Temporary Marking Power
Tattoos have a long history in anthropology and other studies of claims to identity, rebellion, and community. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, ancient women have a long history of being tattooed or marked similarly more than men, but was still quite common in both genders. However it has been seen as a rough or more masculine form of body art. I have researched and written on the topic of tattooing, specifically through a feminist lens, although I have still found tattoos to be risky for both genders but with varying degrees. Marking a woman’s body is a dangerous and undesirable choice, especially when still “mating” even by today’s standards. In the article, Tattooing: Mind, Body, and Spirit. The Inner Essence of the Art, author Frankie J. Johnson writes, “American tattooing is unique. Tattoos are images and literal interpretations of things.” Things we can buy, collect, and own. “The meaning of the act of tattooing is "inextricably linked" to the chosen image itself. Any permanent mark on the body signifies a person's separation from the mainstream of culture, and a tattoo can separate someone from society at large. Separation from society is a large factor in her (Bell’s) theory about tattoos and why people get them.” In today’s society you are special, just like everyone else. What can someone do to reclaim their individualism and personhood? Does permanent marking on your body lead to some sort of permanent independence in our society? If you know your body is on the market does a tattoo take it off the market? Is this anarchy?
Johnson goes on to quote multiple research answers for why people are getting tattoos. The typical answers of "expressing individuality, communicating rebellion, defining group membership, conveying spiritual meaning, or marking milestones such as life or death" along with “just wanting one” were given and expected. Women announced that it "helped them feel good, unique, and special" Maybe tattoos have no longer become a form of rebellion but rather a desire for creative expression. With so much focus on corporations, stocks, and capital it’s no wonder many are looking for a personal creative outlet. I like the idea of taking my tattoo, which has great importance to me, and something I chose for my body to then repeat onto others bodies. By having this similar mark and placement I will be in a way discussing the idea of community, identities and claiming other bodies. Many groups still want their bodies to be radical public vessels, the idea that the body can be seen as a source of discovery and reapportion is both fascinating and powerful.