“A great tattoo artist does not tattoo big or ugly hairy ones. This is one of the testimonies that are multiplying on social networks, especially on the Instagram page @balancetontatoueur. The goal: to identify and denounce sexist, grossophobic, racist and sexual assault. “For the end of the omerta, for fear to change sides, for this community to be safer. “
Since the launch of this account by a Parisian tattoo artist, last December, thousands of people have contacted her to tell about various violence, assault or unpleasant situations that occurred during a tattoo session. “I have been a tattoo artist for five years now and my clients have been telling me about their sessions with other tattoo artists for years, and some of them described to me facts that for me were real attacks”, tells “La Dépêche” the creator of this movement which prefers to keep its anonymity.
In a survey, “Liberation” met several tattooed people, almost all of the women. To tattoo her belly, “the guy made me get my jeans down to the bottom of my underwear,” says Héloïse, 38, director of a consulting company. “Of the ten tattoos before his 25th birthday, four were made in situations relating to sexual harassment or sexual assault”, underlines “Liberation”. And she is far from the only one.
To avoid remarks or attacks, many women turn to tattoo artists. “With a man, I would not really be comfortable for a piece on the thigh, I would be afraid that my body is judged”, says Melody, a 28-year-old Toulouse, to “Liberation”. So as not to feel embarrassed, she travels for each session the 250 kilometers that separate her from her tattoo artist in Montpellier.
A “feminist” mention in the artist’s biography also reassures some. Most of those questioned denounce an “omnipresent canon”: a young, white, thin and naked body.
Faced with these testimonies, the associations confirm that they do not offer a code of ethics recalling good practices. “These abuses must exist, inevitably, but no one has written to us about it. And is it our role to make a charter? “, Asks” Liberation “Tin-tin, president of the National Union of Tattoo Artists (Snat).
To counter the sexism and racism of the sector, some salons then decided to launch their own ethical charter, “benevolent” and intolerant of discrimination. “Liberation” reports that in Bordeaux, the contracts of the tattoo artists who reside at the Sibylles salon stipulate that “the service provider undertakes not to make any offensive racist, sexist, grossophobic, psychophobic, validist, transphobic”, at the risk of seeing “His services canceled immediately”.
As for victims of assaults by their tattoo artist, it can be difficult to demonstrate that there was no consent. For this, Me Jean-Bernard Bouchard, lawyer at the Paris bar advises to systematically record the session. “If we do not broadcast the recording on the internet for revenge, it is not illegal,” he concludes.