I Can’t Tell If This is Offensive Or Just Stupid

According to Dlisted, Benji Madden of Good Charlotte has announced his intentions to get a tattoo of current girlfriend Paris Hilton. Believe it or not, that’s not the part that made me go O_o. I mean, getting a tattoo of your girlfriend is fairly dumb in my humble opinion (I don’t believe in even getting names tattooed on you unless they are the names of someone close to you who is deceased as a memorial, or the names of your children), but it’s really nothing offensive, even considering who his girlfriend is.

It was this quote from Hilton herself that made me go “Wait, what?”

He is going to get one of me but he won’t let me get one. He doesn’t like tattoos on women. He thinks I look pure.

…okay, so let’s get the Hilton-centric ranting out of the way. One: PURE, Benji? PURE? Did you miss the jail time and sex tape? Two: Benji, you are aware she already had a tattoo at one point that she’s since had removed, right? It was the name of her boyfriend at the time, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. See, kids, this is why you don’t get your boyfriend or girlfriend’s name tattooed on your body. Because there are these messy things called “break ups.”

But let’s get right down to what set me off. “…he won’t let me get one.”

Which brings up a whole NEW set of problems.

Like the idea of cultural double standards for body art on men and women’s bodies. I’ve run into it before from guy friends who basically used the same argument. “I don’t like the idea of a woman’s body being defiled like that, but look at the sweetass skull I got on my chest!” And yes, we can get into physiological and biological differences in the male and female body, but not one of those differences explains why a woman shouldn’t have a tattoo. Which brings us to…

…the cultural stereotype of women as something “pure.” The female body does just as many gross things as the male body, and a few tricks that are all our own. And I have to wonder, if Benji Madden thinks women are so “pure” what does he think about menstruation? See, this is where the problem tends to come in: a woman is pure until she starts bleeding from her crotch. Then she’s unclean for about a week before returning to purity again. If you’re going to claim the female body is pure, then you’ve gotta claim all of it’s fun little quirks are pure too. Including visits from our Aunt Flo.

Finally, the idea that men have sovereignty over the bodies of their wives and girlfriends. That they have the right to just say “No, you can’t do that to YOUR body.” It’s one thing when a guy says “I’d rather you don’t, and here’s why. But it’s your choice.” Hell, even if he leaves off that “your choice” thing it’s better than this. But Benji is making it clear that Paris’s body is his territory and he can tell her what she can and can’t do with it…and Paris is going along with it just fine.

And that’s what kicks me in the gut. I don’t ever look to Paris Hilton as a bastion of feminism, but like my issues with Twilight I don’t see this sort of thing in the media as a cause. I see it as a reflection of where society is. Women still allowing men to basically own their bodies because it’s just what girls are supposed to do is really disgusting. That a woman like Paris who is, for whatever reason, independently wealthy and could walk away from Benji without a thought and still be set for life would let someone order her around like that.

Ladies, I know we know better than this. Relationships should be built on a platform of equality, of both parties entering into it as joint partners,. That’s not to say men can’t be stereotypically masculine and women can’t be stereotypically feminine, that’s not saying that traditional gender roles are wrong for everyone. It’s just saying that both partners need to understand the expectations of the other, you need to be able to talk about things like this as equals, weigh each other’s opinions. And when it comes to matters of the body, be it body modification, surgery or choice issues, while both of you can express an opinion, it comes down to the owner of the body to make the final call. There is no right or wrong choice, there’s just your choice. But it should be YOURS.

Oh, and Benji? If you really don’t think a girl should have tats, you might want to change the lyrics to your band’s song “Riot Girl:”

She’s got Tattoos And piercings She likes Minor Threat, she likes Social Distortion
Might I suggest:
She’s gottiny dogsand no shameshe hates big words and house arrest bracelets?