Abby LeClercq is a sophomore telecommunications journalism major writes "Abstract Thinking" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was tattooed for the first time on April 13, 2017. I was 17 years old, and I had just left my grandmother’s funeral.
My mom drove the 20 minutes to the tattoo parlor while I scrolled through Pinterest searching for the perfect design to represent the most strong-willed woman I had ever met. I finally decided on a small pink rose with a stem that spelled out the words “I love you to the moon and back.”
This was her favorite flower and the saying was one that she would constantly repeat to me and my siblings. The entire process took about 45 minutes and left me with an eight inch permanent flower on my left forearm.
Since then, I have been tattooed two more times, one on my 18 birthday of a turtle on the back of my neck, symbolizing longevity and persistence. The last was six months later, and it was the most impulsive decision of my life. I had gone back to the parlor for a touch-up on my turtle and came out with a tattoo on the right side of my ribs that read “GRL PWR”.
These six simple letters sparked such a controversy in my life and really opened my eyes to the different perceptions of feminism in our culture.
I was met with such a wide array of reactions that I immediately started to regret etching something so taboo onto my body. But I have quickly learned that it’s not the tattoo that was causing all the negativity, it was the message behind it.
When searching the word “feminism” on Google, the definition pops up as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” But then scrolling down two more sites, we see that Urban Dictionary has a completely different entry of feminism being “the radical notion that men are not people” or the “dehumanization of men for political gain."
Through this one simple search, multiple sides of this social issue are presented. And to an extent, both of these are true. Feminism isn’t just one straight definition that can be conveyed through one message.
There are feminists that would love nothing more than to see all men burn in Hell. There are also the feminists that are calling for equality of all sexes and genders globally. And there are probably so many more different sects of this word that not everyone could possibly begin to understand.
All of these definitions were presented to me as I showed off my new ink. The women all loved the idea and threw words of support and approval at me. The men were a different story completely. It was more of a split honestly.
There was the group that celebrated the message, and then there was the group that seemed to think that the black words spelled out “I hate men.”
The latter group shocked me more than anything else because I was raised in a home that preached acceptance and equality. The notion that feminism stood for hate and inequality for some people took me by surprise. Because, to me, this was a call for equality of all, regardless of race, gender or any other social issue that could be thrown our way.
What I have learned from this experience is that these preconceived ideas are much like tattoos in the way they are etched into our brains. We are taught to think a certain way through our years, even if it’s unintentional, and we apply these teachings to our everyday life.
Whether it be our taste in music, our views on culture and social issues, we can’t judge people for their opinions on things that will continue with or without us.
Feminism will remain despite the people who view it as an anti-male political ruse. It will change and continue to stir the public opinion because that is the purpose of the idea, to make a global difference and create equality in places where hope seems nonexistent.
So we will persist, one tattoo at a time.