Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tattoos: Reflective of Me or The Media?

After going to John Mayer's concert last July of 2008 in San Jose, my respect level for him as a guitarist increased exponentially. I was in deep awe of his ability to play the guitar while it was rested on the floor and he was kneeling over it. But beyond his guitar playing, the one other thing that really struck me was his tattoos - specifically the one on his right forearm. There was something about the rectangular shaped tattoo that really drew me into the appeal of it and so much so, that one of the first things I did when I came home from that concert was to find a tattoo similar to that but was not permanently stamped onto my arm. Not long I discovered Henna tattoos, which were temporary tattoos that originated from Indian culture and have been popularized in mainstream society.

I never got the tattoo up until recently and after going through the thrill of having a pseudo-tattoo imprinted on my arm, shaped rectangularly and along my forearm, I (in all honesty) realized how big of a poser I truly was. But in addition to that, I also realized how much media really impacts my decisions and in my influences in virtually any form of fashion. In this particular case, it mirrors the concept that Maira discusses of how media (i.e. pop, hip hop music) influences popular culture and defines what is then "cool" (Maira, 2000). While having this tattoo on my arm was both a mimicry of John Mayer, it was still original in the sense that no one else in my network of friends and friend's friends had such a style, thus giving my image a sense of uniqueness that plays on both the idea of being both visibly unique and similar simultaneously that Kawamura discusses. (Kawamura, 2005) These justifications that I constantly made about this tattoo was merely a justification of how I was pulled into the marketing and plan of the media.

Overall, this experience adds another aspect of the Compact Challenge for me to consider. While I have looked into used products and spending less on things that are not necessary, I also need to keep considering how media influences my spending as well, and how that effects my choice of style, which in some cases inevitably effects how much you need to spend to attain what you want.

Hugo Da Rosa - Blog #6
Sources: Sunaina Maira - "Henna and Hip Hop"
Yuniya Kawamura - "Fashion-ology"
Image sources:

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