Sexual Harassment, Tattoos, and Capitalism


I’m a 28-year-old woman who has been a registered Libertarian since I was registered to vote.  I worked in social services for four miserable years–and I still have people tell me that it’s not the fault of government intervention that poverty perpetuates itself–but that’s another article for another time.  This is an article about capitalism.

Unfortunately for me, I have the look of someone who frequents Tumblr.  I’m heavily tattooed, overweight (though I can still fit through doorways, go me), and wear big dorky glasses.  I look like a woman who might own a “Down With the Patriarchy” t-shirt and use the word “privilege” unironically.  I’m also married (four years!) and believe in monogamy.  The truth is, I don’t give two shits how people perceive me, but a recent incident has made me reflect on my gender and how it effects how I move through life.

I am in the middle of getting a half-sleeve tattoo done.  I’m working with a new artist, a fairly young fellow who expressed a lot of interest in the project.  Because I have to have the piece completed over a few sessions, we message each other over Facebook when changes need to be made.

Thing is, in addition to drawing political comics, I also draw erotic art.  When my tattoo artist realized this, he must have gotten the wrong impression and propositioned me sexually, even going so far as to ask what I would do to “make it up to him” when I wouldn’t immediately go to where he was and do–whatever.

“I’m married,” I told him.

A few hours later (when he had sobered up), he apologized and recognized how unprofessional his behavior was.  He was very afraid of having offended me, but he really should have been concerned by how much he disappointed and frustrated me.  One puts a certain amount of trust in a tattoo artist.  After all, they are putting a permanent mark on you that is (or should be) distinctly theirs.  This puts me in a difficult spot.  Most tattoo artists are reluctant to finish another artist’s work, and obviously, I have reservations about continuing to work with this artist.

I imagine a lot of liberal women, and especially third wave feminists would be morally outraged.  What, he thinks because I draw dicks and have tattoos I’d be up for anything?  But the only thought that I had was, “Damn, I’m gonna have to do a lot of awkward legwork to fix this.”

In a world where the courts can force small businesses to make cakes for gay weddings, I have a lot of power as a so-called “victim” of sexual harassment.  I can ruin this guy’s career with a single complaint, and hell, some would even say I’m entitled to some free ink, right?  (From someone else, of course.)

Fuck that.  Did this guy do something so terrible that I should do that to him?  I don’t think so, but I can choose to spend my money with another artist, if I can find one who will take me.  If I have to explain why I’m switching artists, I will be discrete and not name any names.  You see, I believe losing the money it would cost to do a half-sleeve on somebody as well as the loss of the opportunity to add to your portfolio is damaging enough for a young artist.

Money talks more than any yelp review or bitchy Tumblr post.  And being a woman who experienced an unwanted sexual advance entitles me to exactly nothing.

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"I once shot a man just to watch him die. Then I looked away, and missed it."