Tuesday, 19 July 2016

My Tattoo and You: The Opinion No One Asked For.

I've been part of the alt-scene since I was about 14 years old. I haven't seen my natural blonde hair since I was 15. I got my first piercing at 16, much to my parents disdain, and my first tattoo at 18. 

It's a phase, you'll grow out of it.

I turned 30 this month and it seems I'm still waiting to grow out of it.

Being a mosher in school caught me a lot of grief from bullies. My friends and I were often threatened or teased. Once I was followed from town to a friends house and had stones thrown at me the whole time. 

During the 90's there was a huge divide between 'moshers' and 'chavs', and the tension was often dangerous and in some instances fatal, like the tragic case of Sophie Lancaster. Sophie and her boyfriend were attacked by a mob of people in a park simply for being goths. As Sophie protected her unconscious boyfriend she was repeatedly kicked and stomped on the head, causing her to fall into a coma from which she never recovered. 

As with everything trends and cultures shift with more 'alt' fashions and music becoming more commonplace. Remember a couple of years ago when you could buy cross covered goth stuff in New Look? 

However, just because something is more commonplace doesn't mean that its wholly accepted. Tattoos are more popular than ever but you'll still struggle to find work with visible ones and hooooboy do people like to tell you how they feel about them. 

Women in the subculture have always been subject to derision by the masculine gatekeepers of extreme music and the tattoo subculture. It seems implausible that women would attend gigs because they enjoy the music and must surely be there either a) because their boyfriend is there or b) they are looking for a bloke. 

Like most of our culture it is dominated by men: film, music, sports to name a few. When women are seen participating it must be under mitigating circumstances and always open for criticism. The alt-scene is no haven from this, despite what some might lead you to believe. A friend of mine published an article calling for an end to the accepted rape culture and brutalisation fantasy within extreme music. She received a number of rape and death threats for it. 

Women are often mocked for their tattoo choices, with such ludicrous phrases like "tramp stamp" used to humiliate, with nothing said for the poor choices of their male counterparts. Woman in tattooing have to work extremely hard to be taken seriously. 

This is nothing new to me. Growing up within this subculture I saw the roiling misogyny that continues to plague it. But what I have noticed is, with the popularity of tattooing on the rise, the still evident pervasive attitudes towards people with tattoos, and specifically towards women, outside of the subculture.

An example of this recently was some vitriolic comments aimed at model Georgina Cox of FullerFigureFullerBust. Posing in a bikini on Lilly and Lime's Facebook, Georgina was subjected to rude comments about her body and her tattoos, and when trying to defend herself was accused of being rude. The hypocrisy.  Another example is a Facebook group I follow dedicated to vintage style I've seen instances of ladies sharing outfit photos only to have people's rude comments about their tattoos because it doesn't fully fit into the twee vintage aesthetic and also people have some really outdated and toxic assumptions about the type of people who get tattoos. 

We seem to be caught in this limbo of tattoos becoming more mainstream and still subject to moral criticism from previous generations where it was more taboo. 
It's just another means to view women as public property and to pass our opinion and make decisions about their bodies that in no way affects or involves us. Topless photos of David Beckham covered in tattoos wouldn't get anywhere near the same level of nasty comments as the incidents I mentioned previously.  People feel so entitled to their opinions, to women's bodies for consumption, that they feel so affronted when they don't fit the idea they had in their minds. 
If you don't like tattoos, don't get one. People with tattoos don't care, or make assumptions, about people that don't have them. 

These kinds of incidents are not just shaming, they're misogyny at work. You have no right to tell a woman her choices are disgusting when they affect no one so take a seat

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Discovering I'm a Tinglehead: ASMR and me.

If you're like me and you struggle to relax at night, or you feel anxious at times, this post might help you. I can't say for certain but I know that it's something that has helped me in recent times.

I often feel like I don't accomplish enough in the day, and I feel almost like a sense of guilt in that, then my mind races and plans things. It's like I struggle to let the day go and worry about what the following day may bring. I often need a kind of distraction, and when I was single and living alone I would often fall asleep listening to music.  

I recently discovered ASMR, or rather I found out the name for what I felt, recently from a friend on Facebook. She shared a video and out of sheer curiosity I watched it and found it really helped me to relax and even fall asleep. Looking into more videos I became pretty hooked. I found some that I didn't enjoy and some that I watched again and again.

What is ASMR? 

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. According to Wikipedia: "It signifies the subjective experience of 'low-grade euphoria' characterised by 'a combination of positive feelings, relaxation, and a distinct static-like tingling on the skin' (wiki)"

What is ASMR? by GentleWhispering

Knowing now what I do I think my first proper "tinglehead" moment was watching a hair treatment video when I was researching the brand I use. At the time my hair was in a right state and was having regular treatments to help repair it . I could imagine how it felt having hands gently massaging my scalp, the gentle warm water running over my hair, and for some reason watching the video helped me recall those feelings and I found it immensely relaxing.  

I've been exploring ASMR videos on YouTube, finding my 'triggers', finding out there are some things I don't like. I've realised how much I tap my nails on things when I pick them up, how much attention I paid on the way other people handle things with their hands, realising how much I truly benefit from gentle stroking on my back to help me sleep. 

Discovering these videos, this community, in such a short time has been so helpful in getting me to relax. It's an opportunity to remove myself from everything for a little while as it often requires me to watch and listen, as some triggers are visual as well as aural.

These are a couple of my current favourites. I find Ally's voice so lovely and soothing.

Whipped Sleepytime Rub DIY ASMR by ASMRrequests

The Herb Shoppe Binaural ASMR role play by ASMRrequests

ASMR videos really can be anything. Some are role play, as demonstrated above, some are literally just someone sitting and making sounds. The possibilities are endless and it's interesting discovering what your 'triggers' are. 

Life can be really hectic and shit sometimes and I think anything that helps you relax and feel good is worthwhile, no matter how bizarre or silly it might initially seem. I guess, for me, it's been a really effective form of self care, and knowing that there are people out there who feel the same way, kinda makes it really nice too. 

Do you experience ASMR? What are your 'triggers'?