Full Coverage: Links From All Over (July 23, 2009)

[Boston Herald] Hey, what’s in the news, hmm? Turns out that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is well upon its way to instituting formal regulations on body piercing—rules that, apparently, do not currently exist. They actually seem pretty reasonable, though! Rep. Bruce Ayers (seen in the video on the right) sponsored the bill, which prohibits people under the age of 18 from getting pierced without being accompanied by a parent (ear piercings excluded) and seeks to establish rules regarding cleanliness within shops, which, hey, that’s a good thing. Ayers is a decent chap, by the sounds of things; he makes it very clear that there are body piercing shops that are setting a fine example, and that the goal of these new regulations will not be to marginalize or restrict body art and its practitioners and clients in any way, but rather to ensure that these things are done safely and responsibly. The anchor even plays devil’s advocate and poses the question of how he would respond to people who would reject the age restriction on the basis that the government shouldn’t play a role in telling citizens what to do with their bodies, and even then, he’s convincing enough about not wanting to impose any sort of “nanny state.” The interview is certainly worth a look.

What we’ve linked above, however, is one of your common hilarious editorials about people just freakin’ the hell out when their little demon children coming strolling in the door covered in satanic metals and such. Take it away, columnist Margery Eagan!

When Adam Femino, 23, came home with his latest body art – ear “plugs” that can stretch earlobes to the size of dinner plates – his mother “started to cry.”

The fashion forward might say his plugs, a modest half inch or so, nicely complement his Mohawk and his huge, black FEMINO tattoo dominating his upper arm. Femino says, removing the plugs to reveal an empty cylindrical hole in his lobe, like a mini Ted Williams Tunnel, proved too much for mom.

It’s for the sake of Adam’s mom, and moms everywhere, that I hope state Rep. Bruce Ayers finally gets somewhere today with legislation to outlaw body piercing on anyone under 18 unless accompanied by a parent.

Ha ha, this “Adam” guy sounds like a real weirdo, huh? The circus is that way, crazy! But really, here is a 23-year-old man who has some stretched lobes, and this happens to be the case to which the author chooses to refer when discussing a bill that will restrict body piercing to those under 18 years of age (without a parent present), excluding ear piercings, which are the only piercings the above mentioned scoundrel seems to have. So far, so good! So, so good.

[Consider] this. Almost nobody over 40 has pierced anything save ears, discreetly. Aged 26 to 40? Twenty-two percent have pierced nipples, tongues, whatever. Aged 18 to 25? The numbers rise to 30 percent. And those numbers are three years old, but the latest available from the Pew Research people.

Look around your local high school. It’s an epidemic. Look at your own teenagers. Who knows what dastardly plot they’re hatching?

First of all, nobody over 40 ever gets pierced because, gross, right? Keep your clothes on, grandpa! (We kid, we kid.) Anyway, the last part is very true. If your kids have or want or have ever even thought about body piercings, the least you can do is check their rooms for trenchcoats and bombs and Barack Obama’s hidden birth certificate. It’s for the good of the land!

Ayers said yesterday he does not propose regulating ear “plugs.” So no matter what happens today, we’ll continue enduring those 45 rpm-sized holes in the lobes of skinny, young artists dressed in black, cashiers at Whole Foods and anyone “expressing their individuality,” as Eric Leger, 32, of Hopedale said yesterday. He’s the father of five. He insists his “plugs” and skull tattoos have cramped neither his fathering nor his work as a property manager.

Clearly, he is a liar and thoroughly unfit to father his five (!) children. Someone please tell him to surrender these youngsters to the state, at which point they will be handed over to our fair lady Margery here who will raise them with the proper respect for authority, so as to ensure they do not let their damn earlobes dangle like some filthy stripper’s nipple tassels, which is just not the sort of thing anyone needs to see when they’re grocery shopping.

[Dallas News] Looks like Massachusetts isn’t the only place trying its hand at instituting fancy new regulations! Turns out that the Dallas Police Department is tired of its esteemed police officers looking like common thugs, and is telling its employees that visible tattoos aren’t part of the damn uniform.

The next time you see a Dallas police officer wearing a long-sleeved shirt when it’s hotter than a furnace outside, it may be because he or she is hiding something.

A tattoo.

The department is planning to require police officers to cover up their tattoos, even if it means wearing makeup or a skin-colored patch over a hard-to-obscure place such as the neck or wrist.

“A lot of officers are coming in with tattoos,” said Lt. Andrew Harvey, a police spokesman.

“It’s more normal now than it ever has been,” he said but added that the department wants officers “to display a more professional image.”

Luckily, up here in the wintry north, our officers are free to get tattooed to their hearts’ content, seeing as it is a vast icy tundra where people are discouraged from leaving their homes without several thermal layers, a Gortex-brand jacket and the carcass of a freshly slaughtered Tan-Tan. Dallas, however, is a sweltering sweat-bucket where “Naked Days” are held several times a summer, just to make sure everybody doesn’t die. Now, tattooed police will be the first to go.

Officer Nick Novello has four tattoos on his arms, including an American Indian on his right forearm that was there when he was hired by the city in 1982. He said he believes the department should consider grandfathering in current officers and thinks it’s a mistake to have an across-the-board policy.

“If I got hired in 1982 and had that tattoo on my forearm, how can you expect me to cover my tattoo up in 2009?” Novello asked. “If you have to cover up your arms, they’re going to have a lot of problems staying hydrated. You put a guy in long sleeves and he’s not going out of the car unless it’s an absolute emergency” during the hot summer months.

Novello, who also has an eagle bursting out of an American flag on his left arm, said he can understand requiring officers to cover up tattoos if they are offensive in some way.

“In culture at large, tattoos are extremely prevalent,” he said. “We’re not divorced from society at large.”

This seems like a reasonable solution—some sort of grandfather policy would surely need to be put into place, unless the DPD really wants to be a bunch of pricks. It makes perfect sense to want your police officers to abide by a certain sense of decorum, and “inappropriate” tattoos should surely be discouraged or left covered, but are you really going to tell a 20-plus-year veteran of the force with an American flag tattoo to shut it down and wear a goddamn snowsuit in the middle of a Texas summer? Come on now.

Tattoo Hollywood, BME’s first tattoo convention, is coming to Los Angeles from August 21-23, featuring contests, prizes and some of the best artists from around the world! Click here for more information.

26 thoughts on “Full Coverage: Links From All Over (July 23, 2009)

  1. “we’ll continue enduring those 45 rpm-sized holes in the lobes of skinny, young artists dressed in black, cashiers at Whole Foods and anyone “expressing their individuality,” ”
    seriously? does this woman think it’s her right to decide what’s acceptable to do to your body and what isn’t? So much even that a law should be passed that limits ear stretching because it offends her so much? give me a break lady. I’m pretty sure your ignorance and immaturity are way more unattractive to me than my body modification is to you.

  2. I completely agree with what’s discussed in the video. Regulating that any body modification studio is taking proper care of their shops, materials, and customers is something QUITE a few shops need. With all the horror stories posted on BME about improper jewelry, not sterilizing materials, dirty shops, 14 year olds getting pierced and tattooed etc., I can’t see why implementing certain rules and regulations could be a bad thing!

  3. The regulations proposed are quite reasonable. It seems amazing to me that there aren’t any hygiene regulations in place already, we have them for most everywhere else that infection is a concern like hospitals, restaurants, etc (probably already in place for tattoos).

    As for the Dallas PD, they’re being ridiculous. Grandfather in the officers that already have them if they have to have this rule and put in place some process for giving certain officers exemptions (undercover cops for example).

  4. i originally opposed this before i saw the video but now i agree with it. i am a piercer and i get a lot of shitty jobs coming in to get there piercing fixed or removed. i think there should be requirements so that all the hack shops can get the fuck out of the industry and stay out.

  5. Id just like to say that probably the majority of the genital piercings i do, a good number of noses and navels are older women. plenty of older people(40 and over) are getting pierced these days!!! They probably just arent talking about it as much.

  6. It seems like he bypassed the whole “telling people what to do with their bodies” issue by just reiterating shop regulations. & that columnist is highly one sided.

  7. And I have to say, the comments are pretty disgusting. I really love how many people seem to think it’s perfectly fine to be ignorant and prejudiced toward the modified community.


  9. I hate to agree with the screamer above me, but I do.
    We hardly act like a unified community, rejecting certain tattoos or concepts because they are not beautiful or because they do not agree with our definition of body modification. I don’t know how often we call people ‘plain skin’ any more, but it’s just the same as when they call us freaks, degenerates, and so on.

  10. It still boggles my mind that tattoo ink ingredients and body jewellery – INCLUDING regular earlobe piercing jewellery – aren’t federally regulated by the FDA. It’s stuff that is implanted under the skin, not like cosmetics or regular jewellery. People can react to allergens or actual toxins in those, and those are just worn topically. The fact that safety standards don’t exist for tattoo ink and body jewellery and we don’t have access to the ingredient lists hurts _us_, the “modified community”.

    But yeah, what everybody else said about that one columnist being a dumbo ^_^

    As for the police officers, maybe they could put concealer over their lower arm tattoos while on duty?

  11. Here’s the deal, piercings and tattoos. Cheap work isn’t good, good work isn’t cheap if the state is worried about infection and diseases in young adults, then why do STD run rampant? If they’re worried about sanitary conditions why do you see garbage in the streets and shopping carts in rivers. If they’re worried about people getting sick from being pierced in an unsanitary environment, don’t make a bill to bump the age of conscent to 18. Make it manditory that all parlors use autoclaves and presealed equipment. If the state of Massachussets is really worried about dirty needles then pass a bill that that makes heroin illegal. They have. The fact of the matter is they’re gunning for the wrong target. It’s not the kids that are fucking up. It’s the kids that make the bad descision and go to the artist that’s fucking up. Don’t hate the players, don’t hate the industry. Clean it up.

  12. 11 & 12: Speak for yourself, I couldn’t care less if someone has a bad tattoo or a bad piercing, or none at all 😉 And I’m fully for the regulations discussed in this article.

  13. Thanks, that was a good read.
    I really enjoy this kinda stuff… really makes you think.

  14. Living in Mass I can personally say that the numerous tattoo and piercing parlors I have been to have been cleaner than most of the hospitals, I mean I can understand where they are coming from, but with expierience I can say I trust my body with a majority of the parlors here.

  15. working at one of massachusetts premier body art studios, i believe this bill is a great decision.. the shop i represent has been following and practicing these guidelines and regulations for over twelve years now, for our safety, as well as our client’s. we have never accepted a request for a piercing under eighteen without the parent present; the parent also has to fill out all paperwork for the minor. it’s about time the rest of massachusetts starts following the guidelines we’ve been practicing! =)

  16. @16
    The state can’t regulate your sex life it’s not their fault that anyone has an STD. I lived in MA for 20 years of my life and have been all over the state and never saw a disgusting amount of garbage in the street that was just left there for days. Also those under 18 can get pierced with a parent, that’s how it’s always been. Did you watch the video? It IS about cleanliness in piercing shops. “If the state of Massachussets is really worried about dirty needles then pass a bill that that makes heroin illegal. They have.” What are you trying to say with that argument? That body piercing should be made illegal?

  17. That first video had a girl getting pierced with a…CBR? Maybe that’s why MA is headed in this direction…

  18. @ pyramids.

    First of… huge error on my part. I should have specified STD’s as in intravenous diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis (A,B,C, B and C becoming chronic), Endocarditis, Staph, and HTLV/HTLV-1 (Although not as common still a risk) that can be transmitted sexually. Intravenous diseases are the problem, and I’m pretty sure that putting an age limit on a disease problem isn’t going to help anything.

    Secondly, what’s his face might be blabbing about keeping things clean but in all reality, checking I.D.s at the door doesn’t matter to the afore-mentioned diseases. They’re trying to do what seems like clean up the industry but all they’re doing is restricting people from “expressing” themselves. Because until artists that use unsafe or contaminated equipment are forced to use sterile equipment nothing is going to change. They’re attempting to kill two birds with one stone, and it’s like pegging a house finch and an albatross. This little bill is going to do nothing except for excite or digruntle the people.

    I’m saying that no matter what happens or how the government attempts to regulate, the problems will always stand. Teens that want mods and can’t legally get them, so (yeah it crazy) they do them themselves, saftey pins, sewing needles, curtain hooks, stick and poke tattoos. Bad ones at that, it’s all unsafe and it’s all bad business. At least now if the youngins want to go to a professional shop and get professional work done they should be able to. I’ve had my lip pierced with a sewing needle, it healed wrong the keloids were painful and the jewelry rejected. Every other mod I have had done professionally and never had a problem with any of them. And no, if piercing we’re made illegal I wouldn’t be spending my time on Modblog. I would have much more important things to do. 😀

  19. Nothing will ever be perfect per say but like I said before he changed NOTHING with age restrictions these are what they have always been. You can get pierced at 16 with parental consent as long as it isn’t a genital or nipple piercing. Which is perfectly reasonable. Do you think any shop wants to deal with disgruntled parents coming in because their underage child was pierced there? Is it really really going to kill them to wait until their 18? come on seriously does anyone really NEED a piercing that bad that they can’t wait a couple years? and if they are piercing themselves with a safety pin or any other random sharp object it just proves the state right that they aren’t mature enough to handle it.

  20. Well then why is it such a big deal that the bill gets instated?

    All in all I don’t think it’s necessary. It doesn’t effect me I’m 19, but the thing is the “people” have some kind of leniency here. After this bill goes through, they’ve lost a little. It just seems sneaky and unfounded.

  21. i worked for years in a body piercing shop in RI. we took great pride in our regulations and health codes knowing that we were doing this to benefit your clients.

    i live in MA and fully support this bill. ive seen some nasty shit done to people over the years from hack shops that this bill will be “cleaning up” so to speak.

    sadly sometimes the public needs to be saved from themselves cause they dont know any better.

    **two thumbs up**

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