Jessica Ellis
December 12, 2015 8:46 am

It’s understandable to feel like you’re rising from the ashes after a difficult divorce, and to Ben Affleck, apparently this seemed like a good time to memorialize his struggles and perseverance in a somewhat surprising way- with an enormous back tattoo of a phoenix.

The photographic history of Ben’s back tattoo begins in July 2015, when it was spotted peeking out below his shirt as he got into a car.

Speculation at the time was that the tattoo might be for a film, because some believed this serious level of ink might cause trouble for an A-list actor. Vulture in particular couldn’t believe the ink was the real thing; their film reporter Kevin Lincoln called the move “f*cking crazy,” while writer E. Alex Young insisted that it was impossible for the tat to be the real deal because “… he’s playing freaking Batman. Batman can’t have a phoenix tattoo; he’s Batman.” More recent photos and a few blind quotes have turned up, showing and explaining the phoenix graphic in almost-all its glory. On the set of his latest project, Live By Night, the actor wore a convenient hospital gown that gave us a good look at the mythical creature- and the new tatt.

That looks like some real ink to us, and it should be noted that Affleck isn’t a newbie to the world of the skin arts. He already sports tatts of barbed wire and a dolphin, so while the phoenix might be more dramatic, it’s not the actor’s first tattoo rodeo. The latest photos have set off a round of near-hysteria in the Hollywood community, with People even expressing, Frankenstein-like, “Yes, It’s Real!”

But let’s take just a second and calm the madness. Yes, the phoenix appears to be real (the tattoo, not the actual mythical creature that once belonged to Dumbledore.) No, it will certainly not ruin his career as Batman or anything else- we have a legion of VFX guys for whom tattoo removal, skin slimming, and too-much-cleavage-for-primetime cover-up is second nature by now. Plus there’s always makeup. Also, good old-fashioned clothing.

Let us also remember that Affleck is a Hollywood powerhouse and a 43 year-old man who is capable of making his own decisions about his body. If we want to be serious about moving away from a Hollywood where stars are skewered and dissected for having a zit, or being a size 8 instead of a 0, or going bald, we have to stop with the manufactured panic over their physiques. A dude got a tattoo with a big bird on it. that’s the story here. We hope he is very happy with it.

(Images via Twitter, s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

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