Scripted skins: (th)inking about women's spiritually-inspired tattoos as embodied life narratives

Snooks, Gina D. (2015) Scripted skins: (th)inking about women's spiritually-inspired tattoos as embodied life narratives. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Theorizing the body as a space where subjectivity is materialized, in this thesis, I examine women’s spiritually-inspired tattoos as embodied life narratives. Broadly speaking, a primary goal of my research is to better understand ways in which women experience spirituality. More precisely, I am interested in the ways in which women enact experiences of contemporary spirituality through voluntary tattooing practices. By using a corporeal feminist lens that rejects the Cartesian mind-body dualism (Horner and Keane 1), I propose that some women use the intimate connections that they have with their bodies to express thoughts, beliefs, experiences and their pasts (Arp xiv). By keeping in mind that body art has the potential to narrate experiences of subjectivity (A. Jones 13), my central aim in this thesis is to conceptualize the ways in which inked flesh functions as a space for performative auto/biographical storytelling. Emerging from this, following Amelia Jones, my analysis presumes that body art is neither inherently critical nor inherently reactionary (14). Instead, in this iteration, I propose that tattoos are implicit and explicit expressions of women’s lived experiences of spirituality, which are intersubjective and multivalent. Tattoos, therefore, are polysemic narratives enacted contextually. In short, I argue that women’s spiritually-inspired tattoos potentially have profound meanings for the bearer which far exceed decoration (Hemingson 10).

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11562
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 137-146).
Keywords: Tattoos, Spirituality, Life Stories, Performative Storytelling, Embodiment
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: October 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Tattooing--Psychological aspects; Feminist spirituality; Subjectivity; Mind and body

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