Last week I featured a facial tattoo that was not only large, but was also brightly colored. Today I want to look at the other side of the coin.
Okvit uploaded this image of his facial tattoo, which I think is a good example of a smaller, subtle piece.
Before I talk about this specific tattoo, I want to take a step back to look at the art of facial tattoos and the significance they play in the wearer’s lives. Now I obviously can’t speak from experience, and I would love to hear some stories from those of you who do have facial tattoos. Now when it comes to visible modifications, the facial tattoo is probably one of the more drastic changes, at least to the unmodified world. Our face, for the most part, is what people notice first about others. When talking to someone, unless you’re a woman talking to a guy at a bar, chances are they’re looking at your face. So when one chooses to modify their face, they are in essence changing the part of them that is seen the most.
The ramifications of this change differ from person to person, but the fact remains that any kind of facial tattoos are an intentional modification that will permanently alter the way you are seen by others. But I’m saying things we already know. What I want to focus on is what constitutes a subtle facial tattoo, or is any kind of facial tattoo significant enough to go beyond the realm of what most would deem “subtle”.
So looking at the lines above Okvit’s brow, would this fall into the same category as the girl who has the bright flowers covering half of her face? Or does this qualify as a smaller piece that isn’t as significant? Then again, I suppose it is all about context and who is viewing the tattoo vs. the wearer’s own feelings about the tattoo. To the modified community, I think it’s safe to say that this piece is much more subtle than the other image, yet to those who are unmodified, does the same apply?
In the end, does it really matter? I suppose the person sporting the tattoo cares about what it looks like to themselves, and the views of others are secondary. Yet in a cultural sense, facial tattoos have always held a position of significance. Be it the facial lines of the Ainu, or the masks of the Maori, over time many cultures have adopted facial tattoos as a means of transformation. The tattoos can show familial and tribal ties, they can denote when a boy becomes a man, when a girl is ready to be married, or in many cases, as a form of intimidation towards their enemies. So while today’s world is drastically different in many ways from the past, the facial tattoo has remained in a position of denoting a significant change in the wearer’s life.
I know that ModBlog has a lot of readers with facial tattoos and I would love to hear some of your stories about how things have changed for you, or if they haven’t at all. Those without facial tattoos, what are your thoughts on them? Are they something you would consider getting, is there a reason why or why not?