Friday 14 February 2014


A reader pointed out to me that it had been a while since I continued my series on the tattoos I have. And yes indeed, I had almost forgotten about that. (I tend to forget about the fact that the tattoos are there, as I am so used to them. Until I start thinking of what I would want next and where ether would fit properly.)

So this one is about my mermaid.  I had it done by hand in Thailand, when I was with my friend on the Phi Phi island. By hand means that it was not made using a tattoo needle machine, but instead bamboo needles and a hammer. They did traditional bamboo tattoos in a lot of places on Phi Phi and I came up with the idea to have the mermaid, one of many ideas I had been thinking of, done. The tattoo guys gave me some paper and I drew it in our bungalow and had it done the next day. My own mermaid was a bit bigger and more Mucha-esque than how the tattoo turned out in the end, but it din't bother me then (I was happy with it), and it don't think about it that much now either, although if I' was getting the picture again I'd do it differently.  The colours were very bright and strong at first but they have fade and the piece become rather blurry now. So it is not actually that pretty anymore. Which doesn't really matter. My ink is not some sort of prestige project that has to be perfect. It may sound odd to some, and it's a little hard to explain. And that's half the truth. On the other hand yes, of course, I want the pieces on skin to be great and perfect. But, also, as I have had my items one by one they are all part of something I've done, and they all tell story in one way or another (however, as you may remember I have said that the story does not always have to be that deep). Which in my opinion is better than inking yourself from top to toe within a year when your 21 with whatever is the current trend. Which of course is totally fine too as long as you are happy. 

The tattooing took about eight hours I think, with one guy stretching out the skin and the other tapping the drawing in with thousands of dots with the bamboo. It hurt much less than being tattooed with a machine, and healed faster. It was a good day and the guys were nice to hang out with and two months later the tsunami came and destroyed the island and I've wondered what happened to them (and all the other people I met too, of course).

Well, that was it about the mermaid.

 I’ve always written bit about tattoos in general in these posts as well. This time it’ll be about some people's attitudes. Not all people like tattoos, of course. Personal taste is called personal taste for a reason; it's personal. But what I find odd is the dislike for tattoos combined with a need to point it out in public. Shout it out.  Apparently the moment you have visible ink on your skin it gives strangers a pass to openly comment on your appearance as they please. Or so it seems. Don’t read me wrong, it doesn’t bother me that some persons will not like my tattoos. Not everyone has to like tattoos, not everyone will, I get that, no prob. But what I don't get is why not just look away or think about something else? Why would that other individual on the street or wherever be interested in what You think about their style? Why does it bother you so much?

Having that said, I have received mainly positive comments about what I have put on my skin, very few negative. Surpriringly often elderly ladies have told me they find my tattoos pretty, often when at places like the public swinning pool and so on where my skin is very visible. But I’ve also had a Burbrerry lady at Stockmann stop me and compliment me on my arms. Well what do you know :) Those few times when something negative has been said, it has always been by a man. My fingers are enough to count the times so it’s not often, but one time should be enough. I know this has happened to a lot of my friends and people I know as well (women. Also women who have shaved their heads). Interesting, to think of from a social point of view.
And annoying.

Is it just here or does it happen elsewhere too?

Last week at the gym I was working out with my personal trainer (best investment for years I tell you, but that’s another story) and these men were biking or what the fuck ever thread milling behind us and they decided to turn up the volume of their conversation all of a sudden. “I never got why women would tattoo themselves /can’t see the point of that /it does not look good on a woman to have tattoos” and so on. Oh jeez. That’s all right guys, you have your thing I have my, we have different lives and styles, so wtf was up with the WE JUST NEED TO SAY THIS IN A LOUD VOICE RIGHT NOW-thing? It made me want to laugh but also raise an eyebrow to wonder over their manners and psychological wellbeing. I've always laughed at this one memory I have from the time I found myself at a “trendy” club I’d normally like to avoid and these guys next to me were talking about me by the bar "what about that blonde one there" until I moved and they apparently saw my arm  - I could then hear one of them disappointed say “oh damn, she’s got tattoos and stuff”. Eyeroll - yes, too bad guys, but it was not going to happen anyway.

Last year I was walking with Dag in his pram and one of those typical Finnish shabby aggressive drunks raised a finger and waved to my son and said “look, your pretty mommy has destroyed herself by getting ugly pictures ” . Yes yes whatever, I just grinned and walked pass in a usual manner when I suddenly got so pissed I had to turn around to tell him he had no right to sit there and just shout out whatever disrespectful things about others he came up with. Well, he of corse told me I was a cunt was and that I should fuck off . “But your tattoos look very pretty” a woman bystander said. That was however not the point - I didn’t care what that loser on the bench though about my looks, it was the fact that he declared it out and loud and to my child, that bothered me.

And it’s just not about tattoos. This is spinning away from the original topic here, but - there are a lot go these men who think they can say whatever they want to women.  As teenagers, girls who were unknown to one another might say nasty things at parties or so to bitch each other up, but from the later teens and on, if something insulting was said it would come from a man (From a Not going to happen anyway-man, may I add, which probably is a big part of  the explanation). I’ve been told that I have a huge broad ass when I was 17, said by some random much older man, for example. My friend always remembered this guy walking up to her from nowhere at a bar saying “do you really think you are sexy with those calves?”. A few years ago some total loser in a tram interrupted a conversation  between me and my friend to tell her that he thought she had a really ugly mouth when she spoke. What the hell!? (Believe me, I really told that asshole off!). Once still in high school out on town we were eating some pastries or so and some old fart came and told us that we shouldn’t do so and think about our figures. Well, the story goes on and on and on with cases like these, but to sort-of sum it up - a lot of people, mainly men, seem to think it’s acceptable to just walk over to women and comment on their looks. And, if that woman happens to be tattooed there's even the more reason to let her know what they think. Seriously, just get over it, let it be.

Like said, this is no issue for me per se, I don't get offended, it’s not something that has happened that much. It turned into a long post all of a sudden. But whenever it has happened -every time is one time too much- or I hear someone else saying their WTF’s about similar situations it does make me wonder what’s wrong with people. It would never cross my mind to ever say anything about the appearance of another person to that person, unless I had something nice to say.

I haven't had my last tattoo done yet :)


Anonymous said...

I'm not tattooed, but, wow, did I identify with the experience of men rudely voicing their opinions on my body, clothing, and looks. I suppose men all over the world just feel entitled to make whatever remarks. And even if most of what I hear is "complementary" on the surface, I am still left wondering why some random man thought I was concerned about whether or not he found me alluring.

Mama D said...

Amen. There are some many stupid poeple running free that I am surprised our kind has not extinct yet! I personally love tattoos and have got quite a lot of them (one calf done completely) and no, they are not my last tattoos. There are still some "rules" I do follow with tattoos and would not take them in places that I could not cover with short sleeve shirt due to work. Even if tattoos are ok in my mind, it still might cause suspicion in my elderly customers and I want them to respect me professionally and trust that I know what I am doing in my work.

Anonymous said...

Well, thank you for bringing this up!
I think you rock, and look gorgeous- with or without tattoos - I just never thought you'd get these kind of comments over there as well, I had this idea that people were more accepting in Finland.
Tattoos, clothes, hairstyles - other people don't seem to realize, or mind, with how rude it is to point such things out loud. Obviously if I'm wearing I must like it, right? Don't really care about your opinion.
Either I have something nice to say or I shut up and keep it for myself.

Anonymous said...

Minäkin oon täysin vieraiden miesten toimesta saanut noita ulkonäkökommentteja: eräs mies ilmaisi päin näköä miten oksettavat tissit mulla on, kun ne on pienet. Häkellyin niin, etten osannu sanoa siihen mitään. Ja olin silloin 16v niin otin vähän itteenikin.

Toinen tapaus sattui lenkkipolulla, kun joku keski-ikäinen mies kommentoi jalkojani. Ovat kuulemma liian läskit.

Kolmas tapaus sattui valokuvausliikkeessä, kun menin ottamaan passikuvaa. Valokuvaaja sanoi ettei näistä kuvista oikeen hyviä tule, kun minulla ei kuulemma ole kauniita kasvoja. Kotona tuli kyllä itku.

Nämä nyt ekana tuli mieleen.

Nea said...

Ett av dina bästa inlägg någonsin. Håller helt med. Tror som du skrev att mycket har att göra med sorgliga "not going to happen" killar.

Mama Fabun said...

I can relate to this. I like tattoos and have several. I think yours are lovely and interesting (but it doesn't really matter what I think about them because they're yours!) xoxo

Unknown said...

Oh for goodness' sake... Left comment which has been eaten. Basically, your skin is your life story. Live it! Be proud! Love to Dag x Brigid from London

Unknown said...

I wouldn't have a tattoo because I'm a) indecisive and b) trypanophobic and c) I just like the look of skin but I'd never ever EVER go up to a complete stranger and tell her she was ugly!! That's terrible! Take no notice of them. One of the things I like about skin is that it tells your life story. Moles, scars, wrinkles and yes, tattoos are YOU. You should be proud of your skin!

I found my comment! Bx

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Anonymous: exactly! One in my later teens a grown up foreign man came over to me on the street really close to my face and said "nice FACE". He meant it as some sort of a compliment but it was put in such a strange way... and I immediately started thinking of what was wrong with my body then ... There are different ways to give compliments. They should be light and make you feel nice I think, and perhaps not be so personal, thanks and carry on, and not weird like he now wants you to roll over and shake your tail (or rather bend over,..) and be ever so grateful for him sharing his thoughts of you being alluring...

Mama D : I know - I have no need to hide my tattoos or feel obliged to do so,k but in some cases I do choose long sleeved clothing just to avoid being the topic of conversation :)

Anonyymi : argh! Ja ihme valokuvaaja! Olin itse teini-iässä eri syiden takia lääkärintarkastukseesa eräässä nouruuspisteessä, ja lääkäri tokes että "äitisi sanoi että sinulla on ollut ongelmia syömisen kanssa. Ei taida enää olla".Hyvin valitut sanat , koska ongelma todella oli siellä, ja lekuri pisti sitten lisää vettä myllylle. No se oli nainen eli kylloä "mekin" osataan :P (vaikka tää oli vaarmaan tyhmyydestä eikä halusta vittuilla). Tissikommenttia on muuten tullut mulleki "miten ne voi olla niin pienet" Just.

The Freelancer's FashionBlog said...

Brigid: Oh, strange, if it disappeared in between at first . I never touch anything, only remove spam :)

Unknown said...

Bizarre! I can post some spam if you want... ;)

j e f said...

Thanks for the post, it is a very important topic and I feel that society turns more and more macho and sexist. All the discussion about how women are usually depicted in ads is going strong for a reason. Women are increasingly depicted as if their sole purpose is to please men. I recently found this video "majority oppressed": Simply change the gender and it becomes shockingly clear how male-dominated our every day life is. And that of course includes the perceived right of men to comment on a woman's outward appearence. What happened to feminism?

Samala said...

Yes! I don't have tattoos, but live in Australia and see no reason to shave my armpits - I like them as they are. However, for some reason men (and only men) have felt a need to comment on them to me, as though I have offended their sensibilities in femininity, or the fact they've never thought that women do actually grow body hair. Also one time, a suited man invited me for a lunch break quickie, stating 'I like your armpits'. There are some great articles related to your post adn most seem to be of the notion that women are simply props in a wholeheartedly man's world. Its such an abstract and sadly lacking view of the world. I recently reread this article and it made a load of sense in articulating that sense of women being silenced and coralled into a man's interpretation of femaleness -
Ulrika, your story about the man speaking to your son about your appearance is absolutely abhorrent, I'm sorry you had to experience that.

Anonymous said...

Äh kuinka huono käytöksisiä ihmiset voivatkaan olla! En ymmärrä miten joku edes kehtaa kommentoida toisen ulkonäköä tuolla tavoin. Itellä ei ole tatuointeja, mutta lävistykset aiheuttavat samanlaisia kommentteja. Viimeksi yksi keski-ikäinen mies (huoh...) kommentoi että muuten ihan kiva mutta huulikorun voisit kyllä ottaa pois. Kiukustun tästä niin paljon, että menin miehen perään ja annoin oikein kunnolla kommenttia miten epäkohtelias hän on. Kysyin myös olisiko hänestä itsestä kivaa kuulla vastaavia kommentteja. Miehellä oli kaljamaha ja kysyin olisiko kiva jos tulisin sanomaan hänelle päin naamaa että ihan kiva mutta oot vähän läski, kannattaisko mietiä laihduttamista? Ja jatkoin tätä läksytystä aika tovin, mies oli aika hiljainen ja seuraavaksi miettii ehkä kahdesti ennen kuin kommentoi mitään :D

Onneksi oon nyt vanhemmiten saanut kunnolla sisua ja uskallan sanoa takaisin. Mietin vaan mitä samanlainen kommentoini voi aiheuttaa teini-iässä :/

Sylwia VamppiV Błach said...

Nice! I love tattoos and I have one ;)

Adina said...

nice photos
red skinny jeans

juxtapose nz said...

Thanks to you, Dag will grow up to be a well rounded, accepting individual. The lesson here is we all need to teach our children diversity in human beings is to be celebrated, whether it be the colour of the skin or the colour put on the skin.
And those drunks better not come to New Zealand, they wouldn’t last long if they made comments like that about ta moko!

Anonymous said...

Jostain syystä joillakin miehillä vaikuttaisi olevan hämmentävä kuvitelma siitä, että naiset ovat olemassa vain heitä varten. Tämä näkyy hyvin selvästi esimerkiksi Henry Laasasen kaltaisten henkilöiden kirjoituksissa. Jostain syystä nämä samat miehet kokevat naisten tatuoinnut ja lyhyet hiukset jonkinlaisena uhkana tai haasteena, samoin kuin meikkaamattomuuden ja monet muut seikat. Välillä tuntuu siltä, että kaikki eivät ole vieläkään ymmärtäneet naisten olevan ihmisiä.

bahnwärterin said...

you already put your fingers on it: this guys are all losers, socially unsuccessful. they have probably no family nor wife who teach them manners. deep inside they hate themselfs for not being handsome, rich, charming etc. and to air the bad feelings they poke at random women - always women - because they think they can get away without being punched.
so because i´m not a fan of brutality i trained myself to not her them - and not let it stuck in my head. works not everytime but i get better :-)

just found you - gorgeous blog!

Pia said...

Hej. Länge sedan jag kommenterat här men JAAAAA, ett jätteviktigt inlägg detta verkligen. Fint att du skrev om det. Ibland blir man ju bara lite galen när man tänker på alla som har rätt att uttrycka sig om ens utseende. En gång sa en man på en krog åt mig: sää oot tosi kaunis mutta miksi sää oot tollainen, pekade på tatueringen.....liksom wtf? Vadå tällainen tai sellainen, jag är väl fan just precis så som jag vill och du har fan ingen rätt att kommentera det. Borde frågat varför han äraå jäkla ful och flintig tillbaka :). Nä men tack för ett fint inlägg <3

Anonymous said...

I so agree... as a tattooed woman I seem to get quite a lot of attention for them, although I don't that much enjoy it I've gotten more used to it by now. Sometimes I wonder what the big deal is since I hardly see or think about them myself. They're just tattoos... Positive comments are of course nicer to receive and sometimes they're an icebreaker for people to start a conversation which is fine by me but occasionally I have to wonder what makes people think that they can just blurt out their dislike for my appearance, what ever I choose to look like? I mean I would never go up to someone and tell them that they're fat/old/ugly/dress horribly or whatever, would I??? I choose to not lower myself on the same level and point out that bad manners and negativity are the ugliest features a person can have ;) All in all – if you don't have anything positive to say to a stranger, just shut up. Instead spread positivity and kindness around you!