Diary of a Working Housewife: The Tattoo Stigma

A little history lesson: Tattoos are thought to have originated as far back as the days of the ancient Egyptians – as early as 2000 B.C. Over the centuries tattoos have been used as a way to pay homage to deities; as “stigmata” to designate membership in a specific religious sect; as a mark of heritage and ethnicity. They have been and continue to be a part of many, many cultures. So what gives? Why do some people choose to equate tattoos with the stereotype of the lower class and un-educated, those people who are unable to get a “real job”? Whatever that means. I’ve known CEOs, lawyers and doctors with tattoos, and I’ve also known mechanics, laborers and janitors with tattoos, and as far as they are concerned they all have “real jobs."

I would love to know your thoughts on this. I personally believe tattoos are a choice, a personal form of creative expression, and often can be works of art. Each tattoo that adorns an individual's body means something to that person, whether it's to indicate faith, hope, memory, envy, or just to induce a smile. Who are we to judge their choices?

Contemplating my next tattoo,

The Newly Employed Housewife

Site Reference: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/tattoo.html?c=y&page=1

I was recently at a party where I overheard someone say, “You know, like one of those girls that get a tattoo on her ankle, you know she will never get a real job." Wow, I couldn’t believe how pompous, ancient and judgmental this chick’s viewpoint was, and what’s worse were the nods of agreement around her. I mentally pictured the seahorse on my ankle lurking beneath my pant leg. Hmmm…what to do? So, I calmly raised the leg of my jean and said, “Like this one?” (I had to, I couldn’t help it), and walked away.

There were so many things wrong with her statement. I mean, first of all what is the stigma of an ankle tattoo (or any tattoo for that matter), and how exactly is a “real job” defined? I can’t believe that in a society that has made progress on much larger, more serious social issues like segregation, sexual orientation and the feminist movement,  there is still a stigma surrounding the creative expression of tattoos.

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