Tuesday, May 22, 2012
You'd Be a Lot Prettier If...
Tattoos are an interesting thing. Long considered taboo, they are becoming a more and more commonplace form of self-expression. They are self histories. They pay homage. They are art. They are stories. They are conversation pieces.
As I only have two small ones myself, I don't experience any tattoo hate, but I am regularly asked what they mean. I like talking about them. They are a part of my body and adornments through which I have chosen to express myself. Several of my friends and coworkers have large, beautiful tattoos which they consider central to who they are. So I can only imagine how insulting it would be to have this very personal choice critiqued. In fact, it reminds me of another extremely common statement: "she'd be a lot prettier if she lost some weight."
All I'm saying is that I fail to see what we gain from our tendency to buy into a very narrow, limited notion of beauty. The more I think about it, the madder I get at just how many people it leaves out. And I think it's pretty obvious that reducing a woman's worth to her physical appearance is extremely problematic. Not only is it objectifying when it's done to you, but it can have a devastating effect on one's self esteem, when internalized. Especially given that even the "prettiest" models are so heavily photoshopped that they don't look like themselves.
Besides, things like self-expression and our bodies are deeply personal decisions. If you don't like the way a person looks--be it because she has too many tattoos or pounds for your taste--here's a novel thought: keep your opinions to yourself. Chances are she's not doing it for you anyway.