Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri: The tattoo debate
Editor’s note: We’ve had a powerful reaction to this column, so we have decided to print it again. As always, Letters to Rhonda and Dr. Cheri come from around the U.S. via our website and are not necessarily from Prescott.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
My mom has lots of tattoos. My friends at my church have bugged me about her tattoos forever. Now I’m older and thinking about getting tattoos also. My friends went crazy about this.
They said mean and horrible things about us … like we’re losers without jobs.
My mom loves me a lot and has sacrificed for me.
My friend put it up for a poll on Facebook. She said she did it for my own good. I feel like I am being bullied.
They keep telling me I’m insecure and making a big mistake. I don’t feel that way about myself. I think I’ll do it anyway when I go to college.
I like tattoos. Why won’t they leave me alone?
Dear Tattoo Girl,
Twenty years ago, tattoos on women were acknowledged as edgy statements. Today, they’re ordinary.
But with a tattoo, you limit yourself by trying to define yourself with words, phrases, or pictures that may not portray who you really are. They are distracting.
The truth is, the world is visual and society does define others by what’s “inked” on their bodies. It is still viewed as an impulsive, immature and insecure act by the majority of society. Definitely don’t get inked or not get inked because of peer pressure.
Tattoos can’t symbolize all that you feel, think, and care about yourself and others. Instead they can present how vulnerable you are. They cause you to be an easy target for victimization. They can’t show how you grow, evolve, gain intelligence, and wisdom.
Like it or not, we live in a very judgmental society. Twenty years ago, it took someone 20 seconds to judge your socio-economic status, intelligence, political and religious values, and virtue. Now, it is only 8 seconds before someone else defines you. Don’t help them misjudge you.
Tattoos that you think are cute now, like a kitten or cartoon, might seem immature later in life.
Still, it’s wrong for your friends to bully you and your mom. Obviously your mom’s love and care for you are not defined by her tattoos. Explore the reasons your mom got the tattoos and ask her opinion about you doing the same. She may well encourage you to wait and take more time to make such a life-altering decision.
The top ten reasons not to have a tattoo:
They can’t embody your true character and heart.
You and your tattoos will age. The number-one plastic surgery is tattoo removal.
Most employers won’t let you show them.
You’ll define yourself differently as you mature.
It won’t mirror the many talents, qualities, virtues and characteristics you have.
If you have to explain what your tattoo means, then it isn’t effective.
Cliché tattoo designs are … well … cliché.
They’re very expensive to change or remove, and “good ink” costs a lot, too.
They’re a great way to be unique, just like everyone else.
And the number one reason: You don’t need a tattoo to broadcast that you have worth.
We hope you do not get a tattoo and at the very least, we encourage you to wait before getting a permanent statement on your precious body. Even temporary ink will help you feel the pros and cons of tattoos.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org. Find out more about Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation at www. rhondastopbullying.org.