Let me just start by saying: this is a topic that I have a lot to say on, and I can pretty much guarantee that I am going to upset a few people, so I will try to be as diplomatic as I can.
“You have such a pretty face, why would you want to ruin it?”
Beauty is only skin deep. This is something that I have had instilled in me from a very young age, and it is something that I still strongly stand by. But, as I have grown up, I have also come to realise that beauty is very much subjective; what is considered beautiful to one person, may not be so to another… and that’s ok.
What’s not OK, however, is making somebody feel like they are unattractive for, well, anything.
I have a number of tattoos – nine, to be exact – and over the years, I have had a multitude of piercings, ranging from the common ear lobe, to the less common skin diver. I can’t express how much I love them, or how good they make me feel.
But, with the positive always comes the negative, and in this instance, that would be the back handed compliment. Too often have I been told by friends, family, and strangers alike: “But you have such a beautiful face”, “You’d be so pretty without all that metal”, or “Why do you want to tamper with perfection?”
Why? Because I can. Because I want to. Because I am beautiful, even with my face full of metal. I will still have the same blue eyes, or the same full lips, and high cheekbones. But, more than that, I will still be the same loyal, compassionate person who prefers to put everyone else’s happiness above my own. But if you’re too short sighted to see past my piercings, then may I suggest you go to Specsavers?
While your underhanded compliment may be laced with good intentions, it is actually both hurtful, and insulting. You may as well tell me I’m pretty… for a fat girl. The implication is no different after all.
Perhaps you aren’t aware of the impact your words have, but I can tell you, first hand, that it has some pretty devastating effects. I have spent the past 48 hours with your words swirling around my head like an angry black storm cloud; the violent maelstrom slowly chipping away at any sense of self-esteem I had, until I’m left with nothing but a raw, gnawing, emptiness.
No one should ever have to feel like this. Ever.
What’s more, an average of one in three British young people are tattooed – that’s about one in five of the population as a whole – while 46.2% of women in England, aged between 16 and 24 have other piercings besides their earlobes. So clearly body modification isn’t a rarity any more. In fact, it grows in popularity by the year, with new ways to alter your appearance constantly being discovered.
I have friends who are modified far more heavily than I am, and they are some of the most beautiful people I know, while a lot of my idols have made very successful careers out of their altered aesthetics: Lusy Logan, Alexandra Granberg, Monami Frost. All incredibly beautiful women.
And don’t even get me started on the sexist element – Ladies, I’m looking at you here. Tattooed men has been something we have swooned over for long enough.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I don’t expect you to approve of my piercings, or my tattoos. If you wish to tell me that I shouldn’t get another piercing because you don’t like them, then please feel free to say so, but do not use my beauty as a means to justify your opinion. Have some damn conviction.