No, I’m not talking about people with tattoos, rather people who think it’s their job to tell the world that other people shouldn’t have tattoos.
Show me a tattoo related article on a popular website that allows comments, and I’ll show you a group of very angry people who outwardly hate tattoos and want to tell the world about it. One of my recent posts showcased just a few of the comments left in response to a Washington Post article, but I continue to see this happen over and over again. It seems like every single tattoo related article I come across on the net somehow manages to get the anti-tattoo fanatics to come crawling out of the woodwork to spout their opinions. It doesn’t matter if the piece was written in favor or against tattoos, whether it was published by the BBC or the Washington Post, in 2011 or 10 years ago. The comments all tend to head in the same direction.
People see the word tattoo in the title, and think it’s their obligation to tell the world how much they hate them and all of the reasons why. Inevitably, the term “Tramp Stamp” will be thrown around, assumptions about IQ, income level, gang affiliation, education, occupation and criminal record will shortly follow. You can be sure that healthy dose of mindless name calling and holier-than-thou attitude will be thrown into the mix just for good measure. There will of course be the tattoo supporters that chime in with their own comments. Many will leave intelligently written posts, citing real world examples clearly demonstrating their counter-points. The responses from the anti-ink crowd are usually along the lines of, “well, you have a tattoo, so your [sic] just an idiot”. Their arguments are based purely out of personal opinion. Some will try to use what they like to refer to as “facts”, but are usually reluctant to cite their sources. One perfect example is the following comment, left in response to an article discussing a tattoo convention:
This is more like an idiot convention. FACT: One out of every five people with a tattoo has hepatitis C. It’s linked with amount of ink, and it is more likely if you got your tattoo at a commercial parlor. Really, they just scream “I’m a scummy person who doesn’t respect myself and doesn’t want to hold down a real job.”
Ignoring the last sentence, the so-called facts he is presenting have no basis in reality. I searched for this 1-in-5 statistic, and what I found was this statement on the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
“Less than 1% of people that have contracted hepatitis C in the past 20 years got it from a tattoo.”
Less than 1%! Do you see a slight discrepancy between these numbers? Do not try to emphasize your nonsensical argument using “facts” that have either been pulled straight out of your ass, or misinterpreted from some study you read online. Perhaps his 1-in-5 statistic came from this study from 10 years ago.
“of 626 patients studied, 113, or 18 percent, had a tattoo. Of those with a tattoo, 22 percent were infected with hepatitis C. Of the 52 patients who had acquired their tattoos in commercial tattoo parlors, 33 percent had hepatitis C. In contrast, only 3.5 percent of patients with no tattoo had hepatitis C. Few of the tattoo-associated infections could be traced to injection-drug use, transfusions or other known routes of exposure.”
So, out of a sample of a total of just over 600 people, slightly more than 100 had tattoos. Out of those, 22 percent had hep-c. 600 people represent less than 0.0002% of the population of the U.S. alone. That’s two ten-thousandths of a percent. The logical conclusion would be to state as a fact that 1-in-5 people with tattoos are infected with hepatitis-c.
That last sentence was, in FACT, sarcasm, in case it went over anyone’s head. Besides the obvious lack of numbers needed for a statistically significant study, did they ever stop to consider that a group of people from the same area were likely to get their tattoos from the same shop? Maybe there are 5 tattoo shops in the area, and out of those, one does not use proper safety measures to prevent the spread of infection. His statement of “it is more likely if you got your tattoo at a commercial parlor”, could easily be a misinterpretation of the line in the study where they say getting a tattoo in a commercial shop puts you more at risk than not getting a tattoo at all. This statement does not mean that commercial shops are more dangerous than getting a tattoo in a friends basement. Try brushing up on your reading comprehension skills and pay a little more attention before throwing your facts around. Using the word FACT in capital letters does not automatically make what you are saying an actual fact. What really screams, “I’m a scummy person” to me is making up statistics in an attempt to insult an entire sub-culture of people who you really know nothing about.
I could write post after post where I rip apart the comments of these morons, but I think I need to give some love to the supporters who have chimed in with a few memorable comments. This one in particular really stuck with me.
“The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that tattooed people don’t give a shit that you don’t have tattoos!”
I could not have said this better myself. Comments from the anti-tattoo group almost always include negative stereotypes, and sweeping generalizations. They like to make it very clear that they would never date, hire, or in extreme cases even give the time of day to someone with too many tattoos. Yet, I rarely, if ever, see the tattoo defenders trying to force their views upon others. They stand up for their own choices, but don’t look down on people who choose not to get tattoos. If you don’t like them, you don’t have to look at them, end of story.
My other favorite is this:
“It always amazes me how tattoos tell you more about the people looking at them than the people wearing them.”
This simple statement really does say a lot and is the perfect response to people who insist that tattoos are id badges for idiots. People get tattoos for so many reasons that the viewer cannot safely make any assumptions about the meaning behind them, or assume they know anything at all about the person with the tats. The only thing you can know for sure about a person with tattoos is that they likes tattoos.
Strip away the made up statistics, the old-school stereotypical thinking, the personal vendettas and what are you left with? A group of people who really have absolutely nothing to say. Yet they insist on saying it over and over again, rehashing the same old comments time and time again. If you are not capable of coming up with your own intelligent thoughts to add to the discussion, why bother saying anything at all? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I just don’t understand getting so worked up about an issue that really doesn’t affect you in any way. Don’t you have anything better to do?
Those who choose to judge others based on outward appearance are the ones making it easy for us to pick them out of a crowd. Just because you aren’t wearing a tattoo across your forehead that reads “I am an ignorant, judgmental fool”, doesn’t mean we can’t see it written all over your face. Since the intelligent among us know that our actions are what truly define us as people and not our choice of body art, it quickly becomes obvious who the real idiots are.