I think body art is one of the most interesting forms of self-expression. I have tattoos. I went under the gun for the first time on my 18th birthday for no other reason than to defy my father’s forbidding. I still remember going to his job and lifting the back of my shirt to reveal the Chines characters covered by Saran wrap. He was not happy at all. I’ve been on the receiving end of the tattoo gun five more times since July, 16 six years ago. I’m not finished. Although every piece has a very different meaning to me, what I love the most about my body are is the placement. None of my tattoos are visible unless I want them showing.
There seems to be a set of universal tattoo stereotypes. I don’t know where or when they originated, but most people follow the same code of what certain body placement means. More specifically, everyone believes that there are a few areas on a woman’s body that define they as a “bird” (hoodrat, hooch, project b*&ch) when covered with a tattoo.
I don’t have tattoos in any of those places, not because I’m afraid to be labeled a bird, because those aren’t areas that I want inked. I don’t make it a point to judge people on where and what they’ve decided to get tattoos. I do, however, have one huge pet peeve. I can’t stand when people flap their lips about others with tattoos that they deem to be in unprofessional or “bird” areas when they are the owner of body are in an equally unprofessional area. I hear colorful commentary from my peers, mostly women, who are at full-time professional jobs all the time.
“I would never get a tattoo on my neck, shoulder or upper back. That’s so unprofessional. I won’t able to wear certain kinds of gowns to dinners and galas.”
“A tattoo on my wrist? I can’t hide that every day at work!”
These same women leave out of your neighborhood tattoo parlor with some huge piece of art going down the inside of their arm, along the top of their shoulder, or on their ankle when they wear skirts every day to work. All these are places that aren’t very easy to hide every single day in every single season. Men have arm sleeves that stop right above their wrists, and I’m assuming that they aren’t going to spend the rest of their lives wearing long-sleeved shirts to work every day.
I say everyone get body are wherever they would like on their body. I could decide one day that I want to sleeve my entire arm, an idea that may become a reality when I reach the point where I never have to work a job in Corporate America ever again. So what. It will not change the way that I conduct myself in a professional setting. And what in the world is a “professional” tattoo anyway?