This post is for my friend Imran. I usually have very little interest in explaining myself to people who aren’t going to understand anyway, but we’re now at THAT part of the semester, so here we are.
Listening to my normie friends talk about tattoos and speculate on what possesses people to get them is one of the main reasons I think of them as my normie friends. Hell, I grew up being told to be careful of dangerous men with tattoos and to judge people who give in to “peer pressure” and try to “fit in” by getting tattoos. I was told that tattoos are foolish spur-of-the-moment decisions made by people who just can’t think more than a day ahead, who will surely come to regret it. Slightly more open-minded people think that tattoos come in either “deep personal significance to the bearer that makes sense to me and hence I approve” or “stupid and bad decision”.
But really the most telling thing I’ve read today was about tattoo stigma in Japan. (I was quite concerned about whether I can visit an onsen if I got a tattoo.) Apparently, there is still stigma even though people know that tattoos are no longer just for criminals, because it is seen as “rejecting the mainstream”, which is bad.
Here’s an idea: what other people do with their bodies doesn’t have to make sense to you for it to make sense for them. Honestly, it is such a cishet dude phenomenon, to demand that people justify themselves to you and then declare that it makes no sense and is a stupid decision. Could it be that other people have different lived experiences and live in different worlds than you? Of course not, yours is the one true objective, neutral, sensible and most-mainstream worldview through which everything should be judged.
I know we live in different worlds because normies are always asking “WHYYY do you want a tattoo??” and expect a very good reason, while at this point I’m like, “why not? It’s nice.” Tattoos are nice. I know quite a few people who would get some if there was less stigma. Think of all the great art more people could have on them if they just stood up a bit to “peer pressure”. Somebody told me earlier today that he has no friends who has tattoos. Like, none. God it must be so boring to be straight.
I’m sorry that was a bit aggressive. People in marginalised sub-cultures don’t have a monopoly on being true to themselves despite social pressure, of course, though it certainly helps. People are constantly asking me “what next” with morbid curiosity. As in, “you got a nose ring and now you’re getting a tattoo, what edgy frightening thing will you do next?!??” If only they knew. I don’t usually tell people this but I plan to finally shuffle off this mortal coil and transcend my meat-casing to become more powerful than imaginable.
None of this was aimed at Imran actually, who is very sweet and really just wanted to know what I wanted to get. Heh sorry frond. I just wanted to say all this because while I love to talk about body mods and how I feel about them, I also feel like people who ask are usually like, “explain this so that I can decide whether I should be judgy or not”, which, hey, the answer is always no.