Sunday, October 17, 2004

Tobi goes off on Tatoos

I was talking with some co-workers about tatoos when I realized I had a definite, concrete opinion on them. I was suprised at how unwavering my view is on them, but only suprised. It remains unchanged.

Anyhooo... It seemed like a perfect subject from my Blog.

I might be seen as incredibly unreasonable in writing this---that's OK! (Just please come and read again, OK?)

I think American women need to re-think tatoos. I won't say women everywhere, because I suspect there are places in the world where women understand tatoos. The US is just not one of those places.

In the US in my youth (15-25 years ago) only men got tatoos. It was a sign of toughness---so much so that usually only football players and military men got tatoos. It was acknowledged what tatoos represent. They are scars that the bearer chose to have inflicted on them to show their toughness.

The subject matter was usually pretty simple: skulls and knives; hearts and preofessions of love to their mothers; dragons, lizards, and sharks or anchors and tanks. Simple stuff.

Then it became fashionable for American women to tatoo tribal bands around their ankles. I was OK with that! It was sensual and sexy. A thin band around a woman's ankle, even a tribal pattern, evoked anklets---a great, timeless fashion statement.

But like the claims about marijuana, a woman's first tatoo is like a starter drug. I have been told by numerous women how addictive they find getting tatooed. Once they have the ankle bracelet, they look for something else. Usually something above their butt crack. Then they look for something else. This is where things have gone horribly wrong with US girls' tatoos.

What ends up happening is something like what became of one of my old girlfriends. She has a astrological ram symbol above her crack, a colorful bird on her belly, and something else---I fergit and honestly don't want to spend anymore time thinking about it.

Anyway, this girl is a beautiful girl and she has basically had herself graffitied. The beautiful skin she was blessed with now evokes a filthy english alley. (I am overstating---she is still beautiful, but it did really DESTROY her elegance---a horrible crime for a woman to commit, in my mind.)

Tatoos done in this manner --- without a coherent plan for the body as a whole ---are "guy" tatoos. They are banners to toughness. They don't add to feminine beauty.

They suggest the girl is a thrill seeker. Like smoking, they suggest the girl is willing to do "bad things" to herself for an immediate, short-term high. These types of tatoos suggest an easy woman. Frankly, they scream "skank".


Now that isn't to say that women should absolutely not get tatoos. I am just saying--- don't be a man about it.


(I will update this post with a picture of the only tatoos I have ever seen that added to a woman's gracefulness and style. IMO, it is a wonderful example for women on how a woman might envision tatooes if she wanted to be heavily tatooed.)

(Here it is!)

I am always asked if I would ever get noticable tatoos. If I did, I would probably get a giant yakuza tatoo on my back and maybe the 12 monkey's logo on my arm. Something mismatched and tough. But it probably won't ever happen...


Blogger Veronica said...

What's a yakuza?

I think you're missing the point of the tattoo boom. It's not so much about "toughness," as it is about 1.) permanence, and 2.) a commitment to (at the very least) one's own skin.

4:06 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

I once thought I might get my wedding ring tatooed on my finger. If I do that will be the only tatoo I get. I get permanence and commitment to one's body.

I am not against women getting tatoos. I am only against women getting tatoos the way guys do.

4:40 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

The Yakuza is the Japanese mob. They tatoo themselves all over. I would just have my back done if I did that.

4:46 PM  
Blogger kreestar said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

So you're not up for women getting tattoos the way men do? As an expression of their toughness? I'm intrigued at the way you've completely disassociated being feminine and being tough; as if men are allowed to adorn their bodies for reasons besides seductiveness, whereas women are not.

I don't mean to be a pain, but by what more feminine means would you have us express out toughness?

7:55 AM  
Blogger Honey Bunny said...

let me guess? by the way you speak, you sound like you've never actually BEEN with a woman.

pretty sad.

also, would you think your mom/sister/aunt/cousin was a skank if she "got inked"?

it's men like you that push women back two steps when we've worked so hard to take three steps ahead.

you suck.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Sister Sunshine said...

I happen to agree with you, for the most part. In fact, I got into such a nasty debate over it, I actually left a Yahoo group that I was active in. IMHO the only good reason to get a tattoo, whether one is male or female, is to cover a hideous scar.

It's sad how many people get one without thinking, then regret it later. I can't imagine any picture of any thing that I would want permanently etched on MY body... and when I see one on someone else, whether I mean for it to or not, it tends to make me feel somewhat repulsed.

A well-toned and shapely human body is a work of art. To put any type of permanent mark upon that canvas mars its beauty. Body paint and henna tattoos are temporary... but they last long enough to get tired of the subject matter and be glad when they're gone.

Again... this is all JMHO... so the bottom line is, "to each their own".

1:55 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

Dear Danielle,

I think ou misunderstand me a little. I think men get tattoos to present an image of toughness. It is like buying a leather jacket.

Women can carry a baby for 9 months and then squeeze the not so little tyke out of an incredibly small orifice. No guy is tougher than that.

I guess I am saying that tattoos are done in no small part to make yourself feel more attractive. In Men to cultivate toughness. In women I would guess the same, but I personally don't see it.

And I don't consider you a pain, I actually appreciate you willingness to help me look deeper into the subject. I don't have any advice on how women should try to look tougher. Women have always found ways to look tough when they wanted too. They are much better at finding those ways than I am.

8:00 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

Dear Honey Bunny

"let me guess? by the way you speak, you sound like you've never actually BEEN with a woman."

Are you propositioning me?

"pretty sad."

So you are sad because you think I haven't slept with a woman...and you are propositioning me because of that?

While I am sure you are a nice lady, I only sleep with women with whom I have a deep, personal relationship.

...It's kinda my thing.

You asked if I thought "my mom/sister/aunt/cousin was a skank if she 'got inked'". That seems to indicate that you misunderstood my post. A tattoo doesn't make a woman a skank; A tatoo doesn't even make a woman LOOK like a skank. A series of tatoos with no thought on how they play off a woman's body does usually makes a woman look skanky. IMO.

My little sister has a little itty-bitty tattoo of a heart on her ankle. When she told me, I probably rolled my eyes, but I have a healthy respect for her. She is one of the people I respect most in my life. She has not chosen to get another tatoo so she doesn't really fit into my criteria on what I would think of as skanky.

The girl I am currently smitten with has a tatoo and is quite eager to get another. I kinda hope she changes her mind or gets something that is complimentary, but odds are she probably won't. Not a big deal. I like how strong she is inside. Frankly, when you really like someone, minor cosmetic issues like this are not that important.

"it's men like you that push women back two steps when we've worked so hard to take three steps ahead."

Well... this is out of left feild... How am I oppressing women?

"you suck."

Well, It was nice corresponding with you.

6:02 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

Dear Sister Sunshine,

Thank you very much for your comments! I plan on getting the picture of the lady with the "Tobi approved" tattoos linked up on the original thread. I hope you will give your opinion on her.

I think she pulls off being heavily tattooed without looking cheap or easy.

You comment about tattoos should be done only to cover scars does resonate with me, but I do not feel quite that strongly about it. I think in some instances the right tattoo(s) in the right place(s) on the right perosn can improve someone's look---but it is rare day that all of those things come together.

6:22 PM  
Blogger StoicMom said...

Interesting topic. I have a niece who was a fencer in college and had a tattoo of two crossed swords put on the back of her left shoulder. A neat little tattoo and one that showed up clearly in pictures of her dancing with her father at her first wedding. One of the pictures from her second wedding show her brother helping her apply makeup to cover up the tattoo. How things do change in a few short years.

My mother always said a tattoo was a permanent sign of temporary insanity.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, this is a year out of date, but as you pointed out I may be offended I decided to post.

I am not actually offended in the least by your comments or opinions. Basically, because I chose to get my tattoos for me. I am currently at two and do not believe I will ever get more, though I do think tattoos are a great means of expression. Also, I dislike the simplistic views on getting tattoos. While in the US I can definitely say they are 'trendy' (the last wedding I was in 4 of the 5 bridesmaids were all tattooed and the bride had the largest piece of ink of us all), tattoos have a HUGE place in history in numerous cultures and serve very deep and meaningful roles in humas society. That is not typically the case here in the US.

I chose my tattoo, and I look upon them as a 'birthmark' that I chose for myself. I did put thought into both my tattoos, and I disagree with the idea of skulls/the reaper etc iconography that does not have some sort of deep personal meaning to the individual. I was not drunk or high before getting either of my tattoos.

Brief history of my tattoos. The one on my chest has extremely deep personal meaning. My brother and I chose the sun tattoo together (in and of itself a rare agreement). My brother died in a car wreck probably 2 months later. Within 3 weeks of his death I had scheduled the tattoo and a friend and I went to get it done (it was actually my X-mas gift from her). I had added a small triangle of celtic knotwork to the center (Irish heritage, plus knotwork has very nice symbology for the interconnectedness of all things in life including the soul/individual; you touch others lives influencing them and are recreated etc) and on each of the 3 sides of the triangle I have my brothers initials. I decided to have it placed over my heart as it was a tribute of sorts to my brother, a permanent memorial if you will. Clearly very intimate, custom work, and chosen for deep personal meaning and no consideration for anyone elses opinion of my choice of body art. Ironically, even my mother approves of this tattoo. Not my next though, she and my father hate that one.

My second tattoo is not as poignant a case. I love my first tattoo, I have always liked tattoos on the female lower back. I think it's a sensual area, not prone to stretch marks or other changes throughout life (such as tummy if you have kids) which can distort or destroy a tattoo. I again went with Celtic knotwork, and I really wanted a shamrock, again another kudos to my heritage and I like the mental image of carrying luck around with me. I had knotwork placed on the two sides simply to blend and extend the pattern. It is actually larger than I would have preferred, but the shamrock demanded larger sizing so there would not be problems bleeding the ink in the fairly complex linework and I wanted the shamrock to be kickass. I'm happy with it, I did not do either tattoo to show my 'toughness'. I do think the one on my back in sensual, while the one on my chest is personal.

Well, that's my 2 cents. =-) Unasked for, but I think people choose their actions for a wide variety of reasons and females and tattoos I think are rarely for "toughness" I think it's much more common to chose to mark yourself with something that has personal meaning to you. I have friends with honeybees, celestial bodies, zodiac signs, things that had personal meaning to them and they felt were beautiful and would enhance their beauty.

This is Jen, it was too much effort to join to publish under a handle.

8:51 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

Hey Jen!

I just read your post. Some very interesting interesting insights. I hadn't thought about stretchmarks being the impetus for tatoos on the lower back. Maybe that is part of the motivation for many women getting tatoos there.(...but wouldn't belts contribute to deformation of those tats?)

Some interesting thoughts on the motivations of women to get tatoos. Thank you for posting!

(Jen is a new friend I met last month.)

I took the opportunity to delete a post by kreestar. Unfortunately, it kinda looks suspicious --- like I had to silence him/her... so I am going to post that back.

kreestar said...

Yes, the point of his/her post was to underscore that I am a pretty lame speller who is too impatient to spellcheck --- this is news?

7:06 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

StoicMom said...

"My mother always said a tattoo was a permanent sign of temporary insanity."

Haha! Greatness! Thank you for sharing that and the story of your daughter.

I think everyone does things that look foolish to them later on down the road. (I once had a mullet, lol! ---Before I get a rush of people bashing on the mullet/tattoo link, I do recognize that many women are happy with their tats and think they look great. More power to those women. Maybe their Tattoos do! All the same, my right and others' to feel like I/we feel should likewise be respected.)

I think tattoos (even good ones) are things that most people in the US will eventually regret because the vast majority of those tattoos really don't have deep meanings or deal with subjects that will retain that level of importance in their lives longterm if the host is honest about matters, but the point of my post was not to try to shame women who get tatoos, only to encourage them to put some extra thought into it --- either skip it if it is trivial or get something meaningful that actually flatters them and adds to their greatness.

7:27 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

I was watching the Mind of Mencia (comedian Carlos Mencia's show) and he also went off on tatoos.

He statement was kind of rude, so you are warned. (skip the rest of this if you don't want to read it).....

He said that tattoos over the lower back of women are have a very specific affect on/meaning to men. It made men want to have sex with them doggy style and ejaculate on the tattoo. Audiences are pretty willing to agree with comedians and the guys in that audience did enthusiastically... for what that's worth.

1:44 PM  
Blogger The Tobidian said...

oh yeah! He also went off on people geting tattoos that don't mean anything. He gave this white guy in the audience a hard time about his tribal tattoo. "What tribe do you belong to? You AREN'T an Indian. You are white. White people too the Indian's land. You should get a tatoo depicting that."

(He was a lot funnier about it and less insulting than my description reads.)

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