Rachel Charlene Lewis
May 04, 2016 9:47 am
Getty / Peopleimages

If you’re a woman planning on getting a tattoo, you’ve heard this oh-so-unique concern from the anti-tattoo folks of the world: “But what happens when you get old?”

In our society, we hate old people, but we especially hate aging women. Because women are valued based on physical attractiveness, and we unfortunately don’t see older people as attractive, old women often find themselves dehumanized in a way that was different from how they were dehumanized as younger women (read: no longer as sex objects, but instead as objects just in the way, like an old lamp — and how messed up is that?). Remember the woman who destroyed the salesclerk who was trying to get her to buy a product by telling her how crappy she’d look if — god forbid — she got wrinkles? Unfortunately, that’s the norm. Our society hates old ladies.

And we definitely don’t like old ladies who have the audacity to turn their bodies into art.

I currently have three tattoos, and I have plans to get a whole heck of a lot more. I’m thinking full sleeve, half sleeve, probably something on my butt at some point. This freaks people the hell out. There seems to be this idea that my skin will only sag and wrinkle and get blotchy and discolored if I get tattoos, but truth be told, I’m going to age regardless. I’m going to get wrinkles no matter how many serums I put on before bed. I’m going to lose elasticity no matter how much hand cream I apply. I’m going to get sunspots whether I wear sunscreen or not. People age. And women happen to be people.

I recognize that my body will change, and I’m okay with that. Why should I rob myself of the tattoos I want and of my desire to be a work of art just because my body is going to look different in 5, 10, 50 years?

When I’m 80, if I’m lucky enough to live so long, I’ll be pretty damn proud to be a badass old lady covered in faded, hard to read ink and sagging, wrinkled skin. Because I’ll know that I spent my life claiming my body instead of letting random strangers with fake concerns decide how it should look. My body is my house, and I’ve never been the type to forgo decorations.

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