I know a single mother who’s getting crazier by the day (quite common, I know). When she hit 35, she began the obligatory panic. First, it was gastric bypass surgery. Then, it was a new tattoo every month—she must have at least 10 by now. And then, of course, there were the daily selfies to social media that were screaming, “Over here! I’m single!!”
But then she jumped the shark.
About a month ago, she paid to get her 16-year-old daughter a tattoo. Not an ankle tattoo, mind you. This was a tattoo that covered the daughter’s entire back. Needless to say, when you get a tattoo on your entire back, the design is meaningless. It’s a tattoo that covers your back, nothing more. She punctuated the moment by posting the photos to social media, stating, “Like mother, like daughter. So proud of my girl!”
We’ve hit a new nadir in American culture—mothers getting for tattoos for their daughters. We all know that teenagers are impressionable. They’re susceptible to the influences of those around them—from their peers to their parents. So taking a child to get a tattoo, a decision that’s permanent, is a blatant disrespect to the child’s autonomy. It’s an abuse of authority.
I found the whole thing disgusting. However, my hunch told me that there were more cases to be found. So I put on my detective cap and looked online. As you might imagine, a quick google search is all it took…
Mother and Daughter Tattoos Are a New Fashion Trend
When you type “Mother and daughter” into google, the first item that pops up is “Mother and Daughter Tattoos.” Coincidence? Accident? You be the judge.
Also, there’s a push to give this trend a positive spin. Take a look at the articles on the first page of this google search:
- 50 Truly Touching Mother Daughter Tattoo Designs
- 21 Mother-Daughter Tattoos that Are Simply Breathtaking
- 15 Mother-Daughter Tattoos that Show the Unbreakable Bond
On the first page of the google search, every article gave this trend a positive push. And while not all the daughters were minors, I noted that several were. There were enough examples to label this a new cultural trend. And this trend should raise an obvious question…
Why would a mother want her daughter to have a tattoo?
Let me give this the ol’ college try…
Her Insecurity is More Important Than the Child’s Well-Being
Remember that tattoos are a fashion trend right now. Tattooed mothers are keenly aware of this. In the back of their minds, they worry that the fashion trend (like most fashion trends) will go out of style. When it does, they’ll look like idiots. Not only will they look like idiots to the general public, but they’ll look like idiots to their own children. This fact scares them.
So a tattooed mother will preserve her self-interest by sacrificing her child. How can the daughter criticize the mother’s tattoos when she has a tattoo herself? So the mother uses the tattoo as a kind of chain, forcing the child to remain forever obedient.
This tattoo can serve a double purpose if there was an acrimonious divorce between the mother and father. The tattooed mother is essentially “marking” the child, so that she will feel an affinity to her. The mother fears an inevitable revelation from the teenage daughter: i.e. that mom was not as noble as she portrayed herself, that Dad was lied about, etc. Note that a daughter is inclined to feel this way naturally, since daughters often have a strong love for their fathers. So a tattoo can be used as a tool by a divorced mother, pulling the daughter closer to the mother’s side of the broken nest.
She Wants to Lower Her Daughter’s SMV
The second reason relates to courtships. What tier-one man is going to marry a woman with a giant tattoo on her back? Not many. Once you know this answer, you realize the second reason that a single mother wants to tattoo her daughter. Misery loves company, and a single mother does not want her daughter to achieve marital bliss. If she does, then she will move farther away from her own mother, potentially viewing her as a failure. By tattooing her own daughter, she can keep her close to the broken nest—always making sure that she never escapes from loserville.
In short, a tattooed mother’s personal happiness is more important than the well-being of her child.
Tattooing a Minor is Child Abuse
When a mother gets a teenage daughter a tattoo, then this is a clear form of child abuse. I did a cursory review of child abuse guidelines, and a few items jumped out at me:
- Physical Abuse: “Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.”
Getting a tattoo can be a potentially harmful experience. Apart from the physical pain of receiving the tattoo, there are a host of potential health complications: allergic reactions, skin infections, and even bloodborne diseases like Hepatitis A and B. Currently, nobody monitors whether a teenager becomes sick after receiving a tattoo. If the child does, then charges should be pressed.
- Emotional Abuse: “Exploitation or corruption of a child.”
I think that the child is clearly being exploited or corrupted here. They are being influenced into a lifetime decision to assuage the ego of an insecure or irresponsible parent.
Tattooed mothers should be looking to get their tattoos removed; not looking to tattoo their children. But, like so many ignorant people, they double down on the narrative instead of working on self-improvement.
By doubling down on this narrative, they are guilty of physical and emotional abuse. They are supposed to provide a positive Weltanschauung for their offspring, giving them tools to be successful wives and mothers. Instead, they influence them to paint their bodies like a freeway underpass. And all so in the future, they will be a failure in life—just like good ol’ mom!
Twenty years from now, they can share Cymbalta with one another.