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Body piercings and tattoos: An ‘abomination’ in some societies

Do what you want to do, if you feel you want to have piercings or tattoos, go get them; don’t let people stop you from doing what you want to do”, Ines Rutayisire.

For us women, looking beautiful is priority; show us anything that will enhance our beauty and we will go for it, not even pain stands in the way.

When I was little, my mom had my ears pierced, by then though, it was not for beauty, instead; it was out of fear. There was a myth going around in my home village that if a child’s ears were not pierced, witches would haunt the child to offer him/her as a sacrifice as such kids were considered ‘pure’.

Boys too had their ears pierced: one ear, unlike girls who had both ears pierced. That’s how I have my only piercings on the body.

Present day, a lot is said about when a woman has body piercings, more so on parts/areas that are considered ‘un usual’.

The ‘witchcraft’ myth made ear piercings a normal thing for ladies, but nothing has made those on the; eye, tongue, chin, belly button, and on top of the ear ‘normal’.

In fact, piercing those body parts is tied to ‘prostitution’ and not beauty.
Some work places even go to extremes of not hiring people with the above mentioned piercings.

Ines Rutayisire is one of the ladies I admire, She ‘rocks’ her piercings and tattoos yet still goes about her career as a journalist at The New Times Rwanda.

I had a short conversation with her and she had this to say;

Which part on your body did you pierce first and why?

Ines: I pierced my ears first, I was sixteen years old and I did it myself because I always wanted to have body piercings.

What was your parents reaction since they were not behind you having your body pierced?

Ines: I was in boarding school when I got my first piercing, my mom had come to visit me when she saw it. Of course she was concerned but loved it which encouraged me to have more.

My dad on the other hand was so pissed that he wanted me to remove them but I told him they were permanent and nothing I could do about it. He cautioned me not to have more but I did and still do get more, with my fingers crossed each time that he never sees them.

How were you able to get employed with all those piercings and tattoos?

Ines: Fortunately, I have worked in places with very open minded people who think and see tattoos and piercings as a ‘cool’.

Do you think having body tattoos and piercings defines someone’s personality as ‘bad’?

Ines: Personally, I get piercings and tattoos to express myself: It is ‘art’ to me and every tattoo I have on my body has a meaning. So I don’t think they define who a person is because am not what most people ‘think’ I am.

Are there times you’ve been judged because of your piercings and tattoos?

Ines: Of course, but I ignore the judgements.

Do your ‘sources’ look at you any different from other journalists?

Ines: Currently, am not in the media full time but when I was, I used to hide them because there were times I had to cover news in big institutions, ministries and even the president’s office.

People there are ‘old fashioned’, they don’t see tattoos as something ‘normal’.

What’s your take on work places that decline hiring people because of their appearances?

Ines: Luckily, the next generation is going to be filled with ‘our’ generation so that narrative about tattoos not being ‘professional’ is soon

In the mean time, if ‘such’ places do exist, let them focus on some what the person has to offer/skills and not their tattoos or piercings.

Any final remarks?

Ines: Parents should not feel disappointed when their kids get tattoos and piercings. I’m a mother myself and if one day my daughter decides to get any of them, as long as she’s old enough, I would let her.

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