Sep 13

woman in bed

Everyone has an opinion about tattoos, from concerned parents, to people whose only experience with them is seeing Wiz Khalifa on a music video. We can all agree that tattoos have blown up into the mainstream at a rate that is faster than the speed of light and a culture once reserved for “true rebels” has become another fad like dreads, piercings, and bleaching one’s hair. But so what?

Personally I admire tattoos, being an artist I cannot help but glare in amazement at a Yakuza-caliber sleeve on someone’s arm, or a well done likeness of someone’s parent, favorite celebrity, or cartoon character. When I see subpar work, or something I feel is just plain stupid (ice cream cone on the face), I keep it to myself and keep it moving.

I wish everyone else would do the same (let people be) yet almost weekly there is some “concerned citizen” making a remark like “I wonder if he’s gonna be happy having Boba Fett on his chest when he’s 70” as if their actual concern is with the person feeling regret. It’s a veiled way of saying “he’s stupid for getting a Star Wars tattoo hur hur” without looking like a judgmental ass.

Facial Tats, Tramp Stamps and Finger Pointing

I’ve seen blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets, and even emails sent around showcasing the new “idiot” who tattooed something on their face. These posts and such rarely if ever come from people who are inked. There is something that reeks of elitist finger-wagging whenever I see it. The posts stink of “othering” the person who did it so that we can feel more “normal” or more “sane” for keeping our skin clean.

Women who get tattooed on their lower backs are immediately labeled, people who dare mark their face are immediately labeled. On one hand it’s good that the rebellious nature of tattoos is still somewhat prevalent in today’s society, but as an outsider it just seems like another way for people to be assholes to other people.

But let someone who is within the culture tell it…

As a tattooed person from a conservative background, I’ve had the joy of dealing with this mentality from several people. The worst came from my mother, which was expected. Old school conservative moms will always hate your first tattoo, dislike the second and third, then just shake their head at all the rest. The statements made were usually variations of “you’re gonna regret it”, “prisoners and bikers are the ones with tattoos” and “people with tattoos can’t get jobs”.

Most haters have failed to see the massive culture shift of the last couple decades. Gone are the days of blurry tattoos of nudie girls, barbed wire and <3 mom. Tattoos (usually) have deep meaning to the bearer. To flippantly hate on something so personal is just downright ignorant. You might not understand it, but if I have a skeleton strumming a guitar on my arm (I do), I’m not showing you for approval. If you see it, it’s because I’m proud of it. Many see it as “ruining your skin”, but those with ink see it more as “making use of a blank canvas”. – Cadillac

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  • Traistain

    Maybe if I met someone with a tattoo who wasn’t a total asshole I’d agree with you. It seems like whenever a person has ink they are a prick. Maybe the Ink gives them douchebag syndrome.