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Tattoo Snobbery Has Misogynist Roots: This is My Shame

This is the face of a recovering tattoo snob. If I could change one aspect of my personality, it would probably be my guttural reaction to bad body art.

"Your attitude is as sh**ty as your tattoos" is something I've said, both in real life and online. Is it something I'm proud of? Absolutely not . That phrase, and my snobbery towards body art in general, is something that provides me with a large amount of shame.

This is partially because it's simply mean; and partially because of tattoo snobbery's misogynist roots.

The best source I could find online that explains tattoo snobbery's misogynist roots is this article by Friday Jones, a female tattoo artist with over 20 years of experience. In this article, she explains how many tattoo artists loathe tattooing symbols like this;


while simultaneously mocking individuals who wear them. The overwhelming majority of individuals who wear symbols like the one pictured above are women.

Friday notes:

"I bring this up because there has been a loud and rancorous poo-pooing of this simple money-earner from tattooers (alright, mostly men) that seem to think this particular gig is beneath them. The trouble stems from the fact that most American tattoo collectors are women (choosing simple images with great personal meaning), and most American tattoo artists are men (preferring to do complicated images often with little or no personal meaning)."

I had never thought of my tattoo snobbery as being misogynist before reading this article by Friday. Certainly I was "above" plebeians with infinity symbols, having individual art sketched just for me, wasn't I? Silhouetted birds, feathers, and single words were for chumps! If a person had a poorly done traditional tattoo with terrible line work, I'd scoff at them.

How wrong I was, and am. Friday doesn't go into this in depth in her blog post, but I believe tattoo snobbery has privileged and potentially classicist roots as well. "Good" and extensive tattooing is expensive, just the fact I was (and am able) to afford all the work I have had (and will be) getting done is a mark of privilege.

If I told myself that I no longer think this way on occasion, I wouldn't be honest. That being said, this less than laudable personality trait is something that I am earnestly trying to work on in my feminist journey.

Because thoughts and sentiments like that are worse than any collection of "bad" tattoos.

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