Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Enough With the Tattoos

I've read two book recently, both published within the last year, with heroes who are presented as scary, intimidating guys.  Why do the heroines feel this way?  What's the cue that these guys are threatening, criminal, and/or low class?  They have tattoos.

Really?  Because I'm about as non-threatening, law abiding, white bread as it gets, and I have two of 'em.  You can't swing a cat without hitting one of us tattooed weirdos.  They're so routine on college campuses that they've practically become a cliche, and have been since the late 80s/early 90s.  For God's sake, Jenny Crusie has a tramp stamp.  (Which I read about on her blog once, but can't find the post now and therefore can't link to.  I did however, spend a lovely hour rereading posts from 2008, and laughed so hard I scared the cat when I came across a reference to the Korean Restaurant Story.)

So please, authors, lay off the tattoos as Signs of Evil Intent.  There's a pretty good chance that a large portion of your readership has them, too, and we don't appreciate it.

Lip Balm of the Day: Peacock Puffs (lime, blueberry, cake)


  1. oooh. tattoos. scary....like women who wear pants are scary...and umbrellas are scary.

    i also have a problem with authors using a piercing, particularly a tongue or nose piercing, as an "obvious" indication that a female character is "wild and promiscuous". Because one had NOTHING to do with the other. Blah. Blaaaah on stereotyping.

  2. Well, to be fair, a properly wielded umbrella can be pretty damn scary. Just ask anyone who's come up against Alexia Tarabotti. But your every day umbrella? Not so much.

    I haven't come across any women with piercings in my fiction lately, but I did read a hero the other day who had a tongue piercing. His boyfriend was highly in favor. But somehow it doesn't surprise me that the reaction to a dude with a tongue stud is OMG HOT and a woman with a tongue stud is OMG SLUT.

  3. Exactly!
    (Says the overly tattooed and multi-pierced stay at home mom.)

  4. Ooooh. You gotta watch out for those tattooed stay at home moms. They might, I don't know, try to make you a sandwich or something!

    The whole "tattoo=scary, bad dude" thing frustrates me because it's so hopelessly out of date. I know romance is fundamentally a conservative genre, but tattoos have been mainstream for at least 25 years now. They're on everybody these days, not just sailors and bikers and other potentially rough characters. It's time to get with the program!


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