by: Amaris Hinton
I don’t read magazines. The glossy photos freak me out, and my waistline can’t handle any more Ben and Jerry’s . However, I take the topic of tattoos very seriously; I have five of my own, and I fully intend to get more after I settle on a (gag!) career. Until that time, I show mine proudly and never hesitate to answer any questions someone might have about what they mean.
Until recently, I never actually noticed the absence of tattoos in magazines; aside from Rolling Stone and other Alternative Culture magazines, you don’t see them, almost ever. Sure, some people may have tattoos that are easily hidden; however, I find it hard to believe that every single model and person pictured in the several hundred magazines that are in circulation are completely ink free. They are just invisible. Instead of allowing themselves to stay hidden, I think ink heads should adopt a mantra like “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It.” But instead, we’ll change it to: “We’re Crude, We’re Tattooed, Get Used To It.” It’s 2012; this whole shock/judgement thing is totally played out.
And the reason behind this invisibility is Photoshop, which has become as common as correction fluid. Once an avenue for artists and graphic designers to express themselves, now this amazing program makes people turn into Pleasantville perfect, which has always unnerved me. If the tattoos aren’t offensive (insulting race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation), leave them in.
This erasure reflects a society where tattoos are still frowned on, mostly by older generations and religious groups. There is so much work towards tolerance and equality in this country, but when it comes to our bodies and to body modification, it doesn’t make the cut. Of course, I am not trying to equate hate crimes to Photoshop, but each has to do with identity, with quelling an individual’s sense of self.
On this note, I had an encounter at my work where a woman had the audacity to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to get anymore tattoos. This woman told me that my body was not my own. My body was God’s, so how dare I desecrate and scar up His temple? I am a religious person, and I believe that God is as liberal as they come and that seeing that all my tattoos have personal and positive meaning, I should be allowed to show and share them as I see fit.
I say all of this to say that tattoos, like many things in this life, are not only a choice, they are a lifestyle. They are a defining feature and help identify a body. They are a part of you. Why deny them just because one segment of the population doesn’t approve? There are millions of people in this world, more are being born every day. We have taken so many other steps, and I just those same steps will be taken towards acceptance of tattoos everywhere, in every media source.
 “Or maybe it can,” she says as she puts down the spoon.
Amaris Hinton is a 25-year-old bookseller who resides in Cincinnati, OH. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA of the Arts, concentrating on Film and Video. Her hobbies include knitting, reading, writing and spending time with her family. She also has a deep appreciation for gingers. That and cupcakes. Yeah.