Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reclaiming the tramp stamp

Tonight on LA Ink, a few of the artists were talking about getting tattoos removed. Hannah recently had her first tattoo, a spider, covered up by a new one, Kat regretted getting her ex-husband’s name tattooed to her neck and Pixie went in for a consultation to get a tattoo removed that was um, just plain ugly, I guess.

I’ve had my tattoo for six years, and I’ve never once regretted it. The only thing I regret is someone telling me about a year after I got it that it’s apparently a “tramp stamp.”

I love my tattoo. The artist traced it from a blown-up photocopy of a goddess pendant I wore every day. My sister had the same symbol tattooed inside of a sun on the side of her lower back. She bought me mine for my 19th birthday, and held my hand and made me laugh through the pain. It’s not only a symbol of female empowerment, but of my connection with my sister, who will always be one of the most important people in my life, and with the women in my family, who often sport goddess jewelry, open hearts and unbelievable strength.

But because I chose to put my goddess tattoo in the middle of my lower back, it’s a tramp stamp.

For years I’ve been defending my tattoo by saying, “It’s not really a tramp stamp because it actually means something!” Bored of my speech, when someone asked me the other day what my tattoo meant, I said, “It’s a tramp stamp. It means I’m a tramp.” I thought I was kidding, but now I’m not. Ladies, I think it’s time to reclaim the tramp stamp. I dream of the day when I use the phrase “tramp stamp” with as much joy as I use the word “bitches” to refer to my bestest of friends.

Rather than utilize this one definition Merriam-Webster OnLine gives for “tramp” — “a woman of loose morals; specifically : PROSTITUTE” (Lame.) — let’s embrace its first definition of “tramp,” which includes: “to walk, tread, or step especially heavily,” “to travel about on foot" and “to journey on forcibly and repeatedly."

So rather than a “bull's-eye” for unevolved men, tramp stamps symbolize freedom and strength. We don't tread lightly like quiet little girls. We are loud, unapologetic women, marching through glass ceilings. And we won’t let the door hit us in the tramp stamp as we leave a crappy job for a higher salary or a crappy relationship to be happier on our own.

Fellow tramp stampers, wear ‘em proud. And practice this line: “Yes, it’s a tramp stamp. And no thanks, I can buy my own drink.”

1 comment:

doubtful dater said...

I got mine on my 18th birthday! I don't care how many times it's been called a tramp stamp, I love it! I think it represents my wild youth and unapologetic nature...

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