Women and Tattoos: Meaningful or a Peacock Tail?

For most of us, seeing others bearing a tattoo in public really isn’t an issue any more. They seem to be a lot more socially acceptable worldwide. However, there are still a lot of people out there who outright disagree with tattoos, but more so when they are on women. Even still, more and more women are getting tattoos these days, and the disapproving voices of the older generation are becoming drowned out by the buzz of the ink needle.

When I was considering getting my first tattoo, lots of thoughts were whizzing through my mind. Is it worth the money? What if I hate it? What if they draw it wrong? But one question just kept cropping up; and that was: What will other people think? I found myself being quite angry at myself for thinking this. I mean, who cares?! In the end I got that quill and birds design on my shoulder blade very happily (albeit uncomfortably).

Most people in this politically correct, totally British society like to avoid confrontation like the Plague, and what gives them any right to comment on your appearance anyway? Have you ever come across a stranger in the street who stares at you reproachfully and sneers: ‘Good Lord, why on earth did you buy that dress? It’s so distasteful!’ – I like to highly doubt that you have come across this. If you have, then that’s one bad day you’re having.

So that was my personal thought process on getting a tattoo. It is not the same thought process I go through when I buy a dress. There are more and more people getting tattoos now than ever before. According to a survey, a fifth of all British adults have now been inked [Guardian, 2010]. And the figure can only rise. With popular female celebrities such as Rihanna and Megan Fox getting inked up, it’s highly likely that in a few years, seeing tattoos on women should no longer remind people of gangs, thugs and drug users.

Kerry Middleton, 20, from Bangor, Wales, currently has eight tattoos already. And she’s not stopping there. She aims to finish the ‘half-sleeve’ down her left arm before she works on future ideas to get more. She says: ‘I get a mixture of looks from other people. Some are very judgemental and hurtful, others are very complimenting. I’ve had a few older generation ladies tut and say how disgusting and demeaning scarring my skin is. But my tattoos make me feel confident and special. I might have lots, but I’m a believer that all my tattoos will have meaning big or small.’

This is clearly a prime example of how the society around us is changing. At the end of the day, if you choose to have a tattoo, it’s you who has to live with it, not the stranger across the street. Just don’t wear an ugly dress with that thing, OK?

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