Tacky or Tasteful? – An ITV ‘Debate’

ITV’s This Morning decided it was time to bring the tattoo debate to the masses, with the anticipation of being made extremely angry; I began watching this with trepidation:


To my genuine surprise, it didn’t annoy me quite as much as I had expected, but there were a few things (of course) that I found myself shouting at my MacBook as I watched:

·      The Psychotherapist said that everybody she knows who has been tattooed, regrets them and therefore she knew her daughter would regret hers too. Nobody I know regrets their tattoos – and I happen to know a lot of tattooed people. I’m glad Jodie Marsh was able to say she doesn’t regret hers; this is such a common misconception by non-tattooed people – it almost always goes hand-in-hand with the age-old “what will you do/think when you’re older”. Aaaargh! Of course some people regret their tattoos, but not everybody will, as this woman predicts.

·      I was really annoyed with the psychotherapists claim that “everybody with tattoos is impulsive”. Really annoyed. I am probably the least impulsive person I know. I have never rushed into getting tattooed; I have never rushed into anything, for that matter. So she wouldn’t employ anybody with a full sleeve because it shows they are impulsive? Does she know how long it takes to complete a sleeve?! It may not be as impulsive as she thinks. Of course some tattooed people are impulsive – just as some non-tattooed people are impulsive. News Flash! Not every tattooed person is the same. Crazy, I know! If she’s going to use tattoo as an indicator of impulsiveness, and something to avoid, how does she recognize impulsiveness in the non-tattooed? How does she avoid employing those people? (What’s wrong with being impulsive anyway?)

·      I thought it was a real shame that Jodie Marsh didn’t question the fact that tattoos may not mean you are an impulsive person – and Holly W went along with the presumption too. There was no question that this might not be true.

·      The other key issue to be ignored/not bought into question correctly was that of Legal Age. It was mentioned that the legal age to get tattooed is 18 – but the psychotherapist admitted that her daughter was younger than this when she was tattooed and Jodie Marsh said she was younger than this when getting her first tattoo. It was agreed that young girls are getting hold of fake ID and getting tattooed – which of course does happen, but this really grated with me. Why was it not clearly stated that any tattoo artist tattooing under-age kids are not the kind of tattoo ‘artist’ you want to be associating yourself, let alone your skin with? I know fake ID cards can be convincing, but please? This discussion made it sound as though poor young children are in danger of having their lives ruined by these irresponsible tattooists on an under-age tattooing rampage. Jodie Marsh really didn’t help this…

Phillip Schofield asked “What about when you have children?” (Another age-old and equally annoying question). He then went on to ask if Jodie would let her children get tattooed, Jodie replied, “If they were old enough”. To which Phillip asked, “What’s old enough?”

18! 18! That’s the correct answer! Not “well, 16, 17, 18, but I’d give them a talking to first”.

Nobody picked up on the fact that it is illegal to tattoo a person under the age of 18. And actually, a parent allowing their child to get tattooed knowingly under the age of 18 is putting the tattooist in a pretty awful position.

Over all, I think ITV missed an opportunity to have an intelligent, in-depth discussion around tattoos – to dispel some of the myths and preconceptions of tattoo and tattooed people. Jodie Marsh did manage to touch on the issue of personal narrative within tattoo, but far more could have been covered, how about the issues of tattoo as art? Aesthetics? And the reclaimation properties that so many tattooed women speak of?

The psychotherapist didn’t upset me as much as I thought she would, she did say that just because a person is tattooed wouldn’t necessarily mean she disliked them, she just doesn’t like tattoos – which is fair enough. She did say that she would be put-off employing a heavily tattooed person – she has her reasons, and although this is annoying for any tattooed person, I’m not sure I would want to be employed by somebody who I knew had these opinions anyway.

Oh, and by-the way, good news everyone! This Morning conducted their very own all-encompassing piece of research (a telephone vote, no less)…. The results?

Tattoos are Tasteful – 61%

Tattoos are Tacky – 39%

Phew! I for one am relieved 😉