Monday, October 9, 2017

Tattoos & Femininity

For a long time, it was rebellious for women to have tattoos or any sort of body modifications. It was a double standard that was considered masculine and frowned upon for women, just like wearing pants or red nail polish. They were seen as an impure destruction of her skin and not appealing in the eyes of man. As dated as this concept sounds, there are so many people-men and women alike-who don't perceive tattoos as feminine. I've worked at a few companies that didn't mind, as long as it wasn't anything offensive or vulgar. Although policies within corporate settings are becoming more liberal now, there are still a great deal of employers who won't tolerate visible tattoos in the work place

At this point, I have a total of 12 tattoos (and counting). Long before I ever stepped foot in a tattoo shop, I never quite understood the issue or why it was such a big deal. I've always adored tattoos, especially on women. Perhaps for a while there was this negative connotation associated with them, which I think has more to do with complexion than anything else, but I digress. It's a little bizarre that even in spaces where tattoos are "accepted", there are often conditions, such as placement and size, and a woman shouldn't have to hold a certain kind of beauty to still be considered beautiful with tattoos.

Photo by Isabel Sacher via Unsplash
I think the first girl I ever saw covered in tattoos (and now has way more in her adult life) was a YouTuber by the name of Samantha Maria, also known in the blog/YT world as BeautyCrush. The next one was Amber Rose, who was someone I didn't know a ton about-at least not in the capacity that I do now. At the time, she was in a semi-public relationship with hip-hop artist, Kanye West. She'd have on these bomb outfits and dresses  and - much like Samantha - slowly was noted as a style icon. The tattoos didn't necessarily make either of them more beautiful or appealing than they already were, but I just loved the aesthetic; it's really hard to explain. 

I'd seen tattoos on women before that were mostly hidden, small/dainty, and in places that could easily be covered up or not seen at all. What I still admire about both examples of 2 wildly different individuals were the boldness of their tattoos. I loved that they weren't in this box of what was considered traditionally feminine. In fact, when I first started openly expressing interest in tattoos, people always made a point to tell me to get them in places where they weren't seen, as if we should be ashamed for having them.  Obviously, the advice fell on death ears, because my very first tattoo was done on my left wrist and the ones I have currently on the lower-inner half of my arm are so massive, I might as well build a sleeve.

Because people want nothing more than to bring up religion to support whatever it is they deem wrong, how I view tattoos is all coming from a someone whose spiritual and religious beliefs are deeply rooted in Christianity. It's not even fair game to claim that I'm not perfect, so do not judge me, because I don't personally see it as a sin and I have yet to meet anyone who is able to point me in the direction of where in the Bible it says this. One of the biggest disconnects in most-if not, all-religions is perception of context, so it's a debate I prefer not to subscribe to in any capacity. 

Another thing people warned me about was my wedding day, which starts a brand new conversation. How is it going to look in a wedding dress? First and foremost, why are we manipulated from such a young age to think about marriage and a wedding day that may not ever happen? A few years ago, I was dating someone who tried to make me feel undesirable, like I was the scum of the earth for my decision to put permanent ink on my body. But in reference to that strange question and such silly ideas, in my opinion, God willing, I will marry someone who is not only 100% cool about me having tattoos, but also embraces them as a part of my being/beauty, even when my skin starts to wrinkle, simply because he loves me...and everything I encompass. Who knows? Perhaps, I'll luck up and match with someone who has a few of his own. 

Regardless, I remain beautiful in God's eyes and made in the likeness of Her image, so I'm pretty confident that the man God has for me will recognize that as well. And when I'm old, I know I'll still be beautiful in my eyes just the same. If and when it comes down to being a wife, mom, even as a budding career woman, I'll happily take on the roles and opportunities I'm blessed with and give them all I've got...and there's no way that tattoos will take away from the woman I'm becoming. 

It goes without saying that I'm just completely in love the artistic expression that is tattoos, on everyone, but especially on women. I don't believe they take away from a woman's femininity in the least bit nor do I think they stop someone from living their best life and achieving whatever it is they set out to achieve; celebrities, bloggers/internet personalities, and athletes don't have to the exception. There are too many women on the earth living their best lives with and without tattoos for me to feel limited in what I can accomplish in this lifetime.

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