I was just reading this post over on This Ain’t Livin’ about the way people tend to respond to tattoos on others. As most of you know, I had my sixth tattoo done last Friday, and it’s now my biggest and probably my most visible. But I have noticed ever since I got the ones done on my feet and inside my lower forearms, which I rarely make any effort to cover up, that I get really mixed reactions from people.
My tattoos are pretty femme and inoffensive – I have flowers on the tops of my feet and the two inside my forearms are a bluebird and a heart balloon. My new one (a fabulous naked fat lady) is probably the most “controversial” per se, what with her being both fat and naked. I also have a very old tattoo of a cow on my back, but it is small and almost always covered by my clothes.
However, I’ve seen people’s attitudes and demeanor completely change the minute they see my tattoos. Even while I had hot pink hair, it was the tattoos that changed the way people respond to me. From women who clutch their handbags or children a little closer, to men who seem to feel the need to draw themselves up bigger next to me, to people in general who go from a neutral expression to negative one just on seeing my tattoos. And as s.e. smith says on This Ain’t Livin’, they seem to make people GRABBY.
I have had people grab me by the wrist and turn my arms over so they can see my tattoos. I’ve had people hoick my bra strap/top out of the way so they can see the one on my back. I’ve had people reach down and stroke the flowers on the tops of my feet. And these have been both strangers and people I know.
Actually people have been grabby with my hair since I took it out of the “natural” look, ie hot pink and now bald. One woman gave my hair a good yank and said “Oh it’s real!” Another grabbed it as I walked past, almost causing me to fall with the force that it stopped me with. Twice since I shaved my head a week ago, someone has rubbed my head without asking, one a stranger, another someone I know.
I have no idea why people feel it’s ok to get grabby with folks who have tattoos or some hair styles. Or at least women. As s.e. smith writes in her post, her male friend doesn’t seem to get the grabby thing. Maybe it’s because the female body is objectified so much, that it is perceived as public property. I know pregnant women suffer the grabbies too, and I can’t imagine how infuriating that is.
I’m also not sure how to respond to unwelcome grabbiness. I have been known to bellow “DON’T TOUCH ME!!” when it gets all too much for me. I don’t really want to bellow at people, but I do want to let them know in no uncertain terms that touching someone uninvited is not appropriate. I have also had people get offended when I’ve asked them not to touch me uninvited, as though I’m denying them some kind of right.
So, have you suffered people touching or grabbing you inappropriately? How have you responded? Did you ever ask why someone has done it?
Hit me up in the comments lovelies, let’s work out how to deal with Grabby McGrabbersons!