- Text by Liv Wynter
Bodies can so often be battlegrounds, particularly the bodies of women and gender non conforming people. We spend our lives having them policed: too big, too small, too black, too brown, too masculine, too feminine, too queer. It is hard to feel like our body belongs to us. Being a survivor of sexual violence can create some very complicated relationships between yourself and the skin you live in.
For me, tattooing has always been a way for me to be in control of my body, to take some ownership and feel powerful. To fall in love with a piece of skin that I previously loathed is a very romantic, and for me, a very real reason to get tattooed.
Even in 2019, it seems tattoo studios still have a lingering bad reputation. Most women and gender non conforming people who choose to get tattooed have to enter studios that feel intimidating and hyper-masculine – definitely not places where you feel confident to take your clothes off. Tattooing requires a lot of trust, so it needs to be done in a space where people are made to feel comfortable and secure.
That’s why, in 2015, Ashley Love started Still Not Asking For It – a feminist tattoo flash day based in America, which hopes to celebrate and bring together survivors of sexual abuse. And this year, I’m very proud that my studio Red Point Tattoo is hosting the London version on June 9th, featuring amazing artists from all across Europe.
The five female artists we will be hosting are Claudia de Sabe, Cloditta, Inma, Rizza Boo and Virginia of Black Garden Tattoo. We have also collaborated with jewellery designer Bloody Mary Metal for a special feminist fist charm, and put together a zine of poetry (by me).
All the proceeds are going to Solace Women’s Aid, a non-profit organisation that offers support to women and children who are escaping or living with abuse. For £52, Solace can cover the cost of a one night stay for a family seeking refuge. For £208, they can cover the cost of a four-night stay. For £500, they can fully furnish a home for a family who has been forced to begin a new life. Our aim is to raise £1500, which we should be able to do with your support.
Tattoo artist and co-owner of Red Point Tattoo, Claudia de Sabe, is working on the project alongside us. “When Ashley Love asked us to be involved, I was stoked,” she adds. “The fact that it’s not isolated but is a worldwide event is very powerful, and has the potential to really attract attention and make a difference within the tattoo community and beyond.”
“I come from Italy, a country where I have never felt equal to men, and where women’s rights are so basic it’s soul destroying. Awareness and ownership of our bodies is a topic that’s not talked about in the mainstream media or in school enough. The fact that talking about rape, abortion, or simply body image still provokes eye-rolling is proof of how much work needs to be done, and why we shouldn’t stop talking about it.”
Self-love takes many forms, and it isn’t just bath bombs from Lush. Sometimes it’s some positive pain, some sick flash, and entrusting your body to an incredible female artist in the name of solidarity. We’re hoping to raise a big chunk of money for Solace, so please come down, get tattooed, cop a zine, or just drop some money in a bucket. Love and rage!
Still Not Asking For It is happening on June 9th. Learn more about it on the organisation’s official website.