Re: Tattoo

Jessica Maloney (23jess@UCLINK.BERKELEY.EDU)
Thu, 2 Jun 1994 18:00:22 -0800

>I lost the last week's worth of mail so I don't know if an actual discussion
>was going on the subject, but: Here in the SF Bay Area tattooing has been a
>female empowerment tool for several years, incredibly popular in the past 5 yr
>as a form of self expression and identity protection against a homogenizing
>and nihilistic American culture... As an anthropology student at Berkeley I
>wrote a few (pretty damned comprehensive, broad based and detailed in the
>emic) papers on tattoos, tattooing and being tattooed. I got my first tattoo
>at 15 as a punk rock runaway in San Francisco, am now 24 and trying to draw
>together my 11 tattoos into one big glorious piece. Most of my work is of
>symbols from other cultures (pyramid, eye of horus, Haida totem, datura
>flower, Mayan death's head, Aztec style iguana, etc), my first piece
>representative of my own culture is a blade of celtic knots on my spine...
>Oh- I am female. I know over a hundred tattoo artists, probably 5 of them
>women. They make up in quality and intensity and accessibility what they lack
>in quantity. See Jamie in "Marks of Civilization...."
>My fiance's first tattoo (the most special, a sort of initiation for tattooed
>people) is our engagement tattoo.
>I'm just contributing to the thread of respondants to the tattoo discussion-
>I'd love to share some of my actual research into the history of American
>tattooing if anyone is interested- won't post to the list as it takes up
>I can reccommend several great artists for anthros touring the Bay Area!
>>For what it's worth, my wife and I both got tattoos last year as a symbol
>>on our life long bond to each other. She had never considered getting one
>>before she married me. She was 29 when she did. I had considered one
>>before, when I was 19 and in the Marine Corps, but didn't until I was 35.
>>I'm not in a position to generalize about why people get tattoos. I have
>>noticed alot of young women with tattoos, however. Last week, while I
>>was getting my second one, more than half of the people walking in and
>>looking at the samples were female. All of the tattoo artists I have
>>met, 11 total, have all been male.
>>I hope this helps get the discussion going.