Tattoos and the women who love them
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women and tattoos, and what it is we love about them, and how they compliment or juxtapose our femininity, what they add to us and what they might take away.
I read this article in the Daily Mail by Alex Blimes, which, while written in 2008 (before LA Ink hit our screens and suddenly everyone was going crazy over Kat Von D) was nonetheless published in a time where tattoos (on men and women) had never been more popular. And the article implies (in fact, it doesn’t even imply. It SAYS) that tattoos on women are unsexy, badly thought out and representative of nothing other than a vague hankering to be like a celebrity with a crazy lifestyle. I wondered if this woman had ever had an intelligent conversation with someone like you or I?
And so I decided to defend our position. Research wise, I didn’t know where to begin. And as I’m not as scientist, or a historian, I decided to ask my friends what they thought. Smart, professional men and women in our twenties, thirties and forties, most of whom have tattoos and none of whom regret them. Their thoughts were many and varied and they seemed to respond to many different questions about tattoos that I hadn’t necessarily asked, but that nonetheless come up in everyday life.
This is what they said:
“All mine have personal meanings to me. Also, personally ,once I had the first one I found them addictive . I don’t care what people think about me or my tats, I got them for me and if people want to judge you cause you have them, that is their problem.”
“I was very excited to make the transition from non-tattooed lady to tattooed lady. I’ve always found good tattoos beautiful and fascinating. For me, it’s about getting a good piece of art. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a meaning (although mine does), I just want it to be a great piece of work that I will always own and will just be mine. Even if I don’t always hold much to the meaning, good art doesn’t suddenly become bad art.”
“When people say the tattoos will look horrible when I am old, I think that when I’m old(er) I’ll have varicose veins, paper thin skin that bruises and tears every time I bang into the door frame and I won’t use the upstairs of my house as it will take two hours to get up and two hours to get my breath back. If my mental capacity has deteriorated badly enough then I’ll probably look at the tattoo on my arm and wonder whose arm that is. It’s likely that I’ll faint when I stand up and if I drop anything, I ain’t picking it up as I’ll be going over myself – I suspect that how my tattoos look, will be the least of my worries !”
“Chicks with tattoos are HOT !” (Okay, most of us are smart too!)
“Tattoos are just a way of adorning your body and modifying it.”
“Tattoos on women, if done well, look amazing to me, and I try my best not to judge anyone based on their ink.”
“With my first tattoo I do remember distinctly lying in bed that night thinking “Oh good god I’ve permanently scarred myself…” but I knew it was the right thing to do. That first one was a little bit about being free from all of the ‘What ifs?’ and so part of why I had it was to deal with that moment of panic. I suppose I wanted to give myself something I could deal with, to try and show my stubborn brain that if I am happy with something (or some part of me or my personality) then it doesn’t matter what anyone else might think. And future be damned because we can’t plan everything. Sometimes you just have to jump in and hope for the best and not spend your whole life worrying about what will happen if you do something and it’s wrong.”
Nowadays there are so many different interpretations of what is attractive that does it really matter to one person if another is covered in tattoos? For so many of us, it isn’t just mindless and it’s not just a whim. We’ve thought about it, we love it and we love how having tattoos makes us feel.