Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hope it's true

Body art now a big turn off despite celebrity ink, UMR Research shows

Lately, I have been noticing an increasing number of horrendous tattoos in the shopping centres, particularly on women.

God knows I would never defend tattooing on men either, but there are ways in which I can at least semi-rationalise male interest in them. (Men can be dumb, as well as immature and capable of only thinking as far ahead as next weekend; some feel a need to have a quasi-tribal identity, and to "prove" they can handle a degree of pain. But it's also probably a subconscious, artificial extension of the types of male sexual display found throughout nature.)

One would like to think that women are above those considerations, but the female tattoos increasingly on display show I am wrong. Congratulations young women: as with the abuse of alcohol, your feminist emancipation has dragged you down to the level of silly young men, not pulled them up to your level of smarts!

At first, decades ago now, the trend for women's tattoos seemed to be for ones that would be only seen by a lover. I guess that at least had some novelty factor about it, and gave a woman a secret with which to tease a drunk potential lover. (Although, of course, it's not as if said drunk needed that as an excuse to see her undressed anyway.)

But tattooing now appears anywhere on a woman, frequently on the forearms or neck, and is often as inane as anything a male may display. I recently spotted a woman in her late 50's with a blurry mess of ink on her shoulder with "Mum" in the middle. I'm sure her aged mother must have been chuffed.

Chinese characters that mean nothing to anyone viewing them is surely a fashion statement with a very limited life, and again one would have thought that women could think far enough ahead to realise that. Yet that is being spotted increasingly around town too.

Anyhow, the survey linked at the top apparently indicates that 56% of Australian men do not like tattoos on women. The figure rises to 63% for very sensible types (otherwise known as Coalition voters). Half of women feel the same about men's tattoos, which is consistent with my theory about allowances being made for men being men. On average, it seems only 7% actually find them attractive on the opposite sex, with (to some surprise) higher income earners liking them slightly more than those on lower income.

With figures like these you have to wonder why people bother. (Assuming of course that this survey was properly done and has valid results. I note that it did survey people up to the age of 70: it would be more interesting to know the figures just for those under, say, 35.) Here's one way of looking at it: maybe tattooed people are much more likely to only reproduce with a tattooed partner, and then in 15 years time teenage rebellion will mean they fall out of fashion again. Here's hoping.


Mercurius Aulicus said...

The apparent desire of many in our present degraded culture to engage in pointless acts of self-mutilation like tattoos or imbeding pieces of metal in their faces or bodies, or lengthening out their earlobes - fills me with horror and disgust.

What makes a woman decide "you know today I want to look like Queequeg or Chopper Read". All such things tell me is that the individual in question has poor decision-making skills and rather poor taste.

Where are the ladies who want to look like ladies - not vulgar beer-swilling dockworkers?

TimT said...

Reading this post my first thought was about a group I've seen twice on the Melbourne trams.

The guy had a shaved bald head and tattoos all over his skull and his arm. The girl had a leopard print dress and obviously died hair and probably a few tats as well. The first time I saw these people on the tram I didn't notice for about a minute that they also had a little girl with them, their daughter, about seven years old - whose most remarkable characteristic was that she had no remarkable characteristic.
No dyed hair.
No weird clothes (apart from her kiddy shoes with skull and crossbones on them).
Certainly no false tats or kiddy jewellery like some kids have.

In fact, she seemed determined to be ordinary. My guess is that despite her weird parents she'll grow up into quite a conservative person.

I don't mind a tattoo. I think of all the forms of bodily manipulation/mutation out there, it's definitely the least offensive. There's no requirement (as with some transgenders) that the very *language* that people speak and the laws that they live under be changed. It's not necessarily flamboyant or showy (a lot of people with tattoos have them under shirts most of the time). It doesn't seem to be attached to any form of psychological condition (as those people who amputate themselves for 'cosmetic' purposes clearly do.) And it's got a pretty clear aesthetic purpose, unlike, say, the ramblings of those such as Stelarc. And in general tattooed folks seem to have a 'my body, my choice' attitude, which strikes me as being pretty reconciliable with conservative thought.

TimT said...

Though I will concede there are obviously some tattooed folks who like to be showy and in your face.

And then, of course, there are the Picts...

Steve said...

Well, Tim, of course I take less offence at tattoos I can't see!

Mercurius Aulicus said...

On the other hand, I'm even more disgusted at Tattoos I cannot see.