The skin is the largest organ of the body, and we humans have historically used every square inch as a canvas for self-expression: tattoos. While some people take the practice to an extreme, covering their entire body in tattoos, most people limit themselves to one or just a few designs. While the overall stigma of having tattoos has decreased over the years as the community has found more acceptance, there are still some tattoos that carry a stigma. This does not just include designs that some people find offensive, it also encompasses the location of the tattoo. While many people stigmatize facial tattoos, there is one surprising stigma that is actually very recent: the lower back tattoo, often known as the “tramp stamp”.
Women and Tattoos
The stigma of women with tattoos is historically much stronger than that for men, and it has only been recently that women could express themselves with tattoos and not be branded as lesser, wild, promiscuous, a rebel, or any number of labels and judgements that came along with tattoos for women in the past. Sexism, unfortunately, carries over even to tattoos, and this has a large part in the branding of the “tramp stamp” label.
Origins of the “Tramp Stamp”
The majority of lower back tattoos are chosen by women (especially today), and prior to 2004, the term “tramp stamp” had not yet been coined. In the early 2000s when low-riding pants were in fashion, many young women followed the trends and chose to get a lower back tattoo, often of flowers or a butterfly, or something similar. It was not until Saturday Night Live did a skit introducing the concept of the “tramp stamp” that the stigma of the lower back tattoo came to be, but the term became hugely popular, and today it is a fixture of modern slang. The lower back tattoo stigma is generally associated with a promiscuous woman.
Regrets & Reservations
Whether from stigma or for other reasons, many women end up unhappy with their lower back tattoo, or avoid getting one in the first place because of stigma. What was once trendy is now known as cliché, and this scares off many people who are interested in tattooing the area. Some women who have them are embarrassed and feel their tattoo makes them appear childish or silly, someone who should not be taken seriously.
Think Carefully Before You Tattoo
While it is totally up to you as to where you choose to get your tattoo and what you would like, do keep in mind a few important factors:
- You may grow tired of your tattoo later on
- A tattoo should never be an impulse decision
- Be aware of any stigma that might be attached to a tattoo, and how that might affect you
- Some workplaces frown on tattoos, though this is changing
- Tattoos can be removed, but it is costly and time-consuming
Many people get a great deal of enjoyment out of their tattoos, but just as often, people find themselves regretting the decision, and either live with a tattoo they dislike, or seeking tattoo removal.
Safe and Effective Removal
Do not beat yourself up if you got an ill-advised tattoo and would like to have it removed. Many people get tattoos in their youth or when emotions are running high. Fortunately, laser technology is quite advanced these days, and laser tattoo removal is a safe and effective option for fading or removing tattoos.
The process involves a series of brief treatments, spaced several weeks apart. The laser breaks up the tattoo ink, which is slowly absorbed by the body, fading the tattoo. Depending on the size, color, and complexity of the tattoo, as few as 3 or as many as 10-15 are needed to produce good results. While this process works for most tattoos, some inks and colors are very stubborn, and removal may have limited success. The treatment itself is somewhat uncomfortable, but no anesthesia is typically needed, and sessions are usually 10 minutes or less.
There is no downtime associated the procedure, but skin may become blistered and appear sunburned for a while after each treatment. Sun protection is extremely important during this time.
Talk to a Specialist
Tattoo removal has become a big business, but it is important to seek out a provider who has extensive training, experience, and skill. Laws vary as to the required training and experience of laser technicians, so it is safest to choose a board certified plastic surgeon to perform your tattoo removal treatments.
Dr. Stuart Bentkover of New England Tattoo Removal is a laser specialist and an expert in tattoo removal. He has successfully treated a wide range of tattoos and has a high rate of patient satisfaction. If you would like to schedule a tattoo removal consultation with Dr. Bentkover, call Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA today.