The ignorance of others…
Stupid is as stupid does.
“The only difference between people with tattoos and people without is that people with tattoos don’t care that you aren't tattooed” – Found on the walls of tattoo shops the world over.
Once you’ve stepped into the wonderful word of tattoos things will change. How people view you will change. As with all things there can be positive, negative or neutral reactions. Be ready to smile broadly at the good stuff but equally be ready for the bad.
For reasons I will never understand, people who don’t like tattoos have absolutely no reservations when it comes to letting you know how they feel, of course if you look like you might pull their leg off and beat them remorselessly with it they may refrain but for the rest of us hearing uninformed, bigoted stupidity becomes something of a norm, particularly in the age of social media where cowards can puff out their chests and be as big as they want to be from behind the protective barrier of a computer screen.
People WILL judge you, they won’t know you but they’ll decide if they want to based on your ink. My own father was the worst I’ve ever met. My dear old, departed dad believed that tattoos were the stuff of thugs, hooligans and criminals, that tattoos were some badge of honour worn by characters who lurk in the murky depths of society. He excused the military from this judgement for reasons I never quite fathomed and similarly tribesmen in remote parts of the world were excused on the grounds that they lacked the required level of civilisation to have advanced past self mutilation. That attitude kept me from what is now a passion until I was 30. My back is now a large colourful memorial to the memory of this lovely but narrow minded man. The irony would have been lost in a fearsome Irish rage, had he still been here to see it.
These people are out there, they may not know you, some will never know you, they don’t understand your motivations, the emotions that may be involved, they don’t understand the addiction that comes from it, they know absolutely nothing about any of it, but they will judge you all the same.
Classic remarks from the hard of thinking.
- “It’s a waste of money!” – Really? Who’s money is being wasted? Some people spend more on dress that will be out of fashion in six months than I spend in six months on tattoos. Who’s wasting money?
- “It’ll look bad when you’re old!” – They may be right, but then they may be wrong. I may not get old, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow. The fact is when I’m old it will be MY problem and I don’t think I’m going to care.
- “It’s ugly!” – So is your attitude, I just chose to keep my opinion to myself.
- “Why would you want THAT on you forever?” – My reasons are my own, they involve you not one bit.
- “You’ve defaced what God gave you!” – I see, so God GAVE me this skin? That makes it mine and as it’s mine, I’ll decorate it how I choose.
- “You look like a criminal!” – Oh right, which one?
- “Only wannabe’s have tattoos!” – Wannabe what? Tattooed? Yip, I definitely wannabe tattooed…a lot.
- “Racists have tattoos!”- Yes, some do, some don’t. Not everyone with a tattoo is a racist, just as not all racists have tattoos.
- “The Bible says…” – Nowhere in The Bible does is say, “Thou shalt not get a tattoo”.
The list goes on, the anti-tattoo diatribes are plentiful. There are those who suggest getting tattooed is one step on the slippery slope that goes to genital piercings, extreme body modifications (such as tongue splitting and implanted steel horns) and which can only end in self-inflicted lobotomy and perhaps even unnecessary limb amputation.
Personally, I have no piercings. I don’t get them, I don’t feel the need for them, however I don’t judge those who have them, some of my closest friends have numerous piercings. To each his or her own. I have no desire to have implants or splits in my tongue, no need to scar or brand myself, these things are all possible but none of them attractive to me but to those who have them, they are attractive and desirable. I do not fear that which I do not understand and will never be able to understand. Unless the actions of others directly and negatively impact upon me, they are of no concern to me.
Some of things you will read when you are tattooed are as offensive to me as I’m sure any slur against race, religion, gender or sexuality are to those on the receiving end of that type of ignorance. The main difference is that openly being prejudiced against people on those grounds is far from acceptable in our more enlightened society, tattoo prejudice is…well it’s just fine.
"If we live in a time where it is unacceptable to judge a person by the colour of their skin, why is it acceptable to judge me by the colours IN my skin?"
Said by me...just then.
Now this may be a bit of a rant, (it’s my website and I’ll rant if I want to), but this is the world you step into when you get a tattoo. A world where in one person’s eyes you’ve increased your cool factor by about 400% but in the eyes of another you’re teetering on the the brink of becoming the next Charles Manson. I can’t expect that any anti-tattoo minded person reading this will suddenly have an epiphany and become more tolerant any more than we can expect racists, homophobes and misogynists to recant after reading about how ignorant and small minded they are.
Regrettably we have to accept that there are stupid people in the world (and yes some of them have tattoos) and we have to accept that it is still legal for stupid people to have children and to raise them in their own image. While it is fairly certain that the prejudice we experience for being tattooed will never compare to the ordeals of those faced by people judged on skin colour, sexuality etc, you must be prepared for the fact that not everyone is going to greet your carefully selected and painfully acquired new tattoo with, gasps of appreciation.
Fore-warned is fore-armed as they say.