Friday, June 3, 2011

Rebellion vs. Stupidity

I love when multiple other writers inspire one post! Meg of Meg's Ragged Edge had an interesting post the other day about tattoos. Also, Mom wrote one a few hours ago about beauty standards. If you read both, you probably don't see a similarity (other than being written by pretty cool women).

I have never seriously wanted a tattoo. I have thought about the process of me getting a tattoo, and it doesn't appeal to me. First, I have no symbols, words, or pictures that I feel I want on my skin. For others, having a symbol of a struggle or fond memory displayed on their skin is a souvenir and reminder.

Second, is the act of getting a tattoo. Call me a wimp, neat-freak, or honest, but I don't feel its always clean. Aside from allergic reactions or infections, contaminated needles can transmit blood-related diseases such as hepatitis or HIV. Part of the appeal of getting a tattoo is the sense of danger in getting it. You're risking disease, incorrect design or spelling and possible regret later in life. If I didn't scare you, and you still want a tattoo, I highly recommend Mayo Clinic's safety precautions.

Tattoos are widely associated with rebels or punks. I find is slightly ironic, that people "take caution" when getting a tattoo, when punk-style was so risky and dangerous to begin with. Punk, most famously, began in the mid seventies (though there are those who will disagree...stupid punks). Like hippie culture (Hi Mom...), when the mainstream got it's hand on the punk look, it became expensive, fake, and overdone. Punk, like many others, began as the poor-man's style. Your jeans had holes in them, because you couldn't afford new ones. You dyed your own hair, rather than going to a salon. You spray-painted your ripped shirts for a new look. Punk was a political statement against things including government's craziness, treatment of minorities, racism, sexism and much more. Punks flaunted their lack of money to gain attention to various causes.

The mainstream punk style is obvious today. The sad thing is, it's not really a political statement anymore. Punk-style is not the norm but it's not totally outrageous either. If you see a person walking down the street with extremely spiked green hair, you'll notice and maybe smile, but  likely won't be shocked or offended. I remember a friend's mom commenting on the ripped and paint-stained jeans at Abercrombie & Fitch. She said something like, "Give me an old pair of jeans, some paint, and a razor blade, and I'll save you fifty bucks".  I've even seen safety-pin jewelry at stores like Claires, geared to pre-teens. Eight months ago, I went to a salon to get pink highlights in my hair. It costed quite a bit, didn't last long (pink dye wasn't standard at Fantastic Sam's), and sort of made me feel like a cheating punk.

I am fascinated by punk style and music, but wouldn't consider (and others certainly wouldn't consider) my appearance, punk. I have no intentions for tattoos, other non-ear piercings, or totally ripped up clothing. I do, however, consider my ideas and opinions to be mildly punk-influenced.


Linda said...

When I wrote my last post, I was thinking about punk style being co-opted and commercialized the same way hippie style was, but I didn't want the post to get any longer, so I didn't write about it. I'm glad you picked up on the idea.

I was also thinking about current fashion and crafts bloggers, and how they fit into the idea of snatching "beauty" away from people who are trying to sell you a certain image. I see a diy spirit there, but at the same time, I think once fashion bloggers start getting free clothes and invitations to runway shows, diy is kaput. But you'd know more about that than I do.

What do you think?

Meg Needles said...

What an excellent post and thank you for the shout out and lovely comment you left on my blog.

I agree with certain aspects of this post, but others I'm not so sure on. Now that tattoos are mainstream shops are keeping a higher standard on health and safety, and I recently read that there have been no documented cases of HIV being transmitted through tattoos. Hep- most definitely.

^_^ This is a great post- it really makes you think about stuff. I hate that the punk look is taken on by so many people who are doing it for style rather than a genuine love of punk, but here are a few things I know to be true and I hope you like them.

* I consider myself a punk but actually don't like punk music much.

* I think that it's good punk became main stream for one reason: We don't get the sh-t kicked out of us anymore. Believe me when I say in the past, to be punk meant you risked getting hurt by normal people and having no one stand up for you.

*Maybe it's just around here, but I know several "real punks". And it's nice because I find we are so much more accepting of people than they are of each other.

I know those statements are a little generalized but that is the shortest way I can sum them up. Many hugs, darling. AND YOU ARE NOT A CHEATING PUNK! You just have rockin' hair, that's all. ^_^