CBS News on Tattooed Women Fighting Stereotypes
02:28 PM

Michelle McGee. It's become painful to even type her name anymore.

But as long as she's still on the loose -- now doing night club "tours" to fix her image -- us tattooed women still find ourselves having to fix the image she's imposed on us all.

Granted, the negative "might as well be a bullseye" view of us didn't start with McGee sleeping with Sandra Bullock's hubs then trying to monetize her special brand of sleaze. Women who have the courage (and high pain threshold) to change their bodies in a way that doesn't conform to society's unrealistic standards of beauty can be intimidating to the weak -- and when the weak get scared, they lash out:

"I'm sorry if this offends people, but nothing says SKANK to me like a woman with tattoos and/or piercings."

That's the very first comment to the CBS News video (above) in which I was interviewed about this very insipidy. The video also includes interviews with a beautiful tattooed woman and artist Darren Rosa at his Rising Dragon studio in NYC. It pans down her backpiece-in-progress showing how artful tattoos can be, and then I come on with my usual blah blah about tattoo stereotypes. And yet, the first thing someone can think to write -- and go through the process of creating an account to do so -- is the word "skank" (in caps no less!).

So yeah, I'll keep preaching in the media to "fight the backlash" as long as skank, tramp, and trash are used to define us. Even if it's painful.

Read more of my Michelle McGee sermons here:


it's wonderful and smart people like you, who give us tattooed women a good name. thank you!

I aam glad someone is sticking up for the ladies. I have nine tatttos so far adn cannot wait for more. I have a large tribute tattoo for my brother taht was murdered on my back and I wish someone would call me a skank for my tattoos. All of my tattoos were thought out and in some way I drew them up or cam up with a concept of what I wanted. I hope in timet he stigma with tattoos will calm down so more ladies will feel okay with a full sleeve. In time i hope to have a sleeve done... i recently changed my major from education to photography and i know one of those careers will readily allow me to have the sleeve oneday, if i choose. One most likey would not even think of hiring me no matter what my degree looked like.

As a guy, I love tattooed women, specially heavily tattooed women. I find them really hot and sexy. The body of a woman is already the most beautiful thing on earth. If you enhance it with a nice tattoo, it becomes a work of art, and the woman who wears it is proud and confident, and that is the sexiest! Long live women, long live tattoo, long live tattooed women!

re: Michelle McGee
Does she remind anyone else of Marilyn Manson?
Again, I say, "ICK!" One more pic of her and I'm taking my eyes out with a fork.

Jesse is heavily tattooed. Why is it that no one is attacking heavily tattooed men as being sluts?

McGee McGee McGee... Tiger Tiger Tiger... Fettuccine Linguine Martini Bikini... Now excuse me while I go watch Glee in my Snuggie.

McGee McGee McGee... Tiger Tiger Tiger... Fettuccine Linguine Martini Bikini... Now excuse me while I go watch Glee in my Snuggie.

I have only four tattoos and I've already encountered much of the backlash from horrible, judgemental people that LOVE to assume things about others based on physical appearance alone. So many customers at the store I work at have asked stupid questions about the piece on my arm, even pointed it out almost as though it is some sort of joke to them. I had another coworker with even more ink on her arms who was picked on by said customers even more. The fact that these comments went by unnoticed by management, and the fact that it helped push her to eventually leave the store was so saddening to me. People need to wake up and realize that a tattoo does not equal drug addiction, whoring oneself out, or other negative connotations that float along... I am doing my best to change attitudes where I can and I do see inked people that follow the stereotyping... but all in all... it's all based on the person, not the ink. A man in a clean suit could be an evil, heroin user with a long list of ladies on the side too.

As another male I'd like to add my voice to say I also love heavily tattooed women who proudly wear their art. Please don't allow mean, insensitive people to dishonor and disrespect you, know there are many quality people who appreciate you.

As another male I'd like to add my voice to say I also love heavily tattooed women who proudly wear their art. Please don't allow mean, insensitive people to dishonor and disrespect you, know there are many quality people who appreciate you.

I was once confronted by a woman in a mall who objected to the sight of my tattoo. She said if I was going to be somewhere that young children could see my "disfiguration" that I should "show some decency" and cover it up. I explained to her that I was not ashamed of my tattoo (which is a 3/4 sleeve Chinese dragon), that it was a tribute to my late father (who had the same tattoo), and that if she was going to be where young children could hear her, she shouldn't encourage jumping to conclusions and insulting people when she doesn't know what she's talking about.

You know what I think the problem is here; throwing everyone with tattoos in the same group. A girl with a tramp stamp doesn't give us (tattooed women) a bad name it gives girls with tramp stamps a bad name. I thought Tina Fey's comment about McGee looking like "a dirt bag's binder from 7th grade metal shop" was hilarious. She has a fricken tattoo on her forehead. It's only ignorance that relates her to any respectable woman with tattoos.

Thank you, Marisa! Well said.

I was so glad when I came across the CBS interview Marisa did and was even more excited that she showed her gorgeous sleeves! I am a 32 year old single mother of 3 and my kids and their friends love my tattoos. I have a full sleeve of traditional japanese art and it follows onto a scene on my back. I'm no drug addict, or loser, or anything like that. I am a forensic psychologist; a professional and I am proud to have my tattoos because it defines me and my love of art. I get the majority of compliments from women and a few from men who have the balls to walk up and say something, but I haven't received a negative comment yet. I'm waiting for the day when someone has the nerve... I love my sleeve and I got it as part of a healing process for me starting last year, going through a bad breakup and the subsequent problems it caused. It was almost therapeutic to sit there and feel the pain. I'm listening to the guys on here and it's encouraging to know that they think a heavily tatted woman is sexy because I'm still single and I often wonder if its because of my tats, but you know, I don't care. I LOVE my tattoos and would do it again in a heartbeat. I hate that people group everyone together, because of what one trick did. I mean if they feel this way about tattooed people, then I wonder if they've ever thought about Sandra Bullock herself having tattoos. Would they still feel that all women with tattoos are skanks and ho's? You'd be surprised who has tattoo's. People were sure surprised I had them. Look at Marisa...she's an attorney and heavily tatted. There are many professional, successful women out there with tattoos!

I haven't received much of this backlash myself yet. I guess I just live in an area where it is either tolerated more or people just don't get out much. I will never understand this whole thing with woman having tattoos being stereotyped. At least there are those that are bringing the right light to everyones eyes.

My girlfriend have 5 tattoos one on her back there is a beautiful flower motive cover all her back. She also have few smaller tattoos on feet's and neck and one on her belly. I alway thought that tattooed girls are sexy:). Tattoos are very mysterious and when I was clubbing a lot back in the days, I always put most of my attention to a girls with tattoos. There is a lot of people criticize girls that have tattoos on their body but I don't care and I think those people are having a serious problem with tolerance. People should have the right to do what ever they want with their bodies and others should be respecting it or just be quiet if they don't like it and that's it. Cheers.

Anyone who has such a stereotyped view of any subsection of society (ie tattooed people or otherwise) is quite clearly an idiot and should be treated as such - the "tattooed women equals skank" on par with saying that "Muslim equals terrorist", which is quite clearly not the case.
Is it really too much for people to accept that tattoos appeal to such a wide cross section of people that there is quite simply no one given stereotype that fits? Some tattooed women are (insert your own favourite misogynistic term here), some are lawyers, some live highly traditional family lives in tiny tribal societies in areas most westerners have never heard of. There are probably as many different types of tattooed people as there are types of cola drinkers.
Props to you Marisa as always for fighting the good fight. Tattoo people of the world - if anyone tries to lay this kind of crap on you, don't take it, in fact take it as an opportunity to completely beserk with sarcastic ridicule if you feel the situation warrants it.

I am glad certain women get tattoos. Not because I like tattoos, I actually hate them on women. I am glad certain women get tattoos because it tells me so much about them, instantly, at a glance.

When I see a tattoo, I know that woman has low self esteem, and a poor self body image. She is also willing to hurt and mutilate herself so that other people will think she looks better. I have also noticed a VERY high correlation with female tattoos and promiscuity.

I will have nothing to do with women like this on a romantic level. So, thanks all you sluts, tramps, easily peer pressured, insecure women for letting smart men know at a glance we shouldn't pursue you any further.

I for one am glad that people like Mark do me the favor of not pursuing me any further. I don't want or need people like that in my life. For a smart guy you're pretty ignorant and close-minded.

Not all women with tattoos are promiscuous, and it would be very interesting to know how you've noticed "a VERY high correlation with female tattoos and promiscuity." Have you actually witnessed these women being promiscuous? Or are you just basing it on personal experience? If that's the case, then you're probably promiscuous yourself. In that case, you're just a sexist and I ABSOLUTELY want avoid people like you. For you to say that you know so much about a woman at a glance is not only, ridiculous but incredibly superficial.

I would like to add that from my personal experience I did not get my tattoos so that other people would think I look better. To the contrary, I did this knowing that many people would probably hate them. But I live my life for myself and not for anyone else's approval. I would also like to add that I DID NOT give in to pressure from my friends or family. Everyone thought I was crazy and tried to talk me out of it, but I did it because I love my art and I'm not willing to live my life for anyone else. This is my body, my preference and my life. So once again Mark thank you for staying away from me.

As for all of you other heavily tattooed women out there, keep up the awesome art. The more of you I meet the more impressed I am with the details, themes, colors and meaning behind your work. Keep breaking that superficial mold of beauty that society has imposed on women everywhere.

P.S. Almost every woman has been "willing to hurt or mutilate herself" for her personal interpretation of "beauty", e.g. ear piercings, breast implants, butt implants, nose jobs, face lifts, botox injections, waxing (lol). It's all just a matter of what is accepted in a particular society.

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