The Texas Library Association has a new fundraising item for its Disaster Relief Fund - The Tattooed Ladies of the TLA Calendar. The 20-month calendar features the inked artwork of library professionals from all around the state.
I always have mixed feelings towards variations on the pinup calendar. On the one hand, I'm sure these will sell well, and the Disaster Relief Fund definitely needs the money right now (not to mention that a year after recent hurricanes, many parts of Texas still have not recovered). On the other hand, the idea of pinup calendars in general bothers me - I don't like that one gender is giving themselves up to the gaze of the other. And yes, I know models consent to be in these calendars, but that doesn't mean that posing for one isn't problematic. (Just for the record, I am just as uneasy about male pinup calendars as I am about female pinups). I think that if half of the models were men and half were women, it really wouldn't bother me so much. It might not even bother me at all. Especially on a calendar like this, which is designed to showcase tattoos more than specific body parts. If the buyer is really more interested in the ink, then why should the model's gender matter?
But then on yet another hand, I like that this calendar glorifies tattooed women. When I was growing up, I was taught that only certain kinds of women got tattoos, and I did not want to be one of them. Of course, I later found that wasn't true, and now have three tattoos, planning for a fourth. The point is, I'm sure I'm not the only person who grew up learning similar lessons about tattoos and femininity. I like that this calendar shows that tattoos don't mean a woman is immoral - that she can be a professional, and that she's a philanthropist as well. I definitely give this calendar credit for messing with stereotypes.