Tattoos, and Misogyny, and Dumb Kids (again)

I didn’t think I’d write here this week, for several reasons. But there’s a certain kind of garbage that crops up on the internet now and then that’s great at pulling me out of my little mindless stupor.

I don’t have any tattoos, and neither does my wife, and I can’t say there’s any sort of void in my life there. List off the usual reasons for not being interested, and I probably have all of them. I hate pain, of all types (I’m a real weenie about it). There’s not much that I’m so passionate about now that I’d want to display it 24/7 on my body, let alone stuff that I’m confident I’d feel just as proud of 50 years from now. It’s just not the kind of thing that I’d spend real money on, somehow. And so on.

I kinda dig them, though, on others. I had a woman who cut my hair a few years ago who I hope doesn’t read this (that’d be weird), but she was, and presumably still is, vibrant and spunky and friendly and frankly adorable and did all kinds of awesome and creative things with her time when she wasn’t cutting hair, and she had both arms and her back absolutely covered in highly colorful, completely absorbing art. Not my thing personally, never my thing, but they were her, totally, and I really admired them. It gave me a new appreciation for the whole idea, really; if you’re passionate about something, and that’s what works for you — for whatever that means — I think it can be a pretty beautiful thing.

What I guess I’m trying to say with all this is that OH HOLY HELL PEOPLE ARE AWFUL, as evidence of which I offer the following:

Tattoos and Other Easy Ways to Ruin Your Body” [EDIT: I seem to have a knack for this. He’s deleted the post and replaced it with an apology that actually seems reasonably sincere. EDIT AGAIN: Now the whole blog is private. But it seemed sincere!]

You may have gathered from the title alone that this was written by a man, and a dyed-in-the-wool misogynist, one who claims the right to speak to all women and on behalf of all men based on his own extremely ill-formed and unsupportable opinions, maybe even one who’s exceptionally young and just head-splittingly naive.

And you’d be right about those things. But you still wouldn’t really have a firm grasp on exactly how dumb and offensive this is.

So here’s a taste:

Women, let me tell you something that your friends and many guys will not. Your tattoos are ugly. We do not like them. We respect you less for them. We think you’re a pawn without a sense of solidarity in a world that pressures you to conform.

Note to all male bloggers and writers, the younger and less experienced the better: always start everything you write with “Women, let me tell you something.” They love that!

Also: all men, everywhere? Even me, even with what I just said above about kind of loving them sometimes?

Yep!

Even if we’re not conscious of this belief, we hold it. Men who gush about the sexiness of girls with tattoos do this because they are culturally trained to do so.

Culturally trained. Culturally trained! You either agree with the opinion that this author has formed across what must so far have been just a depressingly sheltered 23 years — an opinion which is in large part about aesthetics, the most subjective thing in the world — or you’re a pawn, a victim of the great cultural indoctrination.

There’s a ton of ignorance in this, but I love the idea that “culture” is something that exists separate and apart from people, or from men. Like there’s a thing that all of the 49% hates, but we put up with it, and some of us convince ourselves that we like it, because this headless monster The Culture instructs us that we must! Cruel mistress, The Culture.

So we’ve been informed that all men hate women’s tattoos and that the men who don’t hate them are just too stupid to realize they hate them. We now get the parade of horribles, the reasons why a woman getting a tattoo is the worst thing. Might as well:

1. Because it’s where another man left his mark on you.

This is exactly what it sounds like: her tattooist was probably a man, and letting him put a thing on her (that she’s asked him and will pay him to put on her) is “lending him a level of familiarity over [her].” And I can’t decide how refreshing/terrifying it is that he actually recognizes the thing he’s doing here:

Does this fall under the category of what the mainstream media calls “jealous men calling normal things cheating?” Yes. Does that make us wrong? No. A man has marked you and you will always carry his handiwork.

asdfadsfkj.

Forget for a moment that the whole idea of a man “leaving his mark” on a woman, like cattle, is repulsive, and pretend that this kind of pathetic sniveling emasculating fear and jealousy is ever even arguably okay. A guy she doesn’t know (if it’s a guy; she’s apparently in the clear on this point if she finds a female tattooist) carried out a job that she asked him to do, maybe even just transferring something she designed herself on paper, because it’s important to her, and she paid him for the service. If this is the kind of thing that makes you jealous akin to the way one might react to a cheating spouse (worse, since this apparently applies to all women who may ever be in a relationship with a man, whether they’re single when they get the tattoo or not), please just don’t bother with human contact of any kind, ever, for the rest of your days. It’s not going to go well for you.

2. Because tattoos were primarily a symbol of prostitutes.

Well, okay. He cites to an Amazon page selling a book containing a highly unscientific 1933 “study” that’s apparently available nowadays as kitsch, like those little yellow “How to Make Love” pamphlets from the 1940s. But even if it’s true, it’s a good bet — and I’m not going to look this up — that earrings and other piercings and many modern hairstyles and clothes were once a symbol of prostitutes, too. Anyone who sees a tattoo in 2013 and thinks “WHORE!!!” (and he’s very clear that he’s talking about all tattoos here: butterfly on the ankle, the whole bit) might just possibly have some issues that don’t really have much of anything to do with body art.

3. Because your desire to participate in the counter-culture betrays a rebellious heart.

That’s a sentence, I guess, barely, but it doesn’t appear to mean anything. The point is apparently that the purpose of all tattoos is rebellion against something (patently ridiculous), but that they’re so commonplace that getting one makes you a “sheep” — even that it’s not getting one that really makes you a rebel, because everybody’s doing it!

Now, assuming they were that commonplace (and he later moronically cites a study that supports none of his points and in which about 13.5% of female participants had a tattoo — and this is outside my scope, but he apparently hasn’t had time in his 23 years to learn about the whole correlation-does-not-imply-causation deal), the unspoken assumption that “getting a tattoo” itself is the expression, rather than what that tattoo displays or means to the person, might be the single most braindead mistake in this whole braindead mistake of a post.

4. Guys and tattoos

Well, this isn’t a reason anymore, he just wants to really carefully spell out what he’s saying here, in case you missed it: that he hates women, essentially. That men can have tattoos (though he doesn’t like it), because, in essence, they’re not subject to being owned and dominated by the other sex. (In his actual words: “Like sleeping around, the detrimental effects of a guy doing this are much less severe. It’s not fair, but neither is child leukemia or Cystic Fibrosis.”)

The conclusion might be my favorite part: “We will never respect you for having [a tattoo]. You will lower your social value by having one and limit your choice of potential suitors.” Hi-larious. The next study I’d like to see is a comparison of the “potential suitors” of the average tattooed young woman to the “potential suitors” of one karamozov1989. Really. I’d buy a ticket, if they could sell tickets to a study somehow.

One of my first posts here reflected on some incredibly dumb things that had been written by a college senior for his student newspaper, and wondered if it wasn’t a really bad idea to make the half-formed opinions of some poor college kid whose whole outlook will probably change nine times in the next five years freely available to anyone who wants to read or mock them on the internet. The author here is 23 — out of college, presumably, but not substantially different from the roughly-22-year-old there. It takes some of them a while to figure out (and some never do) that their set of ideals and beliefs, no matter how fervently held, just can’t be applied to and forced on everyone generally, or to figure out that they haven’t actually learned everything they need to know yet, and that some of those ideals or parts of them might ultimately prove to be among the stupidest things it’s possible for any person to think.

Ultimately, though? Shit this stupid is out there, and sometimes when you’re reminded of that, you have to take it apart. It’s like intensive therapy for the world’s general awfulness. And dammit, it feels good.

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14 thoughts on “Tattoos, and Misogyny, and Dumb Kids (again)

  1. Dude, now that I’ve read this, your words are imprinted on my brain. Which apparently means I’ve been marked by you. No man will ever want me again!

    ::sob::

    Also, I have pierced ears. Earrings were used to identify slaves – so, you know, I’m obviously letting everyone around me know that I am willing to do their bidding. Curse these tiny pink hearts.

    But seriously, I love that you took it apart. It’s what I do (at least mentally) when I see ridiculousness. It’s therapeutic.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, but I think that means I own my very own Amber now? So can you, like, bring me snacks and stuff? Mail them, I mean, don’t get up. Order them online.

      Actually LOLed at both that and the “tiny pink hearts” thing. Thanks! Figured you could relate. 🙂

    • Thanks so much. And (as I’ve noted above now) the kid deleted his post and is deleting his whole blog, and isn’t even whining about internet bullies or something, seems sincerely regretful about it. So, hope all over the place.

  2. This is great. I’m also really happy to see the author’s apology; I agree that it does seem to be sincere.

    Also, that tattoo in the picture at the top is freaking beautiful.

  3. I think…I know a lot of people think tattoos are unattractive (which, nothing wrong with that, ya likes what ya likes) and probably a lot still associate them with promiscuity and drugs and crime and all that. But the thing that gets me about this guy is his willingness to ascribe his attitude to all men, and the same deluded motives to all women. Do you know people like THAT IRL, because that’s deeply troubling.

    • I often ascribe this attitude to the adoption of “marketing language” which externalizes ones own feelings onto the listener. Once I started noticing how often I and others around me used the word “you” when meaning either “I” or “one,” my eyes were opened to the propensity of (at least, North American?) English speakers to project.

  4. Promisses No. 8: Your Own Worst Critic « The Cranky Lefty

  5. First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts
    prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting
    my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thank you!

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