As a biracial woman, adoptee and mother of three, I’m no stranger to social biases.
So when I went for my long-awaited tattoo to celebrate an upcoming milestone birthday, I knew I’d receive mixed reactions.
While I may have received the odd, “What will your kids think?”, and “Aren’t you worried what it’ll look like when you’re an old granny?” - the responses so far have been overwhelmingly positive.
When I heard that a Facebook Page called “Your Tattoos Make You a Horrible Mother” existed, which displayed slogans such as “Shun the Gun,” “Think Before You Ink,” and “Moms Without Tattoos Have Children With Futures,” I thought it was a joke.
Not only did this page discourage tattoos - especially on women who are soon-to-be or existing mothers - but it spread fictional conditions related to getting tattoos, such as “Fetal Ink Syndrome” (birth defects caused by getting tattoos while pregnant), “Tattoorettes Syndrome” (uncontrollable profanity as a side effect of getting tattoos), and “Inkrage” (getting tattoos causes violent, aggressive behaviour).
These conditions may sound like punchlines to tasteless tattoo jokes, but the followers of this page actually believed them to be true. Thankfully, after a petition ran on change.org, calling out the group as promoting hate speech, the page was shut down.
The reality is, while we work towards becoming a more inclusive and accepting society, a stigma still exists when it comes to those with tattoos, and women, in particular, are at the receiving end of the body-branding backlash.
According to a survey conducted earlier this year, 29 per cent of males in Canada, and 36 per cent of females in Canada have at least one tattoo. And while women exceed men in ink stats, it seems to be the women who suffer the most from the stigma that still exists.
Instagram fitness star Sia Cooper shared a photo in response to people who called her a "bad mom" for working out too much, and for having tattoos and piercings. Her caption read, "I’ve learned that the true 'bad moms' out there are the ones who constantly tear other moms down by judging them."
In a post on the site Cafe Mom which shares the ridiculous things that have been said to moms with tattoos, one mom shares, "My partner and I both have tattoos and piercings, but I'm the only one who has gotten shamed out loud for it. No one calls him a 'bad dad.'"
It’s time to stamp out the stigma that surrounds tattoos. Moms seem to bear the brunt of the shaming, and the judgment is unwarranted. Let’s stop misjudging moms with tattoos, and recognize that their ink is a symbol of courage, creativity, and character. Ink, or ink free, all mothers are faced with a slew of biases, and it’s time for these biases to stop. Decorated skin doesn’t dissolve the love of a mother, nor does it reflect what exists on the inside.
Bianca Bujan is a mom of three, writer, editor and marketing consultant. Find her online at @bitsofbee.