Monday, November 8, 2010

Exotic Brutality :: the Decapitated Geisha Tattoo

I have always found it highly disturbing to see a slashed up, rotting Japanese woman's decapitated head tattooed onto anyone's body. But to be real...I see a whole lot of these on white bodies.

What is there about the violently tragic (and dead) East Asian woman?

I found this quote on

"a decapitated geisha symbolizes what one would do for love. the geisha only means is to be a servant of pleasure and never to feel love...the geisha falls in love with a buddist monk knowing the penalty for this would be death. the geisha takes the chance to feel what love is and in the end is caught and beheaded. She sacrificed herself to feel and know what love is."

Okay OKAY. Hell naw. Fucka.da.diss.... First of all geisha's are not servants of pleasure. I know ya'll watched that 'memoirs' movie or read that book, but please put that ish in the incinerator and swallow the FACT that Geisha's are actually a traditional art form.

And imma say this right now.
We are sold this Disney idea of romance and heterosexual love where we sacrifice all our wishes (Aladdin) our voice (the Little Mermaid) our family/heritage (Pocahontas) for external love.
You do not have to die for love. And if you feel like you do, there is something wrong with society not you, and a true fight for love would be to change that aspect of society.
We then see this scenario played out far too many times with a white man who takes advantage of the situation, leaving the woman victim. Hello Madame Butterfly? Hello Miss Saigon? Or is this femme dragonist just a bitter child of this stereotype?
Furthermore, there is a history of women of color viewed as permanent whores who are at the sexual disposal and violence of the dominant white male. It doesn't help that many white women romanticize this image and try to press this dangerous exoticism upon themselves.

And this is image is permanently tattooed onto these bodies.
Before you take up the decision to get a piece like this done, or any ethnic reference really, I ask you to do the research to see how your body and this image holds a place in current discourse and throughout history.


Anonymous said...

I believe you're views on decapitated geishas is wrong and close minded, it is the symbol for love and no they are not prostitutes, you're right, they did sell their bodies ONCE to pay for their kimono but never had sex again, otherwise they would be BEHEADED, that is the meaning, that a geisha would believe in love so much they'd knowingly ingage in intercourse with a man because she loved him.

The tattoo has NO sexual meaning and is not at all sexist or racist the tattoo even originated in japan, i plan on going to japan and getting one hand poked.

Please do not belittle people for tattoos simply because you dont agree with them.

Anonymous said...

Stop crying

Anonymous said...

agree to disagree, first comment has a point.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the artists featured here. Firstly, you may want to look into this properly before posting up and secondly, my tattoo is actually a zombie Geisha, her head still firmly attached.

Anonymous said...

Written by a woman...