How Body Branding Works

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Author's Note: How Body Branding Works

Writing about the "why" of any subcultural practice can be tricky. It's tempting to generalize, but that's usually a faulty approach. For instance, I once knew a woman who branded her pelvis after a miscarriage, in memoriam. Neither aesthetics nor "separateness" played into her decision. And in researching this article, I read about a Muslim man who wanted a tattoo but found it forbidden by his religion, so he opted for branding instead. I tried to avoid absolutes in the discussion of branding's appeal, which I hope readers will take as an overview of possible motivations and not a comprehensive or definitive list.

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