Inked Mag Staff
May 4th, 2022
OPINION: Someone Else’s Tattoos Are Not Your Business
Discussing someone else's tattoos can be a very sensitive subject, particularly when you're pressuring them to have those tattoos removed.
Everybody knows that the internet can be a vile cesspool filled with hatred and anger. Despite the toxicity lurking around damn near every corner of the web, the internet can also be a beautiful place filled with supportive people trying to lift each other up. In the center of that Venn diagram you’ll find the Am I The Asshole subreddit.
For those who aren’t familiar, AITA is a spot where people post stories from their lives and simply ask the commentariat whether or not they’re in the wrong. Sometimes this leads to people being absolutely roasted for their shitty actions. Other times folks support the poster and let them know that they were justified in what they did. And every once in a great while a story will be deemed ESH—Everyone Sucks Here. Those are my personal favorites.
Recently a user by the handle of iLoveMnMs33 posted about how their fiancé wants them to remove their tattoos. Here’s what she had to say:
I was a widow for 3 years before I met my fiancé (Julius). I lost my husband and 4 year old son on a boating accident. When I got back on my feet after losing them, I had their names tattooed on my chest. Nothing grand, it’s just their names in cursive and two hearts.
When I met Julius I told him about my past. Including my depression and how I had to move back to my parents’ and depended on them for years. He was very understanding and after over a year of dating, he proposed. Yesterday, while I was getting out of the shower, Julius asked me when I plan to have my tattoo removed. He said he knows someone who’s really good and he could give us a discount. This was the first time he mentioned something like this to me so I wasn’t sure how to respond. I just told him I have no plans of having my tattoo removed. Later that day, during dinner he asked me again and I told him the same thing. He said we’re about to get married and it’s time for me to move on. I told him I have already moved on. He said it’s hardly moving on when I still have their names on my chest, that he can see every time we’re intimate. He said it makes him uncomfortable and insecure of my love love for him because it looks like I can’t let go of my past. He’s been giving me the cold shoulder since. I told my mom about what happened and she told me she understands how Julius feels. AITA?
Thankfully, the bulk of the voters were on the side of the poster here, declaring her to be NTA. We could not possibly agree more and this seemed to be an ideal opportunity to not only voice out solidarity with iLoveMnMs33, but to also get on our soapbox for a minute.
I’m going to say this very bluntly for Julius and anybody else who may think like him—someone else’s tattoos are none of your goddamn business. I don’t care if it’s a friend, someone you’re dating, your wife or a family member. Tattoos are personal and you have no right to tell somebody what to do about their own ink. Period.
This isn’t even factoring in the personal story related by iLoveMnMs33. Her tattoo is a memorial tattoo for a husband and child who have passed away. It takes a monumental amount of audacity to even consider commenting about a tattoo like that, let alone demand that the tattoo be removed. And let’s cut to the chase, asking “when are you going to remove it” qualifies as a demand here, especially given the way Julius reacted to her refusal to remove the tattoo.
In playing Devil’s Advocate, one could side with Julius here in making the argument that it’s uncomfortable to see another man’s name tattooed on your partner. But that argument crumbles right from the jump when you consider that it isn’t an ex-husband but a deceased husband. It would already be pathetic to see a tattoo as a threat to your relationship, but when that perceived threat is deceased it kicks it up another notch.
Getting a tattoo for a passed loved one is a very common way to grieve. I know this from personal experience as I have a tribute to my mother on my forearm. Memorial tattoos are a way to carry that person’s memory with you every single day. I look at my tattoo all the time for a multitude of reasons and it never fails to comfort me. It’s an incredibly personal thing that others have no right to comment upon.
We haven’t even addressed the child’s name tattoo. Asking another person to remove a memorial tattoo for their child is next level narcissism. It’s callous, cold, selfish and repugnant. As many of the commenters said, why would the poster want to continue a relationship with somebody who would even consider asking for the removal of a memorial tattoo to a lost child?
Tattoos are more than just fashion, more than just art, that’s why we’re all so passionate about them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a flash piece off the wall, a custom design by one of the world’s most renowned artists or a simple script tattoo of a person’s name—every tattoo means something to the person carrying it. You need to think twice before opening your mouth and expressing your opinion on something you may not fully understand.
I can’t believe that I need to be saying this in 2022, but people have complete autonomy over their own body, it’s a basic human right. So next time you find yourself wondering if you would be the asshole to demand anybody remove a tattoo, let us save you the trouble of posting to Reddit and let you know yes, unequivocally yes, you are the asshole.
Inspired by Japanese culture and anime, MimiSama combines old school methods with modern technology in her unique style of tattooing
He fights in the UFC, fronts a punk band, runs a clothing line and does a little stand-up comedy on the side—so, yeah, Andre “Touchy” Fili is all the way alive