Reddit Reddit reviews Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community

We found 2 Reddit comments about Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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2 Reddit comments about Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community:

u/elseedubya · 191 pointsr/AskHistorians

Not a historian, technically speaking, but curious enough to find a few possible answers:

  1. The Heart & "Mom" tattoo as an icon apparently (according to this article) originated with Norman Keith Collins, a.k.a. "Sailor Jerry" whom I learned about here. The official site for this guy is here, though I linked right to the page where they explain symbolism behind several tattoos you might recognize, including the heart.

  2. From that same article I learned that "[t]here's also an age-old connection between country and mother—consider the very word motherland. So the mom image can sometimes symbolize not just affection, but work as a stand-in for the people and lifestyle the wearer wants to defend," according to the person who wrote this book.

    So that's why "mom" became a popular subject in tattoos; either you really did love your mother, or you were trying to convey the concept of stability, or you were using the concept of "mother" to represent everything you hold most dear.

    As for why they appeared on cartoon tough-guys, we can only speculate (without further, better historical evidence) that there were two reasons for that being so prevalent:

  3. The tough guy was supposed to look like he had a soft spot - the whole tough-guy/momma's-boy juxtaposition, ha ha.

  4. Sailors and military types in general were perceived to be very tough, and this particular tattoo was very popular among sailors and military types - which in turn were the biggest fans of tattoos outside of your run-of-the-mill thugs at the time cartoons for television or theaters were first being produced.

    That last bit I don't have sources for, but I hope my including it will inspire someone else better equipped to find some and back me up. I personally can't help but think of Popeye, but his tattoos were of anchors. Does anyone have examples of cartoons that actually show this tattoo?

    Edit: oops, put my "heart" in the wrong place.
u/reddit_is_retarded · 3 pointsr/tattoos