Skip to content

Your Body Is A Murderland

Friends: I have a lot of interests. Feminism, chili cheese fries, talking about feminism while eating chili cheese fries… the list goes on! However, one of my interests is “blogs about tattoos.” They always brighten my day a little. Mostly because I get to judge people, which is really my function in this life. You get a Harry Potter tattoo; I see your Harry Potter tattoo; I laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s the natural order!

So imagine my dismay when I checked into one such tattoo blog this morning and found this:

Uh. Yikes? Fortunately, the owner of this tattoo has provided a little background on his new (and PROMINENTLY PLACED; sweet Jesus help me, is that a wrist?) bit of Body Artistry:

This is my “unfortunate-victim-of-child-abduction-with-her-mouth-taped-shut-awaiting-her-snuff-flick-style-demise” tattoo.


You know, there are a lot of points to be made about this. Something something fetishizing violence toward women, something something rape culture — in one post, he describes her as a “pre-teen rape victim!” — something something misogyny and dehumanization of women blah. But really, before we get all into that, let’s look at the bright side: The punishment really does fit the crime here. Someday — maybe someday in the near future — this young gentleman will wake up and realize that, you know, all of these ladies he encounters on a more or less regular basis really are PEOPLE, and it’s kind of gross and inhuman to think of the harm done to them (at fairly high rates, even!) as a fun, aestheticized diversion from his boring and extremely beardy little life. And on that day, he will have proof of how stupid he is CARVED ALL THE FUCK OVER HIS FOREARM, and will be unable to escape it. Justice done! And, in the meantime, this — short of getting “DON’T DATE HIM, GIRL” tattooed on his forehead — will keep the rest of us safely away.

Ohhhhh, I really just do love judging other people’s tattoos.


  1. jfruh wrote:

    But look, he says that it’s “unfortunate” that she’s been kidnapped and everything. Obviously his tattoo is a COMMENTARY, right? Or something?

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  2. Lexy wrote:

    Well that’s pretty bad, but this one is really quite terrible. Don’t even bother reading the horrible comments.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Lucy wrote:

    This is weird to me, because in addition to being a very outspoken feminist, I’m also a huge horror and exploitation/grindhouse film fan, genres that are chock full of pretty grisly violence against women. I understand that many of them are kind of tongue-in-cheek or meant to be excessive in keeping with the style of the genre (like in giallo), but it always horrifies me when I realize that there are male fans who enjoy these films with absolutely no hint of irony, that what they really enjoy about these films is literally watching women getting cut up, or raped, or God knows what else. And as awesome as it would be to date a man who had the same interests as me, I always feel like I have to take male horror film fans with a pretty big grain of salt, because it’s not always immediately apparent if they enjoy them for the same reason I do, while still managing to see me and other women as full human beings deserving of respect, or if they’re like this guy, and are actually excited by the idea of women in danger.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
  4. The worst part is he’s probably really enjoying the attention he’s gotten for this. All the expressions of horror and disgust only serve to validate his EDGY and BRO-TERNATIVE lifestyle. It’s Apatovian manchild syndrome, but somehow taken to an even darker place than Observe & Report. (Bet you didn’t think that was possible!)

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  5. babysnaakes wrote:

    As disgusting as that is, at least the women who interact with him have an obvious warning sign. Not to say he couldn’t still harm someone, but in a way I wish all sadistic people had such a blatant danger sign.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Permalink
  6. Donna wrote:

    wow, creepy and based off an overused stock photo(check “girl taped mouth” on google images) double douche points…

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
  7. ANM wrote:

    Lucy, I have to ask… Why DO you enjoy films like that? While I do get your point that different people enjoy things for different reasons and that maybe some reasons for liking graphically sexual violence are less… shall we say “scary” than others, I still find myself wondering.

    I will confess… The wariness you feel over male fans of sexualized violent films is the same sense of wariness I feel about ALL fans of said films.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  8. Travis wrote:

    There’s a lot to deconstruct on this dude’s arm. For example, why does she not have any irises or pupils?

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Sady wrote:

    @ANM: If it helps, I was pretty hardcore into horror for a long time! Because some fucked-up shit was happening, in my life, and horror was the only place I found an outlet to really experience the extreme, extremely terrifying stuff, and the surrounding emotions. As far as I could see, everyone else’s life — and the world at large, as reflected to me by most other media — was entirely devoid of the behavioral and emotional extremes I saw around me. Then, later, I found it really super-triggering. But I still find horror a useful form of catharsis, sometimes. So people are gonna come to it for different reasons, basically.

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
  10. Lucy wrote:

    @ANM, it’s for a lot of different reasons. First off, I studied film in college, and I took a horror class that actually deconstructed the genre from a very feminist lens, such that many of the old classics actually reflect anxiety about the Other, and in particular about feminism and overt, deliberate, pleasure-seeking female sexuality. That was really interesting, and that’s generally how I tend to look at them now (even when it’s obvious that’s so far from what the filmmakers were actually intending to do). It’s not that I like VIOLENCE so much. I still cover my eyes at most of it, if I’m being honest. I like the formulaic quality of the horror film, and how certain subgenres can be viewed almost as archetypes- not fixed or absolute, but readily identifiable and addressing larger themes in a nuanced way.

    Second, I was never allowed to watch ANY of that shit when I was a child, and I always imagined certain classic horror films to be a LOT scarier than they actually were. And this is actually true of many things that I was discouraged from doing or too intimidated to try. It was really validating to know for certain that I’m not going to be defeated by a film, and that I can effectively be in control of my own fear. If it’s really too scary or violent, I can turn it off and watch some Muppet Show instead. There are very few real-life scary situations in which that’s a viable option.

    Third, coming from that last point, about two and a half years ago I actually was assaulted at gunpoint outside the apartment I lived in at the time. The post-traumatic stress, compounded by the deplorable victim-blame-y abuse I experienced with the police “investigating” the incident and an incredibly shitty therapist I was referred to, were like ten million times worse than the actual assault itself. It really screwed me up. And interestingly, my consumption of horror films really spiked around that time. Because like Sady said, it was VERY cathartic. If you read about the Final Girl and other horror tropes about who survives in these films and why, it’s really good food for thought about how violence against women is perceived at large- and for me, how I perceived myself and my own sense of being totally powerless. I felt very vulnerable for a long time after the attack, and fortunately I was able to find a better therapist and really deeply (albeit retroactively) process the full spectrum of my feelings about it, but I somehow suspect that if I hadn’t been watching horror films the entire time and allowing myself to go back there and actually take control of it in the safety of my own space, I would have been a lot worse for wear.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink
  11. AndyG wrote:


    BRO-TERNATIVE! That’s my new favourite word.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  12. Em wrote:

    Lucy and Sady, thanks for those explanations.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Permalink
  13. gogo wrote:

    Special kudos are in order for the tattoo artist willing to ink this. Way to pay the bills!

    Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  14. speedbudget wrote:

    Travis, I believe her eyes are closed.

    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  15. a.b. wrote:

    @Gogo Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It almost makes me want to ask my tattoo artist, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever inked?” and decide if I need to make a change. I wonder if there’s anything written about this ethical conundrum. I mean, I’ve checked books out to people at the library that I thought were mega-terrible (“How to convince your teen he’s not gay”, for example) but I can’t tell someone what not to read. Is it different for artists? Artists who work on commission, now that’s a different area.

    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink
  16. gogo wrote:

    back@A.B.~~~I dunno much of anything about tattoo culture, I am not a participant. However, I have seen plenty of lovely tattoos and loads of horrid ones, just by living in SF and I think this qualifies e to have an opinion!I wonder, do tattoo artists take vows of neutrality and refusal of judgement toward images they are asked to create/reproduce? The artist may have agreed with the “coolness” of this image or done it with gritted teeth, thinking about the day when s/he doesn’t have to sell out core principles to make ends meet.

    I’d like to think there are artists out there who would refuse to ink Nazi symbols or lynching scenes or raped little girls. But then, there are obviously people who are willing to do them, so all one has to do is keep looking for a compliant artist.


    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  17. gogo wrote:

    Um typos, sorry, corrections, cause typos irritate me and I don’t know how to edit comments, d’oh.

    “…qualifies *Me* to have an opinion!* I wonder, do tattoo artists take vows…”

    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  18. Other Becky wrote:

    All I can think of is the oft-made point that rapists can’t usually be visually distinguished from the rest of the population. I think we may have an exception.

    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  19. Girlwhoknowsagirl wrote:

    I know a girl who has this same tattoo…??? WTF.

    Friday, March 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  20. Tyler Healey wrote:

    Hi Sady, I like your blog. I really liked your article on Eminem’s song, “Love the Way You Lie.”

    I’ve tried to interact with people many times at Pandagon, but they don’t like dissenting views. Amanda Marcotte has banned me numerous times. She tells her readers I am a hateful wingnut.

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  21. Sady wrote:

    @Tyler: I am really not sure why you are coming to my blog to post — on a completely unrelated article — that you don’t like another blog. What, exactly, are you aiming to accomplish here?

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Permalink
  22. Tyler Healey wrote:

    I have a tattoo on my back that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” I got it when I was in the Marines.

    If I said this at Pandagon, they would gang up on me like Army soldiers at Abu Ghraib.

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  23. Tyler wrote:

    I was hoping you would say, “Wow, that’s messed up that Amanda called you a hateful wingnut. I’ve visited your blog and clearly you are not that.”

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  24. Sady wrote:

    @Tyler: I can’t recall ever visiting your blog, except after you left that comment, to get a sense of who you were. I may have done so in the past. But that doesn’t put me in a position to judge your character. Right now, you’re behaving inappropriately, which does not make me want to take your side. As I told you in reply to your e-mail, this blog is not a place for you to further your personal problems with people, particularly not by leaving comments unrelated to the post. It’s derailing and vindictive. I don’t know why you were under the impression that you could visit this blog, leave a completely random comment about how much you dislike someone, and then receive sympathy. But your behavior is inappropriate. Don’t engage in it again.

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  25. Tyler Healey wrote:

    Not only will I not engage in it again, I will never visit your blog again.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  26. Tyler Healey wrote:

    I’ve yet to meet an internet feminist that isn’t repellent.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  27. Sady wrote:

    @Tyler: Wow, I’ll miss you so much! I can see now why someone calling you a “hateful wingnut” would be coming COMPLETELY OUT OF LEFT FIELD.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  28. TROLL!!!

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  29. RovingAstrophysicist wrote:

    I like to think of it as advance warning when this turd tries to chat you up at the bar.

    Uhm, is that a scary child snuff film on your arm? I think I need to go and stand over there now.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink
  30. Tyler wrote:

    Someone keeps deleting my comment where I explain that I am not a hateful wingnut.

    Let’s try this one more time: My blog makes it self-evident that I am not a hateful wingnut.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink
  31. Alix wrote:

    Tyler, you need to at least learn blog etiquette. This post is not about YOU. Either comment on the post or prepare to be dissected.

    Shorter troll: Feminists won’t let me troll! They are all hateful!

    Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  32. Tyler wrote:

    Alix, I never said this post is about me. I just don’t like being called a hateful wingnut or a pathetic loser, which is also what Amanda Marcotte has called me. Then, she had the gall to write an article against cyber-bullying. The hypocrisy is blinding.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
  33. Sady wrote:

    @Tyler: If you can’t see why your actions — visiting random blogs in order to badmouth third parties, then calling all “Internet feminists” “repugnant” when someone tells you, very mildly, that you are being inappropriate — constitute “cyber bullying,” I really think you need to stop and consider that. You were hurt. I get that. But your actions here have been trollish and irresponsible. Respect the spaces you’re in. Or people are within their rights to ban you.

    Monday, April 4, 2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink
  34. LilithXIV wrote:

    “Not only will I not engage in it again, I will never visit your blog again.”

    I mean, really now.

    Monday, April 4, 2011 at 1:47 am | Permalink