Are tattoos attractive? Well that seems to be an issue of some contention. Personally, I feel that the issue is more than a little bit of a double standard. Men with tattoos are very rarely called out for it in the media or criticised for their decisions. Women on the other hand, are all too often discriminated against for the choice of being tattooed, as though the decision to be tattooed runs contrary to some pre-prescribed vision of what is and what isn’t “ladylike”. Even an equivalent of a term like “tramp stamp” doesn’t exist amongst tattooed men. Why is that?
Well, I’m not really sure why women aren’t afforded the same level of tolerance toward their decision to be tattooed. It also seems that the more attractive a woman is, the more she is criticised for being tattooed. This problem is exactly what lead 22-year-old model Samantha Plant to start her own promotional modelling agency. Plant was tired of working her way through various modelling competitions only to be disqualified in the finals because of her tattoos.
‘”I was knocked from competitions after winning the heats only to be told at the grand finals that I couldn’t win because of my tattoos,’’ she said.
‘’It was competitions like Jack Daniels and [Miss] Indy. Basically the judges would pull me aside at the end and say, you were great but because you’ve got tattoos you’ll miss out.
”I guess it’s just that everybody’s set in stone with the no-tattoos thing. I’ve worked for companies [modelling] and they’ve told me to put makeup on them.’’’
Plant has even gone as far as to create a beauty contest specifically for tattooed models called Inked Beauties. The competition is based in Australia and requires its models to showcase their tattoos as well as their beauty. The sole caveat regarding the tattoos is that each model must have at least one tattoo and it must not be a tiny one, it must be something with size and it must be noticeable.
While I applaud Plant for creating this competition and giving women with tattoos the opportunity to model without any preconceived prejudice directed toward them, I also think that it’s very unfortunate that there has to be a separation of people solely because of tattoos. Although, perhaps having competitions such as Inked Beauties will help to showcase these women as being no different from other non-tattooed women. Given the chance at a spotlight, perhaps tattooed women can help to destroy old, outdated notions of who and what tattooed women are. Here’s hoping.