A Class Act

Are we witnessing the democratisation of body modification in Australia? The prevalence and social background of body modifications has recently been examined by Bruce Tranter and Ruby Grant (University of Tasmania). They found body modifications to be more prevalent among younger, less educated, working-class, non-conservative Australians. Women are far more likely than men to have body piercings, although in Queensland, young women are more likely than young men to be tattooed. Important life events such as pregnancy, separating from a long-term partner or experiencing violence are also associated with body modifications. While tattoos and piercings may be on the rise, social factors still influence the uptake of body modification practices in Australia, suggesting these are socially circumscribed taste-based practices, and should not yet be described as normative.


Published in: Tranter, B. and Grant, R. (2018). ‘A class act? Social background and body modifications in Australia’, Journal of Sociology (online first).