The Inevitable Question whether it’s said out loud or not…

Painted Ladies from 1907

Is “What does it mean?” Being a woman in my early, almost mid thirties  (actually if I’m honest) and having a sum total of 11 tattoos, and not small piddling ones mind you, the first thing I’m usually asked, is that. Others I know younger, older and of other gender have reported similar things. It is USUALLY asked by people who do not have tattoos. Or one strange little thing they got on their ankle when they were 16 back in the 80s, and they’ve forgotten why they did it , or the sting of it,  and then the dopamine release that comes after what really is minor surgery/torture that makes it so addictive.

I like tattoos.  I like Art. I have a degree in Fine art. I am an Artist. That is not to say Ive exhibited  anything since 2010.. but tattoos are referred to by their owners, when in a substantial quantity, as a “collection”. No different to that which a collector of art in frames or on paper or sculpture etc etc. might have. I wont list every form of media or I’ll be here all day.

Tattoos have been recorded to be at least 5,200 years old. They dug up some dude on the Austrian border who had knuckle tats. What a guy! Every Rockabilly hunk with a Quiff should be in awe… Before that they were recorded on the body of a  russian woman.. WOMAN! from about 2,000 years ago.  I wonder if she was asked what it meant, or conversely told… “I bet you regret that darlin'”  or” Hows that gonna look when youre 80?” …  nope!  She was a mother freaken Priestess.

Hmm.. perhaps therein lies the stigma. Woman with tattoos… she must know how to F*ck with your shit.

Her Ghostly reply , I like to think was: Well, Heres my 2,000 year old body… now you know. Still looking pre-tty good in the scheme of things.

What people who are ignorant of the facts don’t really understand is that while celebrity has made tattoos more popular (and blah blah freakin blah, every crap wanna be journo has had a stab at how they think they’re ugly, on the interwebs in an effort to boost their comments page) tattooing technology has progressed substantially in the last 10- 20 years at a guess.  Its not just because Angelina Jo-leg has a few, or Becks or whoever it may be this week. Its because there are some bloody good artists out there who can paint you like a canvas. The inks are brighter and the colours are amazing.

In Australia it is gaining huge popularity. Even though it is broadly thought of to be something bogans do. ( refer to previous post if you will)

Last Saturday I had the chance to get some new tattoos, thanks to the connection of a friend, whilst unabashedly on display at the Sydney Tattoo and Body art Expo. It was an experience to undergo something quite draining and time consuming while being surrounded.. mostly by…. bogans.  I have to concede that while there were a lot of cool folk, who I would consider cool in any case, there were, in fact 100s of Bogans wandering around.


Some getting stereotypical humming bird tattoos on their ankles, all the while chewing gum, mouth open and nervously giggling. Glancing at my half exposed arse and saying vague compliments such as ” I wish my legs were that good to get a tat there”  or ” How long have you been gettin it done for”  after four hours into my session, or ” I CAN’T keep my leg still mate!… every time ya put the needle on my leg just kicks the shit out of itself” But they were so happy with the result. who cares.

Then there’s the whole Bikie thing. Im not involved, and I dont think these days you need to be.

Once upon a time you only owned or worked in the tattoo industry if you were a member of a gang. It still happens a lot, there is plenty of politics, there are still shops getting blown up or shot up.  But its not the only way now.

The whole anti tattoo backlash is to be expected I suppose. As a First world society we tend to Shun and mock things that are different,  that we find threatening to our status quo. I still just struggle to come to terms with the notion that people think it is absolutely fine to blatantly discriminate against people who have them.  It isn’t like people who have them go around ranting that “Clean skins” are boring and have nothing to offer. That Clean skins will never advance up the corporate ladder, because “They wouldnt employ someone without tattoos”

Without wanting to put paid to this ridiculous concept I offer several links which filled me with rage.  Get over it. Nobody said you had to like anything.

Think Before you ink SMH

Some lame Forum that has a thread Women with tattoos are both stupid and ugly

But luckily for those who have a positive out look on life, there seem to be a lot less trolls on the good side of the web

Fuckyeah,girlswithtattoos Tumblr

Brutalgeneration Tumblr

and everywhere in the Hipster world there are tattooed folk a plenty… why I keep referring back to them I dont know.. but its become almost anthropology.

Hipster ladies of 2012

Tune in next time on Secret diary of a Cowgirl, and we’ll be discussing Porn stars. They have tattoos too!

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