I remember a time while I was growing up when tattoos were considered bad, rebellious, gang related, criminal, trashy, poor, dirty and classless.
Back when I was in grade 9 I was dating this girl that I thought I was going to marry. She was smart, cute, cultured and family oriented. One day while we were on our regular 4 hour long teenage love phone calls she asked me if I would ever get tatted. I said never. Although I thought tattoos were cool for bad ass gangsters in movies, I didnt think it was appropriate for real life. I asked her if she would ever get tatted. She said she did. She actually wanted a tattoo before she was 16.
Its silly when I think about how dramatic and overly emotional I used to be, but I got so mad. "Women don't get tattoos! Only whores do!"
We spent the next couple of hours arguing about it. "What are you going to do when you're old. You dont stay young forever. This is going to look stupid. You're basically letting everyone know that you're a skank! Why would you do that?!"
Her argument was "What's wrong with tattoos on women? Are we not able to express ourselves?! Im tired of this double standard! It's just a tattoo, Will! We're really arguing over a tattoo! You can't stop me! Its not like we're going to be together forever!"
In all truth, I knew we weren't going to be together forever, but that comment made me so mad! lol "What do you mean we won't be together forever?! You planning on breaking up with me?! Why dont you just do it now then?!"
Shit. How embarrassing!
Well, Marina. I am here to say I'm sorry. You were obviously too revolutionary for your time...or for me at least. You were right. Women with tattoos aren't the things I said back in 1999. I apologize. I'd like to think that I've evolved since that sad night I sat in my kitchen 14 years ago.
I guess I never took it as an art form because the only time I had ever seen tatts growing up were tramp stamps and random skulls, flames, gang names and other related images and RIP's. But as I grew older and as the technology in tattoo equipment and techniques progressed, so did my mentality and opinions. The more intricate, sophisticated and beautiful work I saw, the more I came to admire the art form. It became another medium of art to me. And as I time went on, I realized how many people who weren't all the bad things I said had tattoos. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, athletes, actors, singers, businessmen, mothers, fathers, grandparents...they all had tattoos. And at first look, you'd probably never think they had any.
In my opinion, tattoos serve as reminders of different moments in our lives. Even the tattoo that has no meaning has a story, even if it isn't "special". The tattoo could pay respect to the life of a lost friend, or it could be a reminder of the drunken night, or it could be a celebration of a legendary painter that you've always admired, it could be the lyrics to the song you listened to everyday when you broke up with your teenage sweetheart. Regardless, every tattoo has its story. And all those tattoos, tell our story. The story of where we've been and who we've become. Its our journey in stamps and sleeves.
Nowadays, I find it extra attractive for a woman to have tattoos. It tells me a woman can endure pain especially for the sake of expression. It tells me she doesn't care what society thinks and conformism is for robots. It tells me she's strong and she does what she wants. Which in my eyes is way more attractive then the girl who doesn't want to express herself, who's afraid of society and their opinions and a woman who's too scared to be a go getter.
Besides, what gives the right to these people for judging us anyways. Just because we have tattoos doesnt make us bad people, and just because they dont doesnt make them good. Like we all learned, dont judge a book by its cover, but if you're going to have to, choose the book with the best cover, cuz trust me, us tattoo folk have some good damn stories!
Cheers to the women who say fuck the double standard. You're much more beautiful for it.
Middle finger to the world, baby girl!