Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reevaluating what is Considered "Feminine"

Lately, I've seen more and more positive images of heavily-tattooed women in the media. What really got me thinking about this topic was the Motorola Moto X commercial that shows (at right) a woman with a full sleeve. While we can't see her face, we have peeks of femininity in her hair, the polish on her nails.There's another commercial I've seen (I couldn't find a still of it) encouraging people to shop local for the holidays, and there, in one scene, is another sleeved girl, a trendy, arty shop owner with her wares. All too often, the stereotype surrounding heavily tattooed women has been that "women with tattoos... are promiscuous....If a women [sic] does have a tattoo its is suppose to be easily hidden and look 'feminine' such as a dolphin or a butterfly. Women with darker such as a black and grey piece are considered to look manlier." Thankfully, media is starting to portray heavily tattooed women in a much better and kinder light.

I remember, in a recent marathon of LA Ink I indulged in on Netflix, that Kat Von D mentioned something about being heavily tattooed and still being feminine and soft. I really wish I could find the quote (the only thing people seem to want to quote by her is something about every tattoo having a story, which is so cliche. Meh.) because it stood out to me and it was something she mentioned several times on the show. But it's true; if you look at Kat, you see an incredibly feminine woman, not some butch biker chick. This is important. It's no one's business what you put on your body, but the negative stereotypes and body shaming need to stop. Women with lots of tattoos are beautiful and feminine.
 I  personally can't wait to be heavily tattooed (maybe not quite to the same scale as Kat, but I plan on having both arms, a full back, both ribs, and my legs/feet done at some point) and wear them proudly. I wear the ones I have proudly already. Does it diminish my femininity or my ability to do my job? Not at all. A mother with tattoos is no less feminine or a mother for having them. And insert that statement for a woman of any profession, art, or skill. Will I cover my sleeve when I get married? Hell no! I look forward to being a tattooed bride; my own confidence in being a woman will shine through and the tattoos are just a (very expensive) accoutrement to the whole ensemble.

I'm up to an (incomplete) half sleeve now. Another crow, and more lilies. And FYI, getting your armpit tattooed hurts. A lot.

He's going to be painful to fill in...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today, Planned Parenthood encouraged women to share why they're thankful for birth control. This is something that I take personally, so let me list why I appreciate my birth control:

1. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, my birth control pills are free. Without it, they would be close to $100 for a 3-month supply. While I have a good job, I wouldn't be able to afford that. And when I get the opportunity to revisit the conversation with my doctor, my sterilization will be 100% covered.

2. Thanks to my birth control, I am not burdened with children that I a) can't afford to take care of, b) do not want, and c) would probably abuse (It takes a lot of self-awareness to understand this about yourself, and I don't think less of myself for coming to this realization).

3. Thanks to my birth control, I have and can focus on a job I really love.

4. Thanks to my birth control, I don't worry about adding to the staggering amount of people at risk for heart disease in my family (along with mental illness and cancer).

5. Thanks to birth control, I can travel whenever I want to, without having to make any extra plans except for making sure my cats have sufficient food and water. I can go to adult-friendly places and eat at kid-unfriendly restaurants.

6. Thanks to birth control, I can be as selfish as I want to be. I can have nice things and eat ice cream for dinner without having to set an example or share. I don't have to share my video games.

7. Thanks to birth control, I can save money to become more financially stable.

8. Thanks to birth control, I don't have to watch my fucking mouth or save naughty movies for late at night.
9. Thanks to birth cntrol, I can be empowered as a woman to make my own health choices.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Time to Censor Censorship

As far back as I can remember, I have had a book in my hand. Around the age of ten, I started reading my mother's Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and John Saul books. I watched HBO and The Movie Channel late at night unsupervised. When questioned about my reading material, my mother would respond with "she understands what she is reading." And I did. I was emotionally mature enough to understand what I was reading and anything that I didn't understand, whether it be words I was unfamiliar with or situations I just had no frame of reference for, I asked. This is how I grew up. While my parents didn't share my musical tastes, they never told me I couldn't listen to a certain genre or band, didn't make me cover my eyes during scenes of nudity in movies. My parents didn't believe in censoring me, or censorship in general.

Growing up like this, it was always a shock to go to friends' houses where censorship was present, where certain types of music were verboten to the point where CDs were confiscated from bedrooms during school or outings (even after the age of 18). I didn't understand why the coddling was necessary; wasn't their child going to get the literature/music/movie/whatever outside of the home?

I often see on Goodreads threads that start out "what age is appropriate?" when it comes to books, especially the classics. There really isn't such a thing as an appropriate age for a book, in my opinion. The appropriate age is when the child is emotionally ready to read it. Granted, emotional maturation usually follows a certain steady path, but others (like myself) mature earlier than others, or have a higher reading level than other children. If a child is intellectually curious enough to read a book on their own, they're going to ask questions if they don't understand-- it's part of that whole "intellectual curiosity" thing.

On a separate note, a pet peeve of mine: I don't understand people who self-censor, especially in social media. As an educated, intelligent woman, I am a huge advocate of swearing, and nothing makes me grind my teeth more than seeing someone write something like "f@%k" instead of flat-out saying "fuck." What the hell is the point? Who are you protecting? If you're too offended to even write out the word, then why even try to use it in your vernacular? In my mind, words like fuck, shit, piss, cunt, hell, and damn are far less offensive than nigger, fag, dyke, spic, and chink. "Swear" words are, at face value, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and nouns, whereas the slurs are deliberately used for hate. If you're going to censor anything, check yourself next time you pass on the latest hate speech disguised as a joke.

Censoring ourselves and what our kids are reading, watching on TV, or listening to for music is like saying "I'm okay with being a mindless robot," because really, it's taking away a certain aspect of creativity, independent thought, and passion from our lives. Some people make the argument that swearing is coarse language that is never necessary but I feel that powerful words, placed with strategy in an impassioned speech or even song can deliver so much impact to the listener.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So, Why the Crows?

The subject of my latest tattoo

I get it all the time: "So what's the deal with all the crows?" I guess it's a reasonable question. My tattoos are all crow-themed, I dressed as a crow this Halloween, I keep a crow feather on my fridge, and I have lots of crow stuff at home and in my office. There's even a crow as the background of my phone. So why do I love them? Well, corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, etc.) are incredibly intelligent and have been known to use tools and complex forms of communication. They can also be taught to talk (Julian the raven is the most adorable thing, ever).

I've always had a connection to crows and ravens, and in fact in my youth when I would potentially be late for school due to oversleeping, the crows would start outside my window and wake me. Naturally, I identified with the birds and eventually recognized them as my animal/spirit guide. I couldn't live in a place where there was no crows, it would just feel wrong. Seeing them makes me happy, and listening to them calms me.They are truly amazing creatures with an unfair reputation built by centuries of fear and lack of understanding.

The tattoo version of the above picture