any modifications, when a family friend stroked my face, asked me to stay normal and referred to me as, "the last hope." Thank you for writing this and honoring them. They are my female role models and by far the most beautiful women I know. Thank you Jeanette and Cathryn for showing me what it is to be truly beautiful!!

  2. Changes are happening. As my bestie told me last night...the best changes take time.
    Eventually (hopefully) judgments will be set aside and people will start noticing the ones that represent the community in a beautiful way.

    (Quick aside...I've enjoyed your journal on caringbridge...I love being able to see that side of you from afar. You are so amazingly beautiful.)

  3. I am the eldest of the Rodgers, Jeanette. I can't thank you enough for this blog. I will admit that my level of modified is extreme...and ya know what...I'm so fine with that! I always feel like I have this huge hurtle I have to overcome with every new person I meet...like my tattoos, piercings, dreads, makeup and clothing are this "thing" that people have to deal with before they talk to me and realize I am a totally 'normal' person underneath it all. I have three dogs. I cook breakfast for my fiance every morning and make our brown bag lunches. I am a total sci fi nerd. I work a respectable job. I do needle felting. I am obsessed with the ice age and culture of that day in age....yet every drunk Cubs fan just thinks I'm some sort of "goth skank" waiting for the enormous pleasure of hearing his disgusting come ons about how he's "into dark shit" and "loves metal." Give me a break dude- and if you had to ask me if my tattoos/piercings hurt...we have nothing in common. AND OF COURSE THEY HURT!!! ...but it's always worth it ;P

    Thanks so much for making me feel great today. In this community we don't have enough people saying "wow, you're really a great person" or "wow, you're beautiful". Just gawking and judgements. Thank you so much....and YOU are beautiful!!!