Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Their Bodies, Their Selves

When my friend Al suddenly lost his wife — she choked to death — one of the ways he handled his grief was by getting tattoos. Bit by bit, his arms became covered with crude images freighted with superstition, representing his feelings of being cursed — disparate objects like a goat, a yin/yang symbol, and a pair of dice.

I thought of him today when I saw a woman on the street whose left arm was taken up with odd, kitchsy imagery that could have been taken from Keane paintings — big-eyed little girls and cute animals.

The sight of the woman reminded me that often when I see images of young women at pro-abortion demonstration, they boast numerous tattoos. I wondered: Do they have tattoos simply because liberal women are more likely to have them, or does their desire to mark up their bodies represent, as with my friend Al, a desire to punish themselves and in some way compensate for their loss?

A Web search turns up a brief blog post on the subject by an abortion-rights supporter, featuring a photograph of an arm tattoo depicting the angel Gabriel giving the Virgin Mary a coat-hanger abortion. While the tattoo recipient's face is not shown, the arm appears to be that of a woman. What could possibly motivate a woman to imprint such an image permanently upon her body is beyond my understanding. I only know that she must need prayers.

After Abortion notes a story of a woman who had the image of a fetus-as-angel tattooed on her arm after she had an abortion.

Something tells me that there's a connection between the increase in abortions after Roe vs. Wade and the increase in tattoos. In any case, I believe the devil is always happy when people deface their bodies, because they are defacing the image of God.