The Realities of Piercings & Tattoos: Why It’s Not Just a Sarah Lawrence Thing

The Realities of Piercings & Tattoos

Welcome back, lovers and academics alike! Or, for all you bright shiny first years, welcome home. Now that October Study Days are over, it’s time to get back to the grind. So I’d like to ring in the new school year with a look at the many rings, studs, bars, and ink that grace the beautiful students of this campus, and what it means to be pierced and inked.: to each of us, to your “future employers” (as the expression goes), and to the next generation.

“So, I want you to know, I never want to tell you what to do,” said my Mother Valentine, pre-internship interview, a finger pointed skeptically at my eyebrow piercing. “But is this really something you want to have be a part of you? You’re going to have to present yourself. Is that what you want them to see?”

I looked at her and I understood easily the place from which she was speaking: one of social standards, appropriateness, and total confusion as to how I got a bar implanted in my face to begin with. (A side note: this interview was with Vogue Magazine. To say the least, the stakes were high.) Yes, I could take it out, I could blow out my hair, and I could wear an outfit that screams fashion intern. But that is not what fashion is about, that is not what beauty is about, and that’s not what I’m about.

In fact, Yadim Carranza, the make up artist and current leading man of Dior, said it best: “High fashion is inspired by street style, NOT the other way around.” And he’s right. Where would the runway be without the sidewalk, or every unapologetic, unwavering human being who says, “this is what I want on my body, these are the summation of my experiences, the embellished beauty that transcends pain in the form of ink — this is what matters”? And while the relatively aesthetically open-minded nature of Sarah Lawrence College campus may encourage that, it does not need to be exclusive to this campus.

There will always be an exclusivist element to society that judges those who have altered their body in the name of whatever cause they seek, yes. But Sarah Lawrence and its students have the opportunity, in all their beauty, to induce change — even if just in the form of an interview. There is fearlessness in every mark we make on the world, and frankly, every mark we make on ourselves. So let’s celebrate that every once in a while, and step into the world with a peaceful, yet thriving, “fuck yeah” attitude.

All photos by Jenny Sharp.

Lauren Valentine (Fashion & Beauty Editor) is a sophomore. When she's not obsessing over her health or wandering New York City, she maintains the firm belief that one can never own too many pairs of pants. Her studies include German, International Socioeconomics, and various veins of Psychology. She hopes one day to achieve a well equipped yet unorthodox business platform--Sarah Lawrence style, of course.


  • Reply October 25, 2012


    There is something very intimate about these photos…beautiful!

  • Reply October 25, 2012

    Ari Jones

    Wonderful photos, wonderful article.
    I would add non-traditional hair choices to this article as well.
    Thank you for this lovely piece!

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