Re: mutilation and ritual

Beth E. Kaminow (kaminow@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Sun, 7 Jul 1996 10:21:33 -0400

There are several other groups that put out tattoo magazines which=20
supports an idea I have just started thinking about in relation to this=20
topic and actually sort of fits in well with the Re/search *Modern=20
Primitives*; that is, there are several subcultures with their own=20
rituals associated with tattoos here in the States (sorry for the run-on,=
I just finished a French translation class, gusee it wore off a little),=20
that one could loosely associate sith "tribes." In fact, come to think=20
of it, one of my favorite informants used that analogy throughout her=20
interview...She was one of the few people I spoke with who had a tattoo=20
that couldn't be easily hidden (it was on her scalp). She also had=20
numerous piercings on her face (and everywhere) before the real=20
popularity of this form of body adornment took off. She said that part=20
of the reason she did this was to disassociate herself with one "type of=20
person" and assosiate herself with another, on a physical level. This=20
was only one reason for her work but it fits well with the idea here. =20
Another group that puts out mags on tattoos is DE Hardy productions. =20
Hardy, and other tattooists like him are a little more accademically=20
inclined and focus on multicultural ideas about tattoos. There is also a=
full on accademic contingency out there; Clinton Sanders, Steward, Arnold=
Rubin (who died a little while ago) who are tattooed and interested in=20
marrying their personal love with professional work. Nedra's work seems=20
to represent another group, there are the kids who get a bunch because=20
its trendy and aesthetically appealing, people like my informant who have=
a political agenda...I think its importnat to talk about these=20
subcultures separately.

I guess I've ranted a tad but I just love thinking about this subject...