Should people be allowed to do what they want to their own bodies?
For example tattoos, self-harm or taking drugs that are harmful to health. The question ignores the question of external effects, so for example we should not debate here for or against a smoking ban due to second-hand smoke deaths. That is another question. The question is, should people be allowed to do what they want to their OWN bodies, ASSUMING that it has no effect on others.
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Since the body is not the property of others
People have a right to do what they like to their own bodies - if it belongs to anyone, it is theirs, certainly not anyone else's. Therefore only they should be allowed to do whatever they like to it.
Who says the body is not the property of others? Perhaps that body could mean more to people around them than to the person who inhabits it.
According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau people do not have rights like that, to become part of a society (as in social contract theory) and reap the benefits of it such as protection under laws they give up certain freedoms; they simply do what the majority of people say is right:
Concerns above and beyond the physical body.
I may have an important and legitimate reason for harming my body, something I feel outweighs the pain I cause myself. For instance, I may be seeking spiritual enrichment through mortification of the flesh, or I might just feel that the ends justify the means - for instance, missing a few nights of sleep to get an essay finished on time. Why should someone else who has totally different beliefs and values to me and doesn't understand why I don't value my physical shell get to dictate to me what I can and can't do with it?
Why is a view of someone with a different psychological make-up and philosophy to the accepted norm (by the majority, who aren't always right) automatically 'irrational'? What would you do if it really turned out hitting yourself with a hammer sent you to heaven?
Because when you do decide to miss out on a few nights sleep, you're being irrational, because you knowingly are hurting your self physically, but you're still staying up. Having said so, when you can't be rational about a specific subject, someone has to step in (i.e: the government) and stop you, because as a citizen you're their responsibility. The utilitarian decision you made seems only "legitimate" to you, but you wouldn't know because you're causing self-inflected harm in real time, thus you're irrational, thus you're opinion is disregarded, so for example if you decide that you want to hit yourself with a hammer because you think it will send you to heaven, you should be stopped by a police officer, why? because you'd simply be too irrational thus being a danger to yourself and possibly to others.
This is also one of the reasons we're not too accepting of suicide bombing, think about it, suicide bombing is a form of utilitarianism as well- should we universally deem it acceptable because outcome (paradise for the suicide bomber) justifies the means (blowing his self up)
beautifier their body
correct a defect
yes but everyone is beautiful in their own way. sure some people might think someone is ugly but that doesnt mean that the person their calling ugly thinks that they are ugly.
The Right To Express Ones Self
its a right to do what we want with our own bodies. if people wanna cut their hair we let them, if people wanna wear makeup we let them, if people want to get piercings we let them. so why is it such a big deal for people to get tattoos if their sure they want them?
It can be selfish
Harming one's own body can cause unfair pain to loved ones and this should be prevented where unjustifiable.
You cannot presume that harming your own body will not affect others. No doubt if you grow up in a family home where one or both parents are, for example, taking drugs it is going to affect you, possibly in negative ways.
Furthermore, extreme cases of self-harming or drug taking can lead to the death of the individual involved. Surely it would be niave and unfair to suggest this would not affect others?
Therefore how you trat your own body can have an impact on others and to not consider this would be very selfish.
Harming your body can cause pain to your family yes, but getting a tattoo or a piercing doesnt. cutting yourself or trying to kill yourself would most likely cause pain to your family. but only depressed people cut themselves and try to kill themselves
Not everyone is able to make informed decisions
In this motion you have failed to say to whom this would apply? I must therefore assume that ALL people should be allowed to treat their bodies as they wish.
I can therefore infer that children would be allowed these sorts of rights.
Do you really suggest that children should be allowed to take drugs, get tattoos and self-harm? And what about those who are mentally unwell?
For those people in society who are unable to make informed decisions, to legally be able to treat their bodies in any way they wish would surely be devastating! In these cases, others would have to make the decision for them. So why not the state?
yes but if kids arent allowed to do something they usally do it any ways. i have a bunch of friends who are only 14 and they have tattoos. i have some friends who are my age and they do drugs. i even have friends who do self harm. weve tried to make them stop but THEY KEEP GOING BEHIND OUR BACKS AND DO I T ANY WAY! so no matter what the law is or what people say it is people are gonna do it any way.
it's extremely hard to make sure that what a person does on himself has no effects on others
Generally, people can not live isolately as they have a lot of relationship and contacts with others. intentionally or unintentionally, their actions may have less or more effect on others. Imagine how a mum feel when seeing her child takes drugs or do something harmful to his health? Furthermore, what a leader or influential person does often have great impact on other people. It can lead to copy-cat or imitation.
This is true, however there are some cultures and religions that believe that things such as piercings and scarification that cleanse the body. It is a ritual doing and in doing so the family are fully aware of the nature of the effect on the body. This can be seen as a the 'copycat' attitude that so often influences those to change their body however in this case it is a form of ritual. Being a ritual does it mean that we can make decisions on whether it is wrong or right? Do we have the ability to understand the idea of cleansing through the adaptation and manipulation of the body? No. We can see it as wrong or right but ultimately we have complete power over our own bodies.
What do you think?