21.7.08

Tit For Tattoo

In times when my blogging mojo deserts me (helped along by the lightning that blew out my Internet cables for nearly a week), the things that get me going again are any of the following:
a) something really interesting to blog about (at least, I think so).
b) sheer annoyance, leading to a rant.
This post probably falls into the latter category, triggered by this article in the Telegraph. (to anyone who doesn't want to be bothered with clicking the link, it's basically a long whine about how tattoos are ugly and disfiguring, and apparently Angelina Jolie's tattoos are a 'violation' of her from the neck down. The article went on and on in the same tone, and I wasn't exactly sure what Becky Pugh, the writer of the article, had against them- until the second page and end of the article, when she revealed that she'd got a tattoo she regretted during her gap year (I presume) in New Zealand.
Very honestly, as a person who's been inked (albeit discreetly) for three years and wanted to be for six years before that, I don't see what the bloody fuss is about. Admittedly, a tattoo requires a good deal of thought beforehand since it's permanent, can be expensive, and will probably remain on your body until you die or fork out a lot of money to have it lasered off . But if I'm the one who chose to get it done, I don't see why some woman who feels bad about her own tattoo because she got it done for what sounds to me like a pretty stupid reason (rebellion? gap-year boredom? seriously?) has the right to call judgement on mine, or to say that I, or any woman who gets a tattoo, is 'blighted' by it. Blighted, my foot.
I suppose tattoos are a strange subject for a fashion blogger to be going on about, and I don't deny that I can and do get annoyed by what seem to me like stupid-looking tattoos or overly ostentatious-for-the-sake-of-it ones, but at the end of the day, it's a choice- just as much as what we choose to wear. It's possible not to agree with another person's choices, or to make them for ourselves in the same situation, but surely condemning them out of hand isn't the way to go? And if our bodies are our own, choosing the clothes we want to wear each day, or the markings we choose to wear permanently- are those really such outlandish, unthinkable concepts? It's food for thought, I say..

15 comments:

WendyB said...

Actually I found the article kind of hilarious. The points she makes about the celebs are dead on -- their tattoos (a) look like crap and (b) are pretentious. Pretentious crap, permanently marked on your skin. Lovely. And I'd hazard that a majority of the people who flock to malls to get tattoos now (love Ozzie's quote) get pretty lame ones too. I think it's rare that people get really beautiful tattoos like Gala Darling's and ones I've seen on other blogs (I'm not sure if you posted yours but we know you have good taste!). I'd say the beautiful ones are the exceptions, not the rule.

enc said...

What a great post title.

I've got two tattoos, and I regret them both. If there was a way to go back in time and not get them, I'd do it. However, that's not possible, and it's a waste to spend time on regret. I thought about mine for five years beforehand, and even that much forethought wasn't enough for me.

If anyone asked my opinion about whether or not they should get a tattoo, I'd tell them "no," and give my reasons why.

But only if asked.

That writer was out of line condemning anyone, even AJ for having tattoos, because it's none of her business who has tattoos or why. AJ didn't ask her opinion, and her writing that piece was superfluous:

You can't answer the question that hasn't been asked.

bobo said...

your tattoo is my favourite of all those i've seen.

sexy, yet classy. :)

Dianna said...

here, here! i have a tattoo also & love it, although i'm sure there will come a day when that love will fade (like when i'm old & wrinkly). welcome back!

Alli said...

There's an article in this month's British Vogue about tattoos as well, though it definitely has a more positive spin. Even though I wish I'd thought about some of my tattoos more before I'd gotten them (or maybe shelled out for a better artist, haha), I love them because they all represent good times and people for me and eff anybody who tries to tell me otherwise.

The Clothes Horse said...

That is really ridiculous. I regret cutting my hair really short when I was younger, that doesn't mean short haircuts are stupid! Honestly the woman sounds dumb. Girls who don't think about permanent marks are blighted (read: tramp stamp). But women who consider the repurcussions of their actions and chose a tattoo (or something else) wisely aren't any less attractive! Further, why aren't men supposedly idiotic or "blighted" for choosing tattoos...double standard much?

susie_bubble said...

I'm surprised that article even made it to print.... really really stupid and tunnel-visioned...

fashionaddict said...

I lost interest in that article while reading it, mainly because I love tattoos (and am the proud owner of one). I think the article only speaks to people who don't like tattoos or have some issue against them.

Admittedly, the woman's tattoo is rather regrettable, but the tone of the article was whiny, and why condemn the rest of the world for wanting one, just because yours is ugly?

In any case, shows like "Miami Ink" on the Discovery channel are making a big difference in the way people look at tattoos - they come in all styles and are gorgeous in their own way. Those who can't see that, their loss.

Meg said...

There are two parts to this article I think. The first part of the article is written by a man (he says he has a wife), so his reference to a tattoo as a "tramp stamp" suddenly becomes as clear as day. He's also chosen celebrities as examples, why didn't he slag off Thomas Edison who had a tattoo, or Winston Churchill's mother who hada snake "tramp stamp" on her wrist, or Winston Churchill himself. It's easy to make things sound ridiculous when you have such easy targets.
As for Becky Pugh, how is someone with such a lack of common sense writing for a supposedly reputable newspaper?
The Times also had an interesting article on this:

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/beauty/article4301310.ece

headmistress said...

aah, I've been pondering a tattoo for a very long time... but i can't figure out what to get, what image/statement I could possibly commit to like that. while I don't agree with the whole 'tramp stamp' thing, what does put me off getting one is just how cliché they have become, and all the phony, pseudo symbolism some people imbue them with...

Sal said...

As you've pointed out, this writer is dumping her OWN bitterness about her OWN crap tattoo into the laps of the tattooed world. Unless you're getting a face, neck, or hand tattoo, you'll be able to conceal your ink with clothing, if you wish to. It's a personal choice, and no one's business but your own. Even if a tattoo truly is "the cheap plumage of the attention-seeker," it certainly isn't the only or most damaging way to grasp at attention.

I regret none of my three, which I considered quite carefully before committing to skin. And as for the embittered writer's personal blight, if she can't afford to get it lasered off, she could quite easily afford to get something better tattooed OVER it. If you're stuck with it, might as well hate it a little less, right?

I wonder if celebrities might get tattoos as a rebellion against their own industry. The famous are constantly being evaluated by their bodies, and, clearly, some folks still view tattoos as a "blight." What better way for AJ to say "fuck public scrutiny" than by plunking "Know Your Rights" between her shoulders?

Sydney Scott said...

this was a really cool topic to write on. i don't have any tattoos, but i've always wanted one, i'm just to indecisive about what to get to actually go through with it.

i agree with you about often getting annoyed at seeing stupid looking tattoos, like huge chest tattoos on women. i really think it's up to the person and how comfortable they feel with their decision.

Guerreira said...

Very well said! I have two tatoos that mean a lot to me, and will continue to do so. I would never put just any stupid thing on my body, and the stuff I do has meanings that are strong enough to not change in time (like at the end of a gap year, like our dear article writer...).

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Wendy: It's true a lot of tattoos do look like crap and are pretentious, but I really didn't like the sneery tone the article took. There are people whose tattoos, for whatever reason, mean something to them and in some cultures tattooing is practically a custom- I guess I just don't like wholesale swipes like this one. And thank you for assuming I have good taste, but my tattoo is three slightly blurred stars on the inside of my left wrist- hardly the most original of things, but I like it :)

ENC: Thanks! Though I just realised it might bring more pervs to the blog than the ones that come here looking for 'visible stocking tops' :) Your story reminds me that it really is possible to regret even a carefully thought-out tattoo- and your opinion is a valid one, but even if you were advising against a tattoo, I don't think you'd take the tone of that silly article- and a person would be much more likely to consider what you have to say for that.
Bobo: Sexy? That's a new adjective indeed, especially when applied to that doodle I've got..
Dianna: Nice to hear from a fellow tattoo-liker, and it's entirely possible you'll still love it when you're eighty.
Alli: I saw that article a few days after reading these comments, and you're right, it's more positive about tats on the whole. But your tattoos do sound cool- and as long as you love them, why should anyone else's carping matter?

The Clothes Horse: Yeah, the article's ire does seem directed chiefly at female celebrities and tattooed girls, and that in itself would be another rant for me- you're right about the double standard, it's something I find supremely annoying.
Susie: I so agree with you...it would have spared me the irritation of reading it, for starters.
fashionaddict: That article probably pissed off every happily tattooed person who read it- and I suppose we may as well discount it altogether since it's nothing more than a whine.
Meg: I think I mixed them up while reading- I was too annoyed to check carefully (just as well I'm no journalist). Thanks for pointing it out, though. And the Times article sounded much more reasonable than the Telegraph one.. I suspect the latter only went after modern-day celebs because they're more immediately identifiable- stupid, I say.
Headmistress: I'm facing the same conundrum with my second tattoo-if you're hesitating, it's probably best to wait till you're sure you want one. And yes, it is possible for tattoos to be hackneyed and stupid- which is why people should only get one if they're dead sure about it. It tends to be ok if it's not something that you're hugely conscious of, though..
Sal: You're absolutely right- your tattoo doesn't normally have to be visible unless you want it to be, and if you don't regret it, who is anyone to say otherwise?
Interesting point you make about the celeb tattooing phenomenon, too- I've always had a sneaky admiration for Angelina Jolie's script tattoos, and in the best-case scenario they really are an expression of one's personality- hardly a blight, I'd say.
Sydney: Thank you! If you're feeling indecisive, it's probably best to wait till you're sure of what you want to get- which is what you're doing.
Truth be told, I don't think all huge tattoos are stupid- one of the coolest ones I ever saw was a huge eagle under a girl's collarbone- as with clothes, it's all about the way you carry it. But yes, not thinking about it beforehand and then getting uncomfortable, is stupid.
Guerreira! Thanks, I'm glad you liked what I had to say :). And I'm glad to hear from more happily tattooed people, too!

bobo said...

well, i quite like it. let's leave it there. :)

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