Tattooed = Slutty? [The Publisher's Ring]

Tattooed = Slutty?

In advertising, sex sells... But only if you're selling sex.

- Jef I. Richards

A number of readers recently brought to my attention an opinion piece, “TATTOO MAMAS” by Michael Smerconish published in the Philadelphia Daily News, in which he says that at a bar he’d be more likely to hit on a tattooed woman because, to simplify his arguments, “tattooed chicks are sluts and he’s more likely to get some”. Now, even a cursory understanding of tattooed women makes it clear that his argument is bunk — it’s a common misconception by people with a shallow understanding of tattoo culture. But what I think it taps into is an intuition that tattooed women (and men) are hot and desirable. Because of that, some individuals attempting to promote the idea that they are sexually available will “advertise” with one or two small tattoos, generally at the base of the back or on the hip or pubic region — to generalize, have you ever notice that the most promiscuous tattooed women tend to be those with the least tattoos?

L-R: PiercedPuff (photo: Francis Hills), MiL0 (photo: Lee Higgs), FREE, Dunebug, and Princess Anna.
All modified and beautiful — not beauty because of their tattoos, but beauty expressed through their tattoos.

Everyone unavoidably advertises themselves sexually by their appearance — makeup, hairstyles, and choice of clothing being the most obvious examples, but body modifications play exactly the same role. However, there are two fundamental differences between the techniques. First, body modification is of course permanent, whereas fashion can be changed from day to day. That brings us to the second difference, which is that body modification uses the person themselves to advertise, whereas fashion is just a cover — more like holding up a sign or an obviously mocked-up photo, and I think that’s what makes people so drawn to tattooed individuals. A fashion victim holds up a sign that says “I’m sexually attractive”, whereas the modified individual, without any sign at all, is sexy.

In modern society we live in a world of lies — advertisers sell us products based on thirty seconds of deception, hiding that cigarettes will kill us, burgers and soft drinks will make us obese, and this car is better than that car. Governments sell us wars based on even larger lies, masking their greedy corporate sponsors in tall tales we all know are false — we know they’re untrue, and we hate them, but truth is so rare it almost seems unobtainable. As a society, we are desperate for something “real”, something we can confirm is not a lie, and something we know the person speaking to us actually believes. Tattoos offer that with their proof of commitment.

If a person gets all dolled up in their makeup and designer clothes, and goes out on the town to attract a mate, they’re not actually doing so on basis of who they are — they are doing so on the basis of how well they can disguise who they are and how well they can pretend to be something they may not be. They are competing to see who the best liar is. Who you actually wake up to, once the disguise is lifted, is a secondary issue, when in fact it should be the only issue. Tattooing of course is still a disguise, but it’s a disguise you can never take off. When a person chooses to present their identity using permanent body modification, they are inexorably changing who they are. They are becoming the ideal illusion, thereby making the illusion real.

That is, a modified individual, who goes into the procedures with a clear head and a clear goal, is able to rebirth themselves in what they perceive their best is. They become their own fantasy. Someone in fancy clothes simply pretends to be that way for a little while — they don’t actually become anything.

On the other hand, the modified individual who goes into the procedures without a clear head, or worse yet, a sense of self-hatred or poor self-esteem, potentially forever mars themselves by having created a less than ideal individual. That doesn’t mean they can’t reinvent and redeem themselves subsequently, but body modification brings mistakes that are permanent — leaving the person to build beauty on top of flaws. Of course, many people believe that true beauty is only achieved through the combination of a minor imperfection on unmarred beauty. We all know that it’s the small scar on the lip of a beautiful woman that makes her truly stunning… but that’s another subject that could cover an entire column.

In addition, as the world embraces tattooed women and men as beautiful in the mainstream sense of the word, it encourages a culture that values individual expression and unique beauty over a mass manufactured and “uniform”-based code of fashion that imprisons us. In a way, pornography has always been an indicator of the future; it is not only the first to embrace new technology, but the cultural sensibilities seen in porn almost always come to be accepted by the mainstream a decade later. BME/HARD of course exists far outside that world, but the explosive success of sites like Suicide Girls showcases the public’s desire to embrace a new and more “real” standard of Eros.

Above photos courtesy of

A widespread taste for pornography means that nature is alerting us to some threat of extinction.

- J.G. Ballard

My point though is that fashion is transient — the ability to excel at it simply implies the ability to lie well. In a world full of lies — lies begetting unimaginable pain — this is not what the world wants any more. The world wants and needs fashion that actually represents the individual in a permanent and intranssient sense. Body modification represents that need, and it is for this reason that tattooed women and men are far more beautiful than those without.

So are tattooed women slutty by default? Of course not — but they sure are hot.


Shannon Larratt

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

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