Awesome Totally Awesome Face Tattoos

Face Tattoos: WHY?

By Olivia Hill

Without dating myself, my formidable years were spent in a time and place where there was a semi-negative connotation linked to tattoos. In the decades that I’ve been on this rock circling the sun, I’ve seen the acceptance of having tattoos, then exposed tattoos in the work place, then full blown sleeves as one’s first tattoo, and now the general welcoming of face tattoos. While the overall concept of inking one’s body has existed much longer than just the 1900’s, there is more of a trend that revolves around them in modern times. A simple example would be that of the lower back tattoo that reigned supreme in the 1990’s and early 2000’s—that then immediately became labeled as “trashy” a few years later.

It’s wild to think that we as humans sometimes live so in the moment that we choose to make a permanent decision based off of a fleeting trend. We convince ourselves that we’ll forever love this thing that everyone loves right now. And while the rebuttal of tattoo removal does exist, I’ve seen “erased” ink in person and, well I mean, you can still see what the tattoo was. It’s just flesh colored now.

Before I come across as a hidden conservative bigot on ATA’s writing staff, I’d like to point out that I myself have a tattoo. It is extremely hidden, and had a lot of thought behind its meaning & placement. By all means, feel free to live your life existence the way you want, but I have to say: what the fuck is going on with face tattoos?

I saw this meme while scrolling through Instagram the other day and it instantly won “The Most Profound Thing I’ve Seen Today” award in my mind.

Awesome Totally Awesome Face Tattoos

I don’t follow the rap world of today closely enough to know more than surface level politics and opinions about rappers like 6ix9ine or the late XXXtentacion, but I do know it’s not uncommon for them to sit their face under the needle multiple times.

A personal favorite of mine is musician Post Malone, and as he accumulates the face ink the motherly instinct in my “stan” (stalker fan) comes out and wonders, “is everything okay, boo?” With his most recent addition of “Always Tired” under the bags of his eyes, I’m curious if it’s actually clout or a blatant cry for help. Remember: we made the biggest deal out of Britney Spears shaving her head (a semi-permanent decision!), but we’re not creating a discussion about whether this literal message is Post saying he needs a break, if not a nap.

And this trend really is slowly extending to the masses. I often frequent Venice Beach’s bougie shopping street, Abbot Kinney, which practically serves as a watering hole for young millionaires of tech start-ups. While there, it’s not uncommon for me to see a late 20’s, early 30’s white male with at least three to five symbols around his eyes and cheeks. Without knowing their actual working background—there is the slightest chance they’re a music mogul—I make the quickest assessment of, “eh, you’ll probably regret that later if not now, Try Hard.”

I think I get bitter towards them on a deeper level, because not more than ten years ago, society was writing anyone with a face tattoo off as lower stature or even as violent since most inkings were known to be “prison tattoos.” Either way, these used to be signs to say that they’ve seen some shit. So the fact that we as a society used to peg down demographics and people, but are in absolute awe of the guys who maybe created an App for iPhone perplexes and irks me. Is it direct appropriation? Is it just a trend we can “all” do?

The only thing I know for certain is that the most consistent thing about trends is that they will change, unlike any procedure done by a needle.

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