We’re Crude, We’re Tattooed, Get Used To It: Why We Need Tattoo Visibility in the Media

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 [1]. 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.

____________________________

[1] “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.

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4 responses to “We’re Crude, We’re Tattooed, Get Used To It: Why We Need Tattoo Visibility in the Media

  1. Pingback: We’re Crude, We’re Tattooed, Get Used To It: Why We Need Tattoo Visibility in the Media « In Our Words | Southern Girl In The Big City·

  2. I love your spirit but there’s a reason why tats are considered permanent reminders of youthful stupidity. That woman at work may not have been trying to save your soul, but merely your skin.
    Also, I have 4 tats myself. Each a reminder of a mindset and an ethos that I have long outgrown. Just you wait, you whippersnapper! You’ll see!
    Respectfully,

  3. I appreciate your feedback and thoughts on this piece. Whether that woman was trying to save my soul or my skin (which are both my business), I feel like given the times we live in, it really should not come as a shock to anyone if and when individuals have tattoos. I take pride in my tattoos and I salute all the people who are tattoo artists. I don’t think everyone gets a tattoo out of youthful stupidity. They are all beautiful and subjective to the individual’s choice and lifestyle.I know a 60 year old who has been adding to her body since she was a young one, “back in the day, and she doesn’t regret a single one. And just between us, I hope I never outgrow my “whippersnapper” phase. I have more ink mapped out for this desecrated temple of mine.

    Cheers!

    • Not everyone gets a tattoo out of youthful stupidity, but youthful stupidity is the first thing most people associate with tattoos, especially the ones that can’t be easily hidden by clothing. Ink poking out the shirt collar is the skin equivalent of a confederate flag bumper sticker- there might be a good story behind it that gets them off the hook, but it’s much more likely that they just have very poor judgment.

      Regardless of how much your tats mean to you and what you think you’re expressing by them, a big fat chunk of the population can’t get past the medium to see the message. People don’t take the time to read graffiti, and body graffiti is no different.

      But since you’ve already got five, might as well go all in. I suggest raccoon eyes and whiskers, I’ve never seen that one done before. Anybody who walks into a bar with raccoon eyes and whiskers isn’t buying their own drink as long as I’m there.

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