Women piercing and tattoos

It mind boggles me why anyone would want to attack one’s body with needles. Possibly because I’m petrified of needles; which includes anything that minutely resembles a sharp object entering my skin involuntarily. Having said that, I am awed, intrigued, and even mystified how one can sit for hours allowing oneself to be drilled and punctured like a pin cushion. The current popularity of body piercings and tattoos especially among women is unexplainable, especially to me. When I ask the reason behind the leap into the body “art” I generally get the sheepish answer of “I like it.” When I ask if this quasi permanent art would still be liked at 90, I get a shrug. Why do young women find it necessary to taint and mutilate their bodies?
A few weeks ago a young mother of two walked into our business donning purple hair and ear piercings that numbered in the dozen. Besides the fact that I could not take my eyes off her ears because I was expecting them to fall off; I was also wondering why a mother would subject her children to a blatant display of ink and steel. Is she really advocating her children get tattoos and piercings when they grow up? Is this her mentoring strategy? As women we encounter enough challenges in life without adding body mutilation to the list. So far when asked, not one woman has ever told me why she inked and drilled. I have received many an evasive answer which brings me to think that maybe this is a question of emulating rather than instinct. Of course there is always the odd pseudo intellectual reply that tattoos and piercings are an expression of “art.” Balderdash! Tell that to the corporate executive looking for professionals. Do these women really expect to be marketable as serious executive material looking like the Sistine Chapel and with enough nose rings that could tie a horse?
Some young women coquettishly reason that “body art” should not make a difference; “it’s the brain that counts.” They point out NCIS character Abby, the Goth in large tats that also happens to be a forensic genius. My question to these women: Are you for real? Is that how far we have sunk; we do not know the difference between a TV show and reality? Pauley Perrette, who stars as Abby owned up to the fact that the large tattoos “belong to CBS.” She does have small tats on her arms and fingers. Nonetheless, Pauley Perrette is an actor playing a character and “that” as they say is what she will remain for the rest of her life; an actor playing roles. I am not disparaging Ms. Perrette’s acting abilities or the fact that she is an actor, but in reality the job market is a different story and competition is tough. Regardless of discrimination laws and fair hiring practices, a serious organization does not hire clowns. It pains me to think that the sacrifice of so many women throughout history is being washed aside in ink and piercings. Women like Marie Curie, Helen Keller, and Amelia Earhart, who had to fight against stereotypical ideas and notions that women are not to be taken seriously. Add to the equation spider tattoos, nose and tongue piercings and you have a recipe for dismissive reaction by a prospective employer. The old adage that “it should not make a difference” is again total rubbish because we are still living in a society where impressions and conceptions lead to thought and mindset. If you look like a fool, then in my opinion you would be a fool regardless of how deep your intellectual gray cells might be. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Walk into an interview looking like a biker from Hell’s Angels and I doubt that you will be the first consideration for the Chief Financial Officer position!
What frustrates me the most is the complacency of women who take on a decision when they are young without thinking through consequences. One of my favorite comedians is Carlos Mencia who had a stand-up routine called Mind of Mencia. Carlos is fearless, raw, and non-discriminatory when it comes to comedy. In one routine he was deriding tattoos for basically the same reasons I have already described. He hit on a popular tattoo often seen on celebrities: barbed wire around the upper arm. He was eloquent to point out that the barbed wire at 30 will turn to a picket fence at 80! How true, and how visionary!
My almost 98 year-old mother was always telling us that “only those people” had tattoos or piercings. I have already discussed the nebulous “those people” remark by mater, but in this context she was referring to women of lesser breeding. When we were kids, the women she referred to either served liquor behind the bar to sailors, or served sailors in other capacity. That motherly conclusion remained imbedded in my mind. Everyone has choices in life, and those who chose to be or remain “those people” will most probably also remain within that social level and standards. Which brings me to my seething frustrating curiosity: Why is it that women today want to emulate Pauley Perrette and not Condoleezza Rice? Why do they want to look like Snooky and not Audrey Hepburn? Why do they want to settle for pseudo idealistic freedom instead of a successful career? Why do they look for inspiration in Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Ga Ga instead of Mother Theresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Margaret Thatcher? Why are they settling for the vulgar rather than the elegant? What has changed since we were children when mothers mentored us and encouraged us to reach for the gold?
Maybe I am too conservative, old fashioned, unbending, and set in my ways; but for certainty the women that I looked up to did not find freedom and intellect in tattoos or piercings. They found it in their families who instilled values that would launch them into a successful life. They found it in books and stories about great heroines like Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale, and others who opened up a world of possibilities to young girls. Is tattooing and piercing just a fad? Will it pass like painted eyebrows and curlers? Or is Carlos Mencia right? Are we going to be looking at a generation of sagging, faded, octogenarians with “picket fences” or worse? Ugh!!!

Are women louder than men, and have we replaced men in bad behaviour?

Last week the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister made an alleged disparaging remark about women. The remark was so offensive that pundits on both sides of the aisle had to mention it on every cable news station. How bad was it? According to The Guardian (Turkish women defy deputy PM with laughter, July 30, 2014); Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Aric stated that “Chastity is so important. It’s not just a word, it’s an ornament [for women]…A woman should be chaste. She should know the difference between public and private. She should not laugh in public.” Mr. Aric was celebrating the end of Ramadan and lamenting moral corruption in Turkey. Of course every Turkish woman with a cell phone promptly selfies the biggest smile and tweets the picture across the world in defiance. But one question remains; are women louder than man? Are women more immoral than men? Was Mr. Aric so off the mark?

What is so negative in Mr. Aric’s remark? Is chastity not important anymore? Are women upset because he referred to chastity as an “ornament?” Exactly what was in the statement that brought us women to the brink of hysterical rebellion? Hold on to your chastity belts girls because here it goes: I tend to fully agree with Mr. Aric’s statement that women should know the difference between public and private behavior. The current generation of “anything goes” women has managed to elevate vulgar public behavior to acceptable. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, women were given special respect because they were the ones who gave birth, raised children, and developed the next generation of successful adults. Women took their role as nurturers and mothers very seriously. Our parents raised us with values that they hoped would get us through life and contribute to the success of the country. Something went wrong in the late 60’s, when women took “liberation” as a passport toward public displays of surliness and vulgarity. We told men that we did not want or need their respect any more. We told them not to hold a door open for us. Not to help us be seated in a restaurant. Not to carry groceries. Not to give us a seat on a crowded bus. That’s right, we told them to treat us as boorish as they treat themselves: swear in front of us, wear pants down to the ankles with underwear showing, write songs that demean us, design clothes for embryos: that’s right, we wanted to be treated as equals. We wanted it because we were liberated!

Let’s fast forward to today. Fashion bares it all, celebrities bare so much that there is nothing left to the imagination, and young girls below teens are now mothers. Chastity does not only refer to sexual activity, but to deportment and general behavior. The uproar about the choice of words in Mr. Aric’s statement deflects the true message. Women have become lewd, vulgar, and to some extent ignorant of their role in society. Knowing the difference between public and private behavior would save most of us the pain of watching reality shows were women display themselves as crass and undoubtedly stupid. Is this what we want our next generation of women to be? Women already have a tough time competing in the business world, add to that; tattoos, piercing, and vulgarity, and we have a generation of unmarketable females whose only purpose in life is gripe that the world is unfair to them because of who they are. I have this unpopular message to these women: grow up. Be yourselves on your own time and dime, but do not expect anyone else to cater to your silly notion that because you think you should act like an idiot everyone in the world is okay with it. Nobody is going to hire a clown, and no customer wants to be served by one. So the notion that “doing your thing” is acceptable is not only moronic but probably lends to the reason you are out of work and I have to fork out unemployment benefits to you!

I have an issue with Mr. Aric’s concerns about women’s laughter in public. At this point in his remarks I felt like asking him if he had been drinking the Kool-Aid. However, do women laugh louder than men in public? I must admit that when a gaggle of women are together, it seems that the laughter goes up in decibels. Is this possibly because we tend to talk over each other? Is laughing loud an assertion that we are now liberated enough not to be afraid to be heard loud; even in laughter? Are we trying to outdo men? When in a crowd of mixed company, us women seem to be louder than the men, and we tend to give our laughs more gusto than our male counterparts. We also seem to dominate conversations leaving very little time and space for the males to even interject let alone laugh. Why? I have a theory. My hypothesis is that a male conspiracy is afoot to make women look more dominant and men acquiescent in an effort to win sympathy. “That poor man has to put up with that!” Wink, wink, nod, nod…and the man wins again. Mr. Aric was trying to assert himself as the alpha male who has been stripped of his masculinity by women’s laughter. One can almost feel pity for him. However, his inference to the laughter reduced the rest of his message to ridicule. He should have stopped at “chastity” then he might have at least scored a few points.

My 97-year old mother raised five girls, and believe you me, it was not an easy task. She frowned upon anything we wore which she considered “vulgar” or worse; something “those people” would wear. To this very day I fail to identify “those people” and she does not divulge her acquaintance either. What she was trying to instill in us was a sense of what was considered right and acceptable to young ladies heading into the world. Her reference to “those people” meant those who were not successful in life because of either upbringing or behavior. We were not to emulate “those people.” The difference between my mother’s philosophy and today’s parents is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Her philosophy was to be the best by being someone other than a loser, whereas today’s parents leave it up to the kids to decide, thus leaving us with a generation of semi-coherent morons. Folks complain about the deteriorating values of this generation, yet they are afraid to identify truism. Case in point is Mr. Aric’s reference to women’s decorum; he missed the boat with his “laughter” analogy, but hit the nail on the head in stating that women should behave appropriately in public. What he was saying in a very clumsy way: keep your private bedroom antics where they belong: in your homes. A line from my favorite old movie To Sir with Love with Sidney Poitier sums up this sentiment. Sidney Poitier played a school teacher in the early 60’s in East London. When female students burnt a personal condiment in the class room he became enraged. After he threw the boys out of the class room he told the girls to clean up the mess and added for emphasis: “keep this filth in your homes and not in my classroom.” My sentiments exactly.