Anyone with a tattoo, piercing, or even brightly coloured hair or make-up has likely heard their fair share of ridiculous questions and comments. Some are innocent enough – asking us what our tattoos mean to us, or whether that lip piercing hurt are understandable, I suppose. But there are a few common statements that get really old, really fast. Here are our top 5:
1. Aren’t you going to regret those when you’re older? On the outside, that may seem like a valid question. I must admit, I’ve silently asked it when seeing an 18 year old with a tarantula on his face, or a young woman with “HARD CORE” tattooed across her knuckles. And, you know what? Some people WILL regret them later. But that is their business, not anyone else’s, and it annoyingly presumes that everyone with a visible or controversial tattoo has failed to give it any thought, which I can assure you, is not true.
2. You’d look so much prettier without that. Pretty well every woman that has ever dared to get a facial piercing, tattoo, or dye her hair purple has heard this, more than once. Stop it. No, seriously, stop. Body-mods are about autonomy, not about conforming to someone else’s standards of beauty – we like the way we look with our tattoos and piercings and weird hair and make-up. If that’s not your thing, that’s ok, but it is ours, and that should be ok too.
3. Good luck getting a job! Yes, it’s certainly true that there are still some professions that frown upon visible mods, but that doesn’t make this statement any less obnoxious. It assumes far too much – that the person doesn’t currently have a good job, that they will eventually want a job in which mods won’t be permitted, that all professions worth having disallow mods, and that the person in question hasn’t already given that some thought.
4. Can I buy some pot? Okay, perhaps that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there is still a perception amongst some that heavily tattooed or alternative looking people are criminals, drug dealers, gang members, or just plain ol’ bad people. This stereotype has never been accurate, but it’s especially untrue and outdated now – the last few decades have seen huge strides in tattoo equipment/ink, piercing methods and jewelry, and artistic collaboration, allowing body-modification to grow into a more than legitimate art-form. We’re not criminals, we’re canvases.
5. Why would you do that to yourself? I think we’ve all encountered this person before, as well – the one who sees body-modification as mutilation or masochism, and thinks there must be something wrong with anyone who wants to do it. That a tattoo is a cry for help, that a facial piercing is a sign of low self-esteem, that a microdermal is some new-fangled form of torture. While, I suppose, from the outside looking in, it may seem a little odd to want a bunch of holes in your body, or some permanent images on your skin, it must be kept in mind that every style, every subculture, every clique, seems odd to someone. Odd needn’t mean negative, however – there’s no reason to believe we’re doing something bad just because it’s something you don’t understand.