Earlier this week I was listening to a radio show and they where discussing women with tattoos. Most people on the show were calling in to say that they found the thought of women with tattoos on their bodies as unattractive. This radio conversation really got me thinking about the topic of women with body art/body modifications and why it is stil a taboo. I wanted to start a discussion of my own about it. Why do people find it so offensive that some women choose to modify their bodies? Some people claim that “it’s not lady like” or “It’s not feminine” etc. I am not just talking about men, there is definitely some girl on girl body shaming in regards to this topic also. It really is a case of judging a book by it’s cover
A personal story I can tell in relation to this topic is one day I was having a conversation with a man who I had known for quite some time through friends, during the conversation he caught sight of my left arm and saw my tattoo on my wrist, his eyes widened in shock and he exclaimed “Is that a tattoo? YOU TRAMP!”. Well, my jaw almost fell off it’s hinges in shock. I couldn’t believe that some one would have the nerve to say such a thing to me purely because I had a tattoo on my wrist? Needless to say I replied I a very calm “Fuck You” in reply! Even though this post is based mostly on women with tattoos, I know plenty of men who have received verbal abuse as well for their body art, I was once told by a friend that a girl in a night club told him he was “disgusting” for being heavily inked. I have also seen people cringe at pictures of heavily inked girls saying “That’s just too much, she looks horrible. Why did she have to ruin her body, she’s actually pretty.” I am paraphrasing but you get the idea.
World famous tattoo artist Kat Von D did a photo shoot promote her fragrance line and tattoo concealer at Sephora, where she had a full body make up cover up. I thought this picture was really interesting because it shows that she is beautiful in each photo, tattoos or no tattoos and I think that is important for people to remember that it’s our body & it’s our choice to modify or add whatever we like to it.
I wanted to see the flip side of this and talk to people who actually ARE attracted to women with tattoos. A lovely story that I would like to share with you all is from two friends from mine Rhys & Joanne. Joanne is heavily tattooed and Rhys told me when he first saw Joanne, it was that her body art was what first caught his eye. “The thing that first attracted me to Joanne was her tattoo’s, in fact the first thing I said to her was “I love your tattoo’s!”.
I asked Rhys what he thought of people who judge Joanne based on her ink and he stated, “I think they need to take a good look at the world around them and realise we live in a society filled with pierced and tattooed people of all shapes and sizes.”
Joanne however has experienced prejudice for her body art over the years.“I get a lot of funny looks!! It was much worse when my children where younger. People also assume because I’ve lots of ink that I smoke, drink and take drugs so I can’t possibly be a good mother! For me ink was an escape. I couldn’t get out of my body, so I changed it to one I love”, say’s Joanne.
In order to understand more on the topic of the “Girls with Tattoo’s Taboo” I interviewed Aine, shop manager & piercer at A.W.O.L Tattoos & Piercings in Galway City, who is heavily tattooed & has great philosophy on the entire matter:
“I think how you carry yourself and how you approach situations has as much to do with it as your tattoos do. I never cover them up or feel in anyway apologetic for having them. I know they do not affect my ability to do a job, rent a house etc and I make that known to whom ever I am dealing with I’m sure there are heavily tattooed women out there who have been on the receiving end of some negativity but I find if you are friendly and approachable then people you interact with will be also.”
Aine got her first tattoo at age sixteen of a Celtic Knot on her shoulder. “The first time I entered a tattoo shop I was terrified, I nearly fainted after getting it, I got all weak and my body went cold and it was all a bit much. My friend got an awful dolphin on her hip. We thought we were SO cool!”
Her love of tattoos started when she was about 11 years old, “I started collecting anything I could find that had tattoo style design on it and I became obsessed with tank girl and other alternative cartoon characters.”
Aine’s body is covered with beautiful art work, including roses on her hands, a sugar skull on her chest, a sacred heart on her neck and many other eye catching designs.
She say’s, “Everyone I come in to contact with usually has some questions and queries but its more their own fascination or curiosity as opposed to prejudice. If someone did say something horrible or treat me differently because of my tattoos it would not bother me in the slightest. I would actually pity them for having such narrow minds“
I think it is important to remember that at the end of the day women, tattoo’s or no tattoo’s are all individuals. Who have a right to express themselves and enjoy their bodies. I think the saying “My body is my temple” really applies here, and hey, some of us like to decorate our temples 😉