Tag Archives: Jesse James

Feminine Inking: On Women and Tattoos

8 Apr

The recent revelation of Jesse James’s infidelity against his wife, Sandra Bullock, has introduced the world to a tattooed lady named Michelle “Bombshell” McGee. If you have followed this story at all, you would know about the controversy being caused by McGee’s tattoos alone. Many have criticized McGee for her heavily tattooed body, but shouldn’t we be more concerned that she’s the type of woman to fuck your husband and sell the story to tabloids?

Kat Von D, pretty tattooed lady.

Where do conceptions about the “appropriateness” of tattoos on women come from? Notice that a lower back tattoo, once very popular among young women in the late ’90s/early ’00s, is now deemed a tramp stamp. If you get one of those, ladies, you’re just asking for it. And you know what “it” is. The stigma against women possessing large tattoos does not seem to affect men. When a man rolls up his sleeve to show you his tribute to Star Wars in the form of a Darth Vader tattoo, no one even seems to blink. A man with a tattoo is as masculine as the Marlboro man of yesteryear. But if a woman with a full colored sleeve of images that are probably meaningful for her walks into a crowded room, comments could range from, “Why would she ruin her skin like that?” or “She looks so trashy!” You get the idea. Tattoos reveal a double standard among genders, and as tattoos become more commonplace, women still seem to bear the brunt of tattoo criticism.

A recent conversation with the mother of one of my close friends revealed her disdain for tattoos on women. She told me about a woman she saw in 7-11 with a very shocking neck tattoo that read, “All Bitches Lie”. Okay, I’ll admit that getting “All Bitches Lie” tattooed on your neck over steps the boundaries of what might be appropriate to have tattooed on one’s neck, but maybe there’s a cool story behind it. Whenever I see a tattoo that catches my eye, I wonder what it was that prompted that person to get whatever it is permanently stabbed into their skin. I’m the owner of one tattoo – my astrological sign is on my right ankle – and I can assure you that years of thought went into this small tattoo. I’m currently considering another, but I will likely think about it for a while if it ever comes to fruition. I’m always impressed by those who can commit to large pieces on conspicuous areas of their body. I have an odd fascination with Kat Von D, a tattoo artist specializing in portraits and star of the TLC reality show, LA Ink. Kat Von D carries herself with the “Who gives a fuck?” attitude necessary to pull off large pieces of ink, and she’s gorgeous to boot. (Shameless promotion: Kat Von D has an awesome line of makeup at Sephora. You should try it.)

So what do you think about tattoos on women? Are they sexy? Are they inappropriate? What is it that causes someone to criticize what a woman does to her body? Perhaps it’s a conflict between the private and the public lives that women are expected to maintain. A woman is historically expected to appear chaste and respectable while in public, but in private, a man expects her to be a sexual firebomb. As Ludacris said, he wants “a lady in the street but a freak in the bed.” Tattoos are a very small part of this paradox, but relevant, nonetheless.

A woman whose name eludes me declared the following: “The difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is tattooed people don’t care if you have tattoos or not.” But if you’re tattooed, you probably don’t care what other people think of you anyway.