Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Interesting Question

So. The Soctopus had an interesting conversation today with a gentleman who had some things to say about tattoos in general, and women with tattoos in particular. Very interesting. The conversation raised a question I will put to you, internets, and I want your opinions and answers. Comments welcome, y'all.

What the conversation boiled down to was this gentleman's opinion that women with tattoos, particularly "sleeves" or heavy, serious ink, are somehow differentiating themselves as less educated, less attractive, and "loose." His opinion was that women with tattoos show poor judgement and a lack of self-respect. I countered his argument, using myself as an example: educated, graduated with honors, hold a management position in my chosen profession, and -ahem- attractive. He agreed that there are exceptions to his rules, but stood by his statements. The discussion was civil, but raised a lot of questions, first and foremost: is it discrimination to judge someone by their body art?

The obvious answer (and my gut-reaction) is "HELL YES!" If you judge me based on my tattoos, you are judging me based on my appearance, and making decisions about my character. This is, as we all can agree, inherently wrong-headed. However, the quandary is this: I am being judged based on a facet of my appearance that I chose to modify, which sets tattoo-based discrimination into a strange and unique category. The question I have is this: can it be considered discrimination when the judgement is made on an optional modification in appearance? In other words, I *chose* to be tattooed, and had complete control over it. I opted to modify my body in a permanent and visible way. Does that render me open to outside opinions and judgement, again, based solely on a facet of my appearance?

It's an interesting question, and one I've been thinking about. I welcome any and all comments and opinions, and am curious to see what you, faceless internet, think. My personal opinion is that most negative opinions around tattooed people have their roots in ignorance and bias, as well as long-held cultural stereotypes about people with tattoos. I believe it's time to judge someone based on their character more than their skin color (or colors, for those with body art). But then, I am someone with tattoos. So come on, internet! Let's have a discussion!

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