10 Things Tuesday: 10 Reasons Tattoos Are Worthwhile For Women!

An article in The Spectrum, an independent publication of the University of Buffalo went viral last week. The writer of the article, one Lisa Khoury, put forth the argument that women are 'naturally - beautiful creatures' and 'hold the world's beauty... class and elegance in their hands' and therefore should not 'vandalise the temple she has been blessed with as her body'...

Ms Khoury asked, 'Can you get meaning out of a tattoo? ... at the end of the day, are you really a happier person? Has this tattoo, for instance, caused you to learn something new about yourself? Has it challenged you? Has it led you to self-growth? Nothing comes out of getting a tattoo. You get a tattoo, and that's it.'

When I read the original article, I did so with my jaw glued to the floor. I can barely conceive of the fact that anyone still thinks this way.

I absolutely view my body as a temple, and I adorn it as a temple... Which reminds me of something else Ms Khoury said about what she thought a woman should do if she was not happy with her temple, 'She's not happy with it? She goes to the gym. She dresses it up in lavish, fun, trendy clothes, enjoying trips to the mall with her girlfriends.'

If she is not happy, she should distract herself with passing trends. She should never commit to anything long term. She should be vapid and shallow and temporary.

Yes, this article riled me up. Not because I read any truth in it but because it was written in ignorance. It was evident Ms Khoury had never asked a woman with tattoos why she gets them, or what she gets from having them.

Women who get tattoos are generally well aware that when they grow old and their skin loses it's elasticity, their tattoos will lose some shape. Everyone who gets tattoos knows the ink fades. While tattoos might be viewed as the domain of the young, more and more women in their late 30s and 40s and older are getting them these days, not to be rebellious, not from lack of foresight, but for far deeper reasons.

So, I thought I'd list 10 reasons why tattoos are worthwhile for women:
  • Women's bodies are beautiful and tattoos make people look closer - and not just at a women's boobs or her legs, though also these. Tattoos draw attention to the a woman's arms, her back, her shoulders, the curve of her neck, the soft pale skin inside her elbow. Tattoos highlight these, often overlooked, areas. They also draw attention to the texture of a woman's skin.
  • Tattoos show a woman's deep commitment to those she loves, her children, her partner, her friends, her hobbies and interest. When you see a tattoo of a couple of knitting needles in a ball of yarn and the words 'Knit fast, die warm' - you just know that woman loves to knit!
  • Tattoos build and build on a woman's self-confidence. You have to be self-confident to wear a visible tattoo in public - especially with the likes of Ms Khoury still walking the planet. You have to believe in your choices and own them.
  • Tattoos remind women of hard times; lost babies and friends. And tattoos give a woman an opportunity to talk about those she has lost when someone asks her, 'So, does that tattoo have a meaning?'
  • Tattoos can bind a woman to her community forever. Today is the third anniversary of the Black Saturday fires and in the town of Flowerdale men and women have gotten matching tattoos to remember those who died.
  • Getting a tattoo, even if it is in a concealed place, only for the woman herself, can be about overcoming a fear. The actual act of sitting and tolerating the pain of getting a tattoo engraved into her skin can be a right of passage with a permanent reminder that she endured.
  • A tattoo can be a sacred symbol on the skin which imbues the woman with a sense of strength, good fortune or peace. 
  • A tattoo can, and often does, mark a time of transition in a woman's life, a time when she learned something knew about her world and her place in it - in the days, months and years that follow, the tattoo serves to remind the woman of that transition and what she achieved in her life.
  • A tattoo can bring new people into a woman's life. There have been many occasions where I've struck up a conversation with someone because I liked their tattoo, and likewise others with me because they liked mine. Tattoos are a fantastic icebreaker!
  • Tattoos are gorgeous! They are art that people commit to by wearing it on their skin. There are designs to suit every kind of taste; whether you like true-to-life, cartoony or abstract designs. Art inspires and so do tattoos!
Oh and one more, just on a person note!
  • For me personally, my tattoos are created by my brother and so when I wear them I'm reminded of him. I am able to wear his artwork wherever I go. This has brought us closer together.



Comments

Jayne said…
Well said, Sif. Lisa Khoury made some very ignorant observations.
My Ta Moko (traditional Maori tattoo) represents everything that woman refuted. I'd go through that pain again for myself rather than slugging it out in a gym to try and appeal to someone else.
Rhianna said…
Personally I could never tattoo but I don't hold it against women or men for that matter that are prepared to make that kind of commitment. I must say though after reading this I almost want to go get me some
Very interesting.
I could tattoo either - chicken ! I have many friends of angel babies who have and I don't mind theirs , some are very artistic and as a memorial I get it too.
My father had large tattoos on his arms and he always regretted it. It is ingrained in me :(
pam said…
Beautifully argued! I once went to an award winning tattoo parlour but legged it before the artist started when he turned his back for a moment.
Not my finest hour!
Sif said…
So many women I know have at least one tattoo, and many have none - either way is fine! I just don't buy the idea that a woman with tattoos cannot have elegance or that tattoos are not worthwhile. It's so obviously a personal choice, and most people who have tattoos are passionate about them - and most people I've met who have had one tattoo are filled with a craving for more which stems directly from the exhilaration they felt when getting their first (so, evidently the act of getting a tattoo affects the wearer on a deep level).

I've also heard of several people who got tattoos and then regretted them. Oddly enough, the vast majority of those have been older men who got tattoos while serving in the army or navy - and this makes me wonder what prompted them to get tattoos in the first place? Was it because everyone around them was getting one and the tattoo itself had no intrinsic meaning for them.

I think people who get tattoos to 'keep up with the Joneses' or 'as a sign of rebellion' are the ones most likely to regret that decision.

If a tattoo has a deep meaning for the wearer, it is more likely to be a choice that is celebrated into old age rather than becoming a regret.
bek said…
I'm glad I live under a rock, I miss out on so many stupid things :)

I think if you're getting inked, sitting on the design for a couple of years before getting it done helps mitigate tattoo remorse. I wonder if I'll manage the next one before my 40th (have to finish the design by 38...pressure! :D).
Yr said…
What a beautyful reflection, Sif!

i am proud of the two of you, the artist AND the art-wearer!

Love, Mum
swankyday said…
I love this list. Thank you for your lovely addition to the conversation her original piece has started. Happy to have found your virtual world.

(My response to her is here: http://swankyday.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/classless-proud-i-heart-tattooed-women/)
Morgan Smith said…
I can't believe some people still believe that way. It just seems so close minded towards something you don't understand. I really enjoyed this article and the thoughtfulness in it.
Personally I have plenty of tattoos, more than I thought I would ever want but they are addicting. Every single one of my tattoos has a deeper meaning than just to fit a trend or rebel. It annoys me to hear someone say that tattooed people do not think of the long term effects because I've considered that with every single one of mine. I agree tattoos aren't for everyone but why hate something you know nothing about.
I loved the list and there were many I could relate too. I've gotten a fee tattoos to signify important moments in my life. I couldn't think of myself without them on my body because they are a part of me now. My older brother is also a tattoo artist so I love knowing that he personally created every design for me and that they came from him. It means so much to me to see these beautiful tattoos that my own family created for me. I could never go without tattoos because to me they add so much more to your body. I love my tattoos and will never regret them.
Sif Dal said…
I have a couple more now too - they certainly are addicting! Thank you for your support!