Does Tattoo Have a Sex?

jentheripper in Stories

Tattoo is mostly a male trade, with magazines full of lingerie-clad models who are supposed to have tattoos.

Vocabulary: handle this thing with care I’ve started writing on tattoos for a bit more than a year now and I’m really grateful for all the things I’ve learnt : most of them the hard way, through my mistakes. And I’m still learning. One of the most useful lesson was on the way you can use and misuse words. I’m French, and as a non English-speaker, I can see how a wrong word can hurt and I’ve already hurt readers with vocabulary mistakes.

And so I’ve realized that, sometimes, medias talking about tattoos were using inappropriate terms. The area where it is the most evident and painful for readers is gender and indeed the question of the image of feminity. On the captions of photos showing women with tattoos, there is more for her body than for the piece of art she’s wearing. That’s not offensive for me. But I understand it is for others.

This is a beautiful tattoo by Mirja Fenris, located Under the breasts.
This is a beautiful tattoo by Mirja Fenris, located Under the breasts.

We must not forget that we need to thanks women for the development of tattoo art and custom tattoo, as many veteran tattoo artists would tell you. And that now, many great artists are women and many clients and tattoo fans are also women. In the younger generation of tattoo artists and tattooed people, there is complete equality.

So, for the best of tattoo art’s future, let’s all take some time to think about the words we are using. This tattoo is under breasts, not under boobs. This flower tattoo is not girly, it is delicate, creative, aesthetically pleasing, etc. In short, let’s increase our vocabulary and try not to hurt feelings.

Model Elegy Ellem by Jenhell Photography.
Model Elegy Ellem by Jenhell Photography.

Recent from Stories

The Sex of Angels (and Tattoos) Talking of girly things. If tattoos are pink and with naive designs, there are going to please EVERY women, as if women couldn’t be attracted by the same art as men. And let me state two things : I’m not a feminist, and you will find those clichés in my first articles too. Yes, even if I am a woman : because it is the way the world is teaching us.

But my tastes on tattoos are never blatantly feminine, and I’ve read many readers’ comments with the same opinion. So, the question is : does tattoo have a sex ? And do we need to put female and male tattoos in different boxes ? « If you must define yourself by sorting yourself into a box, is gender the first one you choose ? » asks fantasy writer Robin Hobb. Nope.

Biomech for men and flowers for women. Is it that simple? Not at all! Photo by Quentin Deschamps (and top photo is by the same photographer).
Biomech for men and flowers for women. Is it that simple? Not at all! Photo by Quentin Deschamps (and top photo is by the same photographer).

Especially not when it comes to tattoo. Tattoo is your choice, no one has to discuss it. You want a so-called girlie tattoo ? Fine. You want a tattoo that, according to the world, is not coherent with your gender, race, public image, etc ? GOOD. Fuck them. Your tattoo has nothing to do with your genitals.

Tattoo is the most personal process existing. You get tattooed to get together with who you truly are, who you choose to be. Woman. Man. Both. In between. Something else. Just you. Not the haters.

Don't try to fit the shoes. The tattoo needs to fit you, not society's opinions. Photo by Paco Ferrer.
Don't try to fit the shoes. The tattoo needs to fit you, not society's opinions. Photo by Paco Ferrer.

Let’s talk about sex, baby But what about the women (and men, please don’t forget them) who choose to show their (tattooed) body ? And artists’ portfolios with naked clients ? I like to think that tattoo is similar to medicine : both are the closest possible to body as they are working with it. Tattoo and body are inseparable things.

The canvas can be part of the masterpiece : when covering a wall of paint, a street artist has to deal with accusations of vandalism, whatever the recognized aesthetic quality of his work. So, in the same manner, when tattooing a body, the tattoo artist has to deal with accusations of pornography when posting the pictures of his work on social networks. There are few parts of the body culturally acceptable to show in public, depending of cultures and modesty, but a tattoo is first a private choice.

Is the nudity of the model avoiding you to enjoy the quality and beauty of this tattoo by Nazareno Tubaro?
Is the nudity of the model avoiding you to enjoy the quality and beauty of this tattoo by Nazareno Tubaro?

When tattooing was considered underground, few people were seeing the work of the artist, but now, the whole world can see thanks to internet. Good ! « But hey, is this a butt crack I’m seeing here ? » Oh well… And indeed, this raised questions of censorship. Instead of avoiding the content they are unconfortable with, people are fighting it. But what about the artistic freedom of expression ? In most of the countries, women and men have the right to exhibit their bodies in the name of freedom, can we ask them to put clothes back on ?

Philosopher John Stuart Mill said « The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. » Is her or his pubic tattoo REALLY hurting your freedom’s right ? The reactions to naked tattooed models and naked clients in portfolios has to do with education, humor and aesthetic concerns. Her or his nudity is shocking you ? Close that page. As simple as that.

Tattoo is all about making people happy. Tattoo by Sky of L'Art du Point.
Tattoo is all about making people happy. Tattoo by Sky of L'Art du Point.

Peace, mutual love and tattoos Internet is a big public place with as many individualities as in real world. You need to make compromises, as you cannot satisfy everyone, there would still be someone to complain and hate. You need to find a happy medium by listening to all the point of views and try to see things by their eyes.

And remember : there are only tattoos here. And tattoos don’t have a sex, they are art, they are humanity. Thank you.

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

Follow

More from Author

We Recommend

Recent Staff Picks