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Who Said You Could Touch Me?

June 18, 2010

I have tattoos. Visible tattoos. Quite a few of them. “Okay,” you’re thinking. “Big deal; so do plenty of other people; this isn’t the 1950’s where you’re scandalous for having some body art.” Yet despite the modern commonality, I understood when I got them that sometimes people would stare or want to see them, and I accepted this as a downside of having tattoos.

But I want to make one thing clear – just because I have tattoos does NOT mean you can touch or grab me without permission. And this applies to all unwarranted physical contact in general, tattoo-related or not – I use tattoos as an example because of how constantly bombarded I am with someone suddenly grabbing my arm, lifting the sleeve of my shirt to see, turning my head to the side, trying to twist my arms even further, turning my hands over, all without consent. While I am very flattered that they are interested in my tattoos, the flattery is overridden by the immediate discomfort at being grabbed.

You do not have a right to someone else’s body without  their permission, period. Some people are more comfortable with physical touch than others, but once again, that does NOT mean you are allowed to make it about yourself if someone isn’t comfortable with your probing hands or even something you may consider as simple as a desire to hug someone you just met. It is not rude of someone to be uncomfortable with unwarranted physical contact. It is, however, quite rude to refuse to accept this. Personal space is not a joke or something that your self-entitlement outweighs, however good your intentions were.

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