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rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 8/9--Misc. info

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Top Document: rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 8/9--Misc. info
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While the bulk of this FAQ looks at tattoos and tattooing very
positively, I need to address the fact that tattooing can be used in
harmful, negative ways. If you have ever been forced to get a tattoo you
did not want, or had someone else take your idea or identity, this
section will be of particular interest to you. Particular thanks to
Michelle DeLio <> for assistance in this section.


"Rape by tattoo" by its definition means that someone violated you in a
personal way by using a tattoo as a weapon. This could be done in two
ways. One could be that you were forced to receive a tattoo you did not
want. The movie, _Tattoo_, carries this theme to the extreme, with an
obsessed tattoo artist kidnapping a professional model (Maude Adams) and
tattooing her while she is unconscious. The movie in fact, was boycotted
by some women's groups when it was first released.

While genital penetration may not be involved, involuntary tattooing is
an unpleasant experience for the recipient, and is very symbolic of the
use of a penetrating weapon to mark an indelible stain on the victim's

The second could happen when someone chooses to tattoo your name on
their body without your full permission and cooperation. Some may think,
"What's the problem? You should be flattered," However, those who have
had this happen to them have noted a profound sense of loss, that part
of their identity or soul was stolen from them. In one particular case,
a man surprised his girlfriend with a tattoo of her name on him, and
with it began the start of a stalking relationship that terrified her
for years in an obsessive/possessive situation involving domestic abuse.

I am hereby urging the strongest recommendation in the entire FAQ: If
you want the name of your loved one tattooed on your body or your loved
one wants one of your name, 150% open-hearted, voluntary permission must
be given by both parties as a prerequisite. (Exceptions made for names
of the deceased, or of famous people). There should be no "convincing"
or "talking into" involved. If there is the slightest hesitation, please
do not do this.

Those who wish to have their loved one represented in a tattoo should
instead use a symbolic object.


There are some lonely people in this world who enjoy inflicting pain on
their bodies (NOT to say all those who enjoy it are lonely!), or have
wish fulfillment dreams that they try to make come true with tattoos.
Michelle Delio tells the following story:

"Back when he was first starting out, Shotsie Gorman says a girl came
into shop--kind of shy and awkward--wanted a name tattooed around her
nipple. Shotsie tried to back off, feeling weird about this, but the
shop owner insisted.

"So Shotsie does the tattoo. He's almost finished when he says, 'Well
you and Xxxxxxxxxxx must have a really special relationship for you to
be getting this kind of tattoo, right?' The girl replies, 'He doesn't
even know I exist.' Shotsie said this made him physically ill. That was
the start of his personal ban on doing names/slogans, because he says
there's too much weirdness connected with it."


There are a couple of concerns with tattooing in the BDSM context.
First, there are many sanitation concerns with regard to tattooing, and
just as with piercing (either play piercing or "real" piercing) during a
scene, it is imperative that all sterilization procedures are correctly
followed. And because of the permanency of tattoos, things such as
designs, locations, and placement should be fully agreed upon prior to
the start of a scene. While this may take some of the spontaneity out of
things, it is a very important step that should not be omitted.
Recipients of the tattooing in a scene should be fully aware during the
procedure, and be able to safe-word out if the scene is not comfortable
for them.

Second (and within the frame of the "dark side" theme of this section)
there are some tops who extend the relationship with their bottoms
beyond scenes, and in some instances, bottoms may feel that they have no
choice but to be tattooed (or pierced, branded, etc.) by order of their

While persons may enlarge their relationship boundaries beyond the
actual scenes, it is important to make sure that such permanent things
as tattoos are still fully agreed upon. Just as safe words exist, a
bottom should still be feel comfortable when it comes to a decision to
receive a tattoo as part of the relationship.

The bottom should always have the final say in such matters, if only for
the fact that the relationship may not always last, and because body
modification affects people at very deep levels.


There are (primarily) women who have "Property of ______" tattooed on
their buttocks to show that they are "owned" by their partner. This has
been traditional with bikers. Some women have "Property of [name of the
club]" tattooed on themselves after they pass some sort of initiation
(which could be having sex with every member of the club) so they could
join the club (although many times, they join the club as a "hood
ornament" and not as full-fledged members with the same rank and status
of men).

Treating women as property is both degrading and insulting. It is also a
sad fact that some women feel that they are not worth as much without
this stamp of approval. Do women in these situations have the capacity
to know what "true consent" is?

Michelle DeLio tells the tale of one such woman, who broke up with one
man and married another: "As a sort of wedding present to her, they
dragged the girl to the local tattooist and they inked 'CANCELED' on her
butt in big black block letters, like a meat stamp (over her old
'Property of' tattoo)."


The popularity of primitive designs has led to people searching
anthropology books for cultural images for their tattoos. It is a very
bad idea to use sacred images of a culture to which you do not belong.
Using clan symbols, shields and other such images merely for visual
effect is nothing short of robbing the soul of a culture. On the other
hand, tattoos *inspired* by native iconography is both exciting and
respectful. Otherwise, make sure you can lay claim to the image by
checking your geneaology.

Also, remember that some cultures have an extensive tattoo history.
Beyond the images themselves, some tattoos, like the Maori moko, are
considered sacred and limited only to those who are allowed to wear
them. For the Maori, a foreigner who wears a moko without understanding
its significance, or receiving the proper blessings, is nothing short of
cultural robbery.

This topic was a very hot thread in RAB during the fall of 1995. There
were several differing opinions, but here are the general highlights:
o The use of icons and symbols is a real sore point for people of a 
  culture that considers the symbols sacred. Examples: Family crests, 
  patterns indicating geneaological lineage, and religious symbols.
o Many cultural images are not sacred or religious. These should be 
  available for use by those from other cultures.
o Many symbols of one culture are actually adaptations from other 
  cultures. From this standpoint, some people feel that the use of 
  cultural symbols should be okay.

Perhaps a compromise or middle ground is best in this situation. If you
are interested in a tattoo from another culture, it is suggested you:
o First check to see if the image is sacred, and whether "foreigners" 
  are allowed to wear the image. After all, if you desire to wear the 
  image because you respect it or the culture, the last thing you want 
  to do is offend the very people you look up to.
o If the wearing of the image requires some sort of blessing from a
  person from that culture, do some research as to how this could be
o Even if the image is not sacred, you should check with a person native
  to that culture to make sure the image looks correct. Example: 
  Japanese kanji characters.
o Above all, be respectful. Do a little research. If you find an image
  you like, try to learn a little bit about the culture and the image.
  Make sure you are not offending anyone with the tattoo idea you have.

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Aug 16, 2012 @ 12:00 am
I real to know much the history of tattoo, from the begin. Please send for me the all details/summary or imformation of tattoo. You can find me also on facebook as Toto mbata chico. Thank u

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