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Posts Tagged ‘extreme bodies’

road trip map

This long weekend I went on a three day road trip with my dad. My parents own a furniture store in Columbia. Someone ordered a sectional (large couch) and wanted it delivered to Texas. My parents had to choose between hiring someone to deliver and assemble it or do it themselves. Originally, my dad was going to take one of his employees but then I offered (my mom suggested it and I said yes) to go. (more…)

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This past weekend, I was strolling through the mall when I saw a particular bottle of a menacing seeming liquid at some store that I can not now remember. The image upfront was a glittery yet jittery image of a clown that is smiling yet looks bloody and angry. His name was the “Fiery Fool”. And he was quite an interesting addition to the Hellfire Hot Sauce brand.

In an air of competitiveness, this brand claims that this was “THE HOTTEST SAUCE IN THE WORLD WITHOUT EXTRACT”! At first I brushed it off as more exaggerated marketing to the extreme but then I realized that I had just heard about this phenomenon in a recent Gender Studies class. I bought this at $14.99 but for the low low price of $14, you too can feel the pain.

And you better believe that you will feel the pain. In fact, after trying a few small drops, I was in agony. It was like eating liquid lava. And this is coming from somebody that normally puts half a bottle of regular hot sauce on anything. Was this an example of the “extreme culture” that Mary Kosut was talking about? I believe so. According to her analysis, “extreme bodies engage in practices and regimes that push beyond the mundane or acceptable”. Although this might seem tame in comparison to the examples she mentions such as body suspension, this fire sauce that burns you inside was definitely not mundane. And it was definitely not exactly societally acceptable either. Of the 5 friends I asked, none of them wanted to try it. Even just the labeling scared them away. Spicy foods and spiciness definitely can relate to her definition of extreme as challenging to “the body’s limits and borders”.

But why would anybody choose such a life of burning and crying? Kosut can answer. Extreme experiences, in her view, are “uniquely carnal and sensate”. They represent our feelings and maybe even our motivations “to take charge of one’s life and body, and to defy comfort zones”. There is pleasure in the struggle and the pain. On a more scientifical level, research has shown that spicy foods elicit the release of dopamine and endorphins, making us happier even when the pain seems unbearable, confirming this as true. Personally, even though I felt like I was going to die, it was a good type of pain. I might have died but I felt like I achieved something by taking the sauce and I could die happily…

In my view and in the view of Kosut, there is a reason why these extreme products are so highly marketable in an extreme kind of way. “They purport to offer an embodied experience that involves intense engagement of the senses that is beyond ordinary.” After experiencing this hot sauce, as it really was an experience, I know that that is the kind of experience I would pay for. This hot sauce appeals to society in this way and it doesn’t bluff.

I would urge anyone to try this hot sauce. If you would like to try some, you could ask me as well!!!

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My first year of college I joined the women’s rugby team. I got many comments,especially from my family members, asking me why I would do something like that to my body. Rugby is a tough sport, the only protective gear you’re allowed to use is a mouth guard. It leaves you in pain, covered in cuts and bruises for a week or more after every game. So i’m not surprised when people look at me like I’m crazy after I tell them I play. I don’t play because I like pain or because I have a death wish. I play simply because I enjoy it. Although the aftermath inevitably leaves me sprawled out in bed covered in ice bags, the feeling I get when I’m on the field is worth it. 

I believe the same goes for situations where people go through painful body modification rituals, drink alcohol, or do any other thing that they know hurts their body. They like the way it makes them feel, they enjoy it.

So should we feel bad for doing the things we like doing even though it hurts us? 

 

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Scarification, the process of creating raised designs on the body by cutting, branding, burning, or freezing the skin, is a body modification practice widely unheard of (compared to the more popular practices such as piercing and tattooing) in the Western world. Its practice in the U.S., originally adopted by the gay and lesbian subcultures of mid-1980s San Francisco, was revived by the neotribal movement of the early 1990s in an attempt to create a more “authentic” aesthetic while also romanticizing exoticism.

TW: blood, mildly graphic description of scarification process

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Every morning I make the same breakfast sandwich: two eggs and cheddar cheese between two slices of toasted bread. As a kid I never ate breakfast, but as an adult I look forward to it. Breakfast not only tastes good, it also gives me energy I need to start my day.

Today isn’t like the other days. On any other day, I would wash down my breakfast with a glass of milk. Today I feel brave, defiant; today, I feel like taking a risk.

Before making my breakfast sandwich, I open the fridge and peer inside. I could have milk, with its comforting pH of almost 7. It’s not much different from water, which in its purest form is a perfect 7. Courage, or maybe stupidity for all I know, floods me as I reach past the milk and pull out a bottle of orange juice.

‘Yes,’ I think to myself, ‘This will work.’

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