"Tramp Stamp"? How classy of you.

Update: I’ve been in touch with Tian (which was basically why I was waiting to make a final decision… which I meant to mention in the original post and totally forgot). Apparently “moderated” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing on Blogger than it does here — as it was set up to filter spam. Since he agrees with me that the comment was inappropriate, he has removed it. I’m keeping the original post below, although I no longer have any question on whether or not to keep it on my blogroll. Thank you all for your replies.


I’ve had a few qualms with Hanzi Smatter in the past when it’s come to women’s issues, but they were always minor enough to be outweighed by the good I see it as doing. You see, the purpose of the blog is to poke fun at the (mis)appropriation of Asian language (specifically Chinese and Japanese) for tatoos, products, and other items. It’s not exactly the hotbed for critical analysis of race relations or oppression, but I see it as fluff for a good cause.

Except, a recent post has made me rethink whether or not I want it on my blogroll. It’s not what Tian says, but rather what he has approved in the comments. For the link-phobic, the picture in question is of a woman who has a lower back tatoo.

The first one is from Pappi:

It reminded me of 貞 when I first saw it, maybe she’s aiming for “unfaithful” (as in “player” or “cheater”)? The location of the tattoo and the picture certainly don’t contradict that guess O.o

Although I wince at the stereotype that a lower back tatoo on a woman (it’s always a woman, you see) is slutty, that one itself wouldn’t be enough to cause a strong reaction from me. After all, it can be argued that the argument, while tasteless, is based on the tatoo and isn’t attacking the woman herself.

Emily’s comment, however, makes me wonder what Tian’s criteria is for moderation:

I can’t believe people are still getting tramp stamps. In addition to simply being ugly and skanky, having one is like wearing a sign around your neck that says I DO WHATEVER’S TRENDY.

Gendered slurs like “tramp stamp” and “skanky” are specifically attacking the woman herself, not commenting on the tatoo quality. In fact, they have nothing to do with the tatoo hanzi smatter at all, but are instead making a moral judgement on the woman in question, shaming her for being (assumedly) slutty, which of course is bad because good girls don’t enjoy sex.

I fail to see why this is an acceptable comment, and because Tian believes it is, I’m wondering if it’s worth my time (and my link space) to endorse his site anymore. Gender is not the only important issue, but I would be no more accepting of a feminist who allowed racist comments to be published unquestioned on her site. I don’t believe that you can fight one type of oppression and ignore the other one — even if the expressions differ, oppression is oppression and I don’t think you can rightfully battle one while endorsing another.

So, what do you think, folks? I’ve taken people off of my blogroll for less. In my position, what would you do?

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7 thoughts on “"Tramp Stamp"? How classy of you.

  1. Were it me, it would depend on whether Tian “endorsed” the message by publicly saying it was acceptable (I’m one of those link-phobics, so I haven’t checked), or just silently let the comment stand.

  2. If it’s a requirement that blogs in your blogroll fight the feminist fight all the time regardless of subject matter then yes, it’s certainly justification for removing Hanzi Smatter.
    That being said, not everyone has the energy to fight every battle against every form of oppression all of the time. That doesn’t make their fight for their corner of oppression any less valuable but hey, if you require of all your blogrollees to uphold your feminist beliefs then that’s your prerogative. Don’t feel bad about it.

  3. That being said, not everyone has the energy to fight every battle against every form of oppression all of the time.

    There’s a difference between not fighting oppression all the time and endorsing oppressive views. I was trying to figure out if Hanzi Smatter was the latter. In this case, Tian’s response made it very clear that he is not interested in having biogted comments on his blog. I’d also like to point out that with the exception of Cute Overload, all the other blogs I’ve removed were feminist blogs that engaged in oppressive arguments.

    So, you know, it’s not about fighting the “feminist fight” — it’s aboutrecognizing that oppression needs to be fought in all corners, even the ones that you personally don’t focus on.

  4. Yep – I get you. You were objecting because you thought he actively approved the comment, giving it his stamp of approval. I thought you were expecting (requiring?) him to engage in an off-topic debate on his own blog which, from your update, was not the case.

  5. I can’t stand the “tramp stamp” tattoos. But it’s got nothing to do with said woman’s sexual habits, as I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a “slut”. If I did, that would make me a hypocrite, as I’m a libertine myself. I’ve always believed that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and all that.

    I just hate tattoos period. On anyone. Male or female. I don’t have any and I don’t want any. I’m not particularly turned on by piercings all over the body either, and the growing practice of shaving every bit of pubic hair off creeps me out — I prefer women to look like women and not prepubescent girls.

    Of course, everyone has a right to do with their body as they wish, but that doesn’t stop me from being turned off by such things.

  6. Libertine: I don’t think anyone’s said you can’t be turned off by what you’re turned off by, or vice versa. Everyone’s got likes and dislikes.

    However, the implicit statement when it’s brought up is that one’s personal preferences are important and relevant enough to merit discussion. And that’s an awfully privileged assumption.

Comments are closed.