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Are tattooed women an affront to good men?

Probably not interested in dating dudes from The Spearhead

Newsflash from the frontlines of the gender war: Apparently some of the ladies are getting tattoos!

Luckily for us, The Spearhead is on the case. In a recent post titled “Ruminations from Seat 22D,” Spearhead guest poster Lyn87 reported on an encounter with one of these ghastly creatures:

I recently took a long trip for work and spent a lot of hours in the air. One of my fellow passengers really stood out in my mind: a 20-something lass a few rows ahead of me. She is a natural-born beauty in that “launch a thousand ships” kind of way – slim, near-perfect symmetrical features, piercing blue eyes, and a shapely body. She is, simply, stunning. But there’s more to this story than a retired soldier admiring an exquisite example of female flesh young enough to be my daughter.

Well, we’re off to a really creepy start here.

It was actually her tattoo that first caught my attention.

Oh, that’s where we’re going. This is going to be one of those “women with tattoos are whores” kind of story.

She was wearing a low-slung top that revealed a HUGE eagle inked across her chest and extending down under the front of her shirt. And then I noticed her hair – what little there was of it. I’ve always kept my hair short, even by military standards, and her hair was shorter than mine.

Tattoos and a short haircut! Excuse me for a moment; I think I’m getting the vapors.

Few things de-feminize a woman more than buzzing off her hair, which is why it is considered to be shameful in many societies. She was wearing ratty, ripped jeans and far too much costume jewelry.

I can’t believe we let women leave the house in such attire.

And then I noticed the piercings.

Not the piercings!

As I stood six inches behind her for several minutes waiting to de-plane I counted seven, and that was just what was visible. I wondered what else she had done to herself. A tramp-stamp is a given, but who knows what other “body art” was hidden out of my view.

We can only imagine. Some Matisse prints? A mural in the style of Diego Rivera? A reproduction of Michelangelo’s David? One of the plates from Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party?

[M]en like me, the kind of man women say they want – responsible, courteous, masculine, respectable, upwardly mobile – [avoid] women like her even as long-term girlfriends, let alone wives.

I’m pretty sure that women like her — or like most women — are not much interested in men who are not only old enough to be their father but who also read The Spearhead.

[I]a person goes to great lengths to project a certain persona, especially in a way designed to attract attention, it says something about him/her. I asked myself what would cause the stunningly-beautiful young woman on my flight – at the height of her Sexual Market Value – to do that to herself? Women dress for us, so what does she intend for us to infer? I’m easy? I’m rebellious? I can drink you under the table?

Maybe: “If you’re the sort of misogynist creep who’s going to jump to weird conclusions about my character based on my tattoos, my piercings, and even on the length of my fucking hair, and then write about it at length on a site overflowing with similarly misogynist creeps, I’d rather not have anything to do with you?”

But Lyn87 seems unable to understand why anyone would want to send such a message:

I can think of no message that her chosen facade would convey that would be in her long-term interest. In a few years after her looks fade she is likely to be just another tatted-up skank wondering where the good men are.

Wherever these “good men” are, I’m pretty sure they aren’t reading or writing for The Spearhead.

It didn’t have to be this way. In a different social environment a woman like her would have learned to be (gasp!) feminine. She would have observed the older women in her surroundings and absorbed benevolent patriarchy in the air she grew up breathing.

Oh lord.

With her beauty she could have married above her economic station and lived a comfortable life. We can’t know if she would have been happy, but she almost certainly would have had stability, security and comfort.

Hey, who needs happiness when you’ve got patriarchy!

But she doesn’t live in that society; she lives in a “Slut Walk” society, thanks to feminism. When she chose the “Suicide Girl” look nobody stopped her.

Um, who exactly is supposed to stop her from dressing and looking how she likes?

Now she has mutilated herself with enough ink and metal trinkets to repel the kind of man most likely to give her the life she wants, because no matter what she does to the outside of her body, she will eventually want what women have always wanted on the inside – stability, security and comfort.

Hmm. Could it be that she’s not actually interested in the life a man could “give her,” and perhaps more interested in the sort of life she can, you know, give herself?

The fruits of feminism: what a waste.

Only if you’re a narcissistic misogynist who thinks the world revolves around his preferences.

Next up on The Spearhead: Airline peanuts — Tool of they Gynofascist Matriarchy?

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hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Aren’t MRAs always going on about gold diggers and hypergamy? So why would her marrying up be a good thing? Their messages, they are mixed.

This old fart needs a reality check in so many ways.

Hi, I’m hellkell. I have tattoos, piercings, and I’m (gasp! horror!) married.

AbsintheDexterous
9 years ago

I’ve got short hair that I’m growing out, my ear piercings have closed, and no tattoos. I still wouldn’t want some creep leering at me or making my life decisions for me.

Airline peanuts — Tool of they Gynofascist Matriarchy?

Of course they are, David! It’s how we can kill all of those unsuspecting men with peanut allergies!

Little Mousling (@LittleMousling)

What really gets me is, did this guy not get the memo that practically all couples are dual-income these days? Even setting aside all the feminist aspects of that (women wanting our own livelihood, wanting security, wanting purpose), almost no one can afford to support someone else anymore. Wake up and smell the 99%, dude.

Also, just because it would piss him off, I really hope she plays for my team. The buzzcut is a pretty classic flagging choice, but then, this guy is probably on the “lesbians don’t exist” side.

Phoenix
9 years ago

I feel like I’ve read the first half of Lyn87’s post before, but I’m too lazy to google it. Who knows, though, after a while they all sound the same. Interesting that he doesn’t consider “happiness” as something important for women. Eh, she has a comfortable-enough life, who gives a shit about happiness, right? That explains so much…

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

Man, shit like this makes me wish my ink was visible upon casual meeting and that I’d never gotten rid of my nose ring. Le sigh.

Little Mousling (@LittleMousling)

Man, shit like this makes me wish my ink was visible upon casual meeting and that I’d never gotten rid of my nose ring. Le sigh.

Ditto. These are always the guys who make me want to put on ratty jeans, work boots, and something really bulky and concealing on top.

(Or maybe a suit. I’m pretty sure they’re not big fans of the professional-woman look, either.)

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

So what’s the over/under on Meller rolling in here all aflutter and exclamation pointed defending this gentleman’s femininity manifesto?

darksidecat
9 years ago

It’s men like this that make me understand a bit where the idea for lesbian seperatism came from (of course not all men are like that, which is why one shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here).

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

This piece is reminding me that I really want to get a tattoo, but I don’t have the money right now to get it done right. I want a snake curling around a staff, the medical symbol, but in an extremely naturalistic style, with the snake and staff looking like a real tree branch and identifiable species of snake.

If this ruins my chances with middle-aged misogynists who stare way too much at strangers on planes (how’d he see her body in this much detail if she was sitting ahead of him?) and constantly play the “women don’t appreciate nice guys like me, those fucking bitches” card, so be it. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

(Wow, there’s a subject way too advanced for the Spearhead: the idea that a woman might make an informed and deliberate decision to forgo conventional beauty, knowing that it will limit certain options, rather than just making some kind of tragic mistake.)

Finally, maybe he ought to consider that Suicide Girls is tremendously popular among men. It’s not exactly a feminist site.

Newt
Newt
9 years ago

I honestly don’t find tattoos on women to be very appealing and what the hell is wrong with that?!

Little Mousling (@LittleMousling)

I honestly don’t find tattoos on women to be very appealing and what the hell is wrong with that?!

Nothing*, as long as you recognize that women don’t get tattoos for (or in rejection of) your aesthetic appreciation.

*Okay, there might be some small-minded and/or classist things wrong with that, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

Newt – Nothing. I honestly don’t find very hairy men to be very appealing.

But I don’t go around demanding that complete fucking strangers shave their chests or that every man on Earth has to do it.

amandajane5
9 years ago

Look at her, being all young and at the height of her “Sexual Market Value” and not caring how she looks to dudes who admit to being old enough to be her father. My own personal father told me that I’d never get a job when I got a third ear piercing. I currently wear rings in seven of the eight, and when I was ranting about a new dress code at work to a co-worker that allowed no more than two piercings per ear, her husband (also a co-worker, and old enough to be my father) looked at me in surprise, and said he’d never realized I had my ears pierced more than once.

Of course, since I’m all subversive and stuff, I leave in my cartilage piercings and take out my traditional ones for official stuff. Heh.

hellkell
hellkell
9 years ago

Newt, there;s nothing wrong with not finding women with tattoos attractive, it’s when you start making assumptions based on the fact a woman has ink that’s the problem.

I don’t happen to find blond men all that attractive. I certainly don’t hate them for it or want them to do anything about it. Just not my thing.

Bostonian
Bostonian
9 years ago

So encouraging my daughters to get tattoos and piercings will help weed out old misogynists? I will let them know.

Bailey
9 years ago

If a man decides I’m somehow damaged or unappealing because I have visible tattoos, that’s their business, not mine. If my legitimate forms of self-expression can ward off MRAs without me having to even tell them to fuck off vocally? Automatic win.

Re: Newt’s comment – I’m perfectly fine with people who don’t appreciate my tattoos. I didn’t get them so that people would pay attention to me, I got them for me. They’re mine. The main difference between people with tattoos and people without them is that people who have tattoos could care less if you don’t have any.

Phoebe Fay
Phoebe Fay
9 years ago

I keep repeating the phrase “benevolent patriarchy in the air she grew up breathing” and it makes me giggle every time.

Also, the girl he described could have been my step-daughter a few years ago (long hair now). If I’d caught some old fart staring at her like that, he’d have been walking funny getting off that plane. (Ok. Not really. I’m non-violent. But I can do a good penis-shrinking nasty stare.)

Needless to say, her father and I are not concerned that her self-expression will damage her marriage marketability.

Harry 'Jesus' Crosby
9 years ago

dickheads like this make me wish i wasn’t a guy so i didn’t have to be associated with this crap.

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

Question: One of the women I work with has a woven bracelet of tiny purple flowers tattooed around her wrist. It’s extremely feminine and delicate.

Does this tattoo make her a repulsive man-hater?

Are we giving any points for content here?

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Damn, if only I’d known at that age that a few tattoos might make sexist old farts stop hitting on me…if it works I suggest we start making really convincing temporary tattoos available to every girl as soon as she hits puberty.

“Ditto. These are always the guys who make me want to put on ratty jeans, work boots, and something really bulky and concealing on top.

(Or maybe a suit. I’m pretty sure they’re not big fans of the professional-woman look, either.)”

I dunno, there’s a lot of fun to be had in embodying their idea of what a woman is “supposed” to look like and then scaring the crap out of them the moment you start talking and they realize you’re a feminist. This is particularly amusing if you’re wearing a pretty dress when you do it.

Seraph
Seraph
9 years ago

The most heavily tattooed woman I know owns her own tattoo parlor and art gallery. And is married. I think she has what she wants.

OSHIII
OSHIII
9 years ago

Airplane Woman acted as if she owned her own body, and went ahead and modded it to her preferences? Oh, heavens no!

And just how many women who dress “normally” have done TERRIBLE THINGS where you can’t see it? You could be riding on the bus right next to a gal who has Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” shaved into her landing strip!

And now I want one.

Little Mousling (@LittleMousling)

I dunno, there’s a lot of fun to be had in embodying their idea of what a woman is “supposed” to look like and then scaring the crap out of them the moment you start talking and they realize you’re a feminist.

True! I have a bright pink shirt that says “Radical Feminist” in script that can’t be read until you’re pretty close–I’ve seen a LOT of people doubletake at that. And there’s nothing quite as fun as having some macho dude see me on my bike in a skirt and assume I’ll be slow … and then racing past that guy and not looking back.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

I keep telling myself I’m gonna add to my tattoo but keep putting it off, if anything this makes me want to get it more, knowing it makes assholes like the OP uncomfortable.

This is also why sometimes I feel uncomfortable doing the super girly thing, because it actually makes these types of creeps happy, conforming to their standards of femininity. At the end of the day though it doesn’t matter what they think, I’ll dress and look how I want.

Haha Cassandra exactly, I have this pink dress that I should make a point to wear when discussing feminist issues.

ithiliana
9 years ago

I haz tattoos!

Rose vines twining around my left shoulder and arm (with THORNS ahahaha), and my online pseud in the Beleriand dialect of Tolkien’s Sindarin’s elvish on my right upper arm.

I’m planning more rose vines and a small black spider (a memorial) this year…..had to delay it because of house flood last spring.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

@ Quackers – I always think this when Meller starts ranting, actually. I’m petite with long hair and big boobs and feminine facial features – if he saw me in the street he’d probably think “how pettable”. Sucks for him that some of us can hide our spikes* until they’re needed.

*Quills? He seems to be obsessed with porcupines recently. What did those cute little critters ever do to him?

Lauralot
Lauralot
9 years ago

I wonder what the airplane guy’s standard for an appropriate hair length is. I mean, I was thinking about getting my hair feathered a la Luke Skywalker, but heaven forbid I attempt it if it means men who are old enough to be my father will disapprove.

Ponkz
Ponkz
9 years ago

I love how it doesn’t seem to occur to him for even a second that she most likely doesn’t give a flying fuck what he thinks of her…

I don’t have any tattoos – couldn’t afford it when I was younger and now that I can afford it, I feel like I’m too old (yeah, I’m only 28, not that old! :). Loveliest tattoo I ever saw was a girl I used to work with, who had a spray of cherry blossom right across her back. Utterly beautiful and very feminine.

My husband has many tattoos, but my favourite is the Shakespeare quote he has on his inner arm in honour of our favourite book.

“The moon’s an arrant thief, and her pale fire she snatches from the sun.”

Spearhafoc
9 years ago

Even if she is interested in men, and even if she got her tattoos to draw men’s attention towards her, she would be interested in getting men that like that sort of thing. There are plenty of them out there.

Personally, I must admit I have a sort of negative gut-reaction to tattoos and face piercings. To me, they really do severely take way from a woman’s attractiveness, particularly the type of chest tattoo he describes.

But so fucking what? Who gives a shit what I think about how they should look, dress or act? It’s none of my business … Except men who fasten the bottom button on single breasted jackets. Fuck those guys.

Spearhafoc
9 years ago

Also, wearing fedoras/trilbies backwards or to the side doesn’t make you look cool. It’s just douchey.

shaenon
9 years ago

Ah, I love my tattoo. I got it to commemorate finishing the comic strip I’d drawn for six years. It’s a pink heart on my left bicep (my drawing arm!). My husband held my hand while I got it.

I’ve thought of getting another one when I finish my current comic, but that won’t be for a long time.

Xtra
Xtra
9 years ago

“benevolent patriarchy in the air she grew up breathing”

There’s something worse than smog?

Magpie
Magpie
9 years ago

Don’t worry about being ‘too old’ to get a tattoo. If you’d got one when you were younger, you’d have it now, still, so it doesn’t matter when you get it.

Magpie
Magpie
9 years ago

Off topic. If there was an object way of meauring beauty, the unit of measurement would be the Millihelen – the exact amount of beauty needed to launch one ship. 🙂

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

@Cassandra- the great thing about that though is that it will probably make him even more uncomfortable knowing that feminism isn’t just something for hairy lesbians, even petite feminine women embrace it. It would blow his mind 😀

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

I’m a trap! Girly looking women who’re actually evil feminist shrikes, we’re everywhere!

Maybe if we freak him out enough he’ll go back to using his indignant sign-offs.

Magpie
Magpie
9 years ago

CassandraSays, if you hung around with a tattooed, hairy lesbian who is anti-feminist, you could really send them into a tizz 😉

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Can the anti-feminist lesbian be holding a really cute fluffy cat that growls and scratches when he tries to pet it?

Bee
Bee
9 years ago

But so fucking what? Who gives a shit what I think about how they should look, dress or act? It’s none of my business …

Well, and there you go. That’s the difference between acknowledging a preference and acting like women’s bodies are on display for your own personal pleasure.

So, our good friend Antz had this to say on the OP:

This is an internal debate within the feminist movement. The gist of the polemic is “should women be encouraged to exploit their appeal to influence men.”

Is this true? This seems … untrue.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

I always laugh when I imagine running into someone line the Meller-toad in analog. I can only imagine the cognitive dissonance that must set in for people whose view of the world is so skewed and limited that they believe, truly believe, that they can ascertain a person’s belief system from their clothing.

Suffice it to say, I present as pretty friggin’ feminine. I mean, my costume for Halloween this year is Carmen Jones and my sister joked that it’s barely a costume.

And tattoos are such a generational thing. I mean the thing that struck me, just as hard as the self centered presumptiveness, of the OP was how much he sounded like an old fogey.

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

This is gonna come out all weird, but as a short-haired, not at all feminine, not at all “alluring” feminist… I’d like to think I’m more than just a damaging stereotype.

I know you’re just funnin’, but some of us are fat hairy-legged manly feminists.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Sorry, Holly, not in any way meaning to imply that we don’t love and value feminists regardless of their choice of gender presentation, etc. I’m just trying to poke Meller to see if he can be persuaded to throw a tantrum.

Nobinayamu
Nobinayamu
9 years ago

Holly, I don’t think of you as a “damaging stereotype”. I think of you as a person who is dressing -as I hope everyone is- to please yourself. To hell with everyone else. And I hope that nothing written here makes you feel uncomfortable.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

Basically my point is that if you’re a guy like this, there is no safe space for you. Women who look soft and compliant will yell and you and call you an asshole, cute fluffy kittens might bite you – basically, there’s no way to get around the fact that other living creatures have free will. So, sucks to be a guy whose idea of utopia hinges on the existance of a class of being that exists purely in order to serve your will and make you happy, because it’s never going to happen.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

Holly, I’m feminine but certainly not petite. I think that this should prove to Meller and the rest of those idiots that actual feminists don’t fit the straw-feminist stereotype. If we are happy with how we choose to look regardless, that’s pretty much the antithesis of what the MRAs expect of women 😀

Holly Pervocracy
9 years ago

Sorry, had a moment of sensitivity. I do know what you’re saying about “MRAs can’t trust the girly ones” though, and I am amused by that.

I also think they can’t trust the huge number of women who don’t identify as feminist, but still know some bullshit when they see it.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
9 years ago

One might argue that the best thing about the MRA movement is how many women it may drive towards feminism purely because of how clear their babble makes it that we’re not even close to equal yet.

equivalenceprinciple
9 years ago

Wow! The amazingly egotistical assumption that his standards are universal just oooozes from Mr. Lyn87. I present in a fairly conventionally feminine, professional way now, and hide my ink, but i have always had short hair, and used to dress in not-feminine clothes specifically to NOT attract dudes like that.

Quackers
Quackers
9 years ago

Finding out about the MRA movement has made me even more of a feminist. I did question some aspects of feminism though, I do think that male DV could be handled better and am more attuned to sexism against men, however when they start spewing misogyny, downplay and outright deny the inequalities and sexism women face and have faced in the past and try to harm women by attacking services that help them…they just lose me after that. Its quite sad because I do think men have their own shit to deal with too, the MRA movement is just completely hostile though. Its not a movement brought together by men who want to help men and make the world a better place for all, its just a bunch of men who want to hate on women with other men who feel the same way.

Feminists and MRAs could work together by simply saying “hey, men have these problems, and women have those problems, how can we solve all these problems to benefit us all?”

Doubt that will ever happen though. Don’t even get me started on the homophobia either. Not one word on all the recent male teen suicides.

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