FREE PRIORITY SHIPPING ON ORDERS $50+
humanistbeauty-logo

All About Rumi

You’ve probably heard of the renowned ancient spiritualist, Rumi, but who was he? Maulana Jalaluddin (“Glory of Religion”) Rumi, most commonly known as ‘Rumi’, was a Persian poet, an Islamic dervish, and a Sufi mystic. He articulated his spiritual journey through poignant verses and expressive poems that are now quoted across the globe.

Rumi’s poems have been translated into many languages and transposed into various formats. His poetry creates the basis for an abundance of classical Iranian and Afghan music.1 Additionally, Rumi’s works have influenced the literary traditions of the Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Chagatai, Urdu, Bengali, and Pashto languages.2 While his pieces are world-famous, many aren’t familiar with Rumi’s life, the relationships that inspired his work, nor his path to enlightenment.

A portrait painting of Rumi

Pictured: Rumi
Source: The New York Times

Rumi’s Early Life

Rumi was born on September 30th, 1207 to a wealthy, prominent family.3 His birthplace is reported to be in Balk, which is in present-day Afghanistan. Bahaduddin Walad, Rumi’s father, was a sultan, theologian, jurist, and mystic. When the Mongols invaded Central Asia between 1215 and 1220, Rumi’s family and a group of disciples ventured westward for safety.

Some say that during this journey, Rumi met one of the most famous mystic poets, Attar, in the city of Nishapur. He recognized Rumi’s spiritual eminence and gave him his Asrarnama, a book about the entanglement of the soul in the material world.4 This account is not widely agreed on by Rumi scholars.

Rumi’s family was called to Konya in 1229. Here, Rumi’s father taught at one of the madrasahs, or religious schools, until he died in 1231. His position at the madrasah was inherited by Rumi, who was 25 at the time.

During Rumi’s time at the school, one of his father’s disciples, Burhanuddin Tirmadhi, trained him in Shariah and Tariqa. Shariah is the religious concepts of Islam, or essentially, the law. Tariqa is the Muslim spiritual path towards direct knowledge (ma’rifah) of God or Reality (haqq). In the 9th and 10th centuries, though, it referred to the spiritual path of Sufis, or mystics.

In 1232, Rumi returned to Konya and is said to have taken 3 successful Chella (40 days of fasting, retreat, and meditation) after Burhanuddin told him he needed to master “the hidden sciences.”5 Soon after, Rumi began to serve as a reputed religious scholar in Konya.

In Rumi’s 30s, he would meet Shams Tabrizi; an encounter that would completely change his life and transform him into an ascetic. Their connection is often misunderstood and misquoted, but it is one of the most important chapters in Rumi’s life.

Shams Tabrizi and Enlightenment

In 1244, Rumi came across a wandering dervish named Shams Tabrizi. Shams was known to be an antisocial and blunt yet powerful spiritual wanderer.6 His nickname was ‘The Bird’ due to his nomadic lifestyle and the idea that he could transport his essence or fly to any place at will.7

Shams was looking for a student who would absorb and spread his profound spiritual-philosophical knowledge, so he took Rumi under his wing. The two spent a total of 40 days secluded in Konya.8 During this time, Shams encouraged Rumi to reorient from a path of knowledge to one of love and truth. Rumi vowed to abide by The 40 Rules of Love and thus became enlightened.9

Excerpts of The 40 Rules of Love:

  1. “How we see God is a direct reflection of ourselves.”
  2. “The path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head.”
  3. “You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church.”
  4. “Intellect and love are made of different materials.”
  5. “Most of the problems in the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings.”

You can read The 40 Rules of Love here.

Shams’ Disappearance

Shams’ lower social class status caused tension among Rumi’s prominent followers. One day, Shams mysteriously disappeared. Some believe that he was killed by either Rumi’s students or Rumi’s son in a fit of jealousy.10

Shams’ disappearance caused Rumi to dive into a deep state of grief. He coped with the pain of separation through dance, music, and poetry. The poems he wrote during this grieving phase is known as Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi (The Words of Shams of Tabriz). Rumi then set out to look for his friend, Shams, but he soon realized:

“Why should I seek? I am the same as
He. His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!”11

 With this realization, Rumi moved on with his life and eventually found other companions, such as Salahuddin Zarkub and Husamuddin Chelebi. It was Husamuddin, though, whom Rumi recited the Masnavi to during the last seven years of his life. There are 6 books in the Masnavi, each consisting of 4,000 verses. The 6th book remains unfinished.

Pictured: Shams Tabrizi
Source: Feeling Buddaful

Rumi’s Following

For 800 years, Rumi’s words have inspired, consoled, and comforted people of all ages, origins, and walks of life. In recent popular culture, Coldplay’s Chris Martin read poems written by Rumi throughout his divorce to Gwyneth Paltrow to lift his spirits, and he even wrote a Coldplay track that features Coleman Barks, a Persian Poet, reciting one of Rumi’s poems. Rumi is also reported to have aided the spiritual journeys of other celebrities such as Madonna and Tilda Swinton.

Love for Rumi

A research study administered by the Rumi Network sought out explanations as to why Rumi is still so popular today. The study asked 50 participants to briefly explain why Rumi meant so much to them. Responses include:

  • He is not only intellectual but heartfelt. He caters to their hearts, instincts, and emotions rather than purely on their intellects.
  • His poetry has many levels. The more they learn about Rumi and his life, the more they appreciated his depth.
  • They find the sense of unity in his poems to be alluring.
  • After reading his poems, they feel as though he is a friend.
  • They associate themselves with him and reading his poetry is a personal process.
  • Every time a Rumi poem is recited, they feel as if Grace is descending.
  • He is akin to a lover.
  • His expressiveness enables participation in Rumi’s own internal process.
  • He is like a spiritual guide.
  • His poetry forms a cultural bridge.
  • Even those that don’t like poetry love reading Rumi.

Rumi composed over 70,000 verses of poetry focusing on varied and diverse topics. Many of his pieces cover expressions of love and desire, while others dive into philosophical subjects. His work has a universality that appeals to everyone, which is why Rumi’s influence continues to reach and inspire people from one end of the globe to the other.

Rumi Quotes to Brighten Your Day

If you’re seeking enlightened words, here are some Rumi quotes that may help bring light, love, and inspiration while also expanding the mind. Enjoy!

“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

“Goodbyes are for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.”

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

“The cure for pain is in the pain.”

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”

“Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.”

Humanist Beauty has included an inspiring Rumi quote inside its Herban Wisdom Facial Oil package to bring you even more peace and tranquility with each use:

 “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

Do you have a favorite poem or quote by Rumi? If so, please share in the comments below.

If you are new to Rumi, take a moment to read some of his quotes here, and let us know which ones inspire, invigorate, or empower you.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi#:~:text=Rumi’s%20poetry%20forms%20the%20basis,Mohammad%20Hashem%20Cheshti%20(Afghanistan). [1] [2]

https://www.rumi.net/about_rumi_main.htm [3] [6] [7]

https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/blog/cultural-cross-sections/attar-sufi-poet-and-master-rumi-sholeh-wolpe [4]

https://www.kyotojournal.org/fiction-poetry/master-rumi-the-path-to-poetry-love-and-enlightenment/ [5]

https://www.scoopwhoop.com/Shams-Tabrizi-The-Man-Who-Mentored-Rumi [8]

https://en.irna.ir/news/84056598/Shams-Tabrizi-mentor-of-Rumi [9]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shams_Tabrizi [10]

https://rumi.arvindkatoch.com/2016/05/rumi-quote-image-why-am-i-seeking-i-am.html [11]

 

Single-Use Items Need to Go

The convenience of single-use items comes with a massive environmental cost. Unknowingly, your day is probably filled with single-use items that will eventually fill landfills and the ocean. The disposable coffee cups you grab in the morning from your local shop are made with hard-to-recycle materials such as styrofoam, polyethylene, or polypropylene. And the plastic straws? They’re just as dreadful for the environment.

We are producing over 380 tons of plastic every year, and it’s estimated that 50% of that is for single-use purposes.1 However, other materials besides plastic, such as paper, cardboard, styrofoam, and more, are just as bad. It’s time to become more aware of these materials and the single-use items we use regularly. That way, we will help to create a more circular economy for a far more sustainable future.

The Truth Behind Single-Use Plastic Items

Around 40% of single-use plastics are consumed and then discarded.2 Additionally, between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic is estimated to end up in the ocean every year. Single-use plastics need hundreds of years to break down in landfills. Disposable plastic items, such as plastic straws, coffee stirrers, food packaging, bags, and water bottles, never break down completely.3 Instead, they degrade and become microplastics. Plastic has an abundance of negative effects on the environment:

Wildlife Is Suffering

Every year, animals are killed by plastic. Approximately 700 species, even some that are endangered, have been affected by the material.4 Also, more than 100 aquatic species have been found with microplastics inside them, which can lead to pierced organs or digestive tract issues that can potentially lead to death.

Many seabirds, turtles, fish, and marine mammals are found with plastic bags or fishing gear in their stomachs. Currently, marine litter is 60% to 80% plastic, leaving these animals to constantly be ingesting toxic seawater that is full of chemicals from plastic decomposition.5

Our Oceans Are Full of Trash

The oceans are filled with trash, especially single-use plastic items. Our throw-away lifestyle is negatively affecting almost all areas of our ecosystem, especially the ocean.

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean, which is equivalent to one truckload dumped into the ocean every minute of the day. Currently, unless it’s burned, almost every piece of plastic that’s ever been created still exists today. When these plastics enter the ocean, their effects can be felt for centuries.6

The Pacific Trash Vortex, which is in the North Pacific Ocean, holds an exceptionally high concentration of single-use plastics that have been trapped by currents. It is estimated to be twice the size of Texas, and according to research, its contents are rapidly accumulating.

A map of the plastic trash vortex

The Span of the Pacific Trash Vortex. Source: Wikipedia

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are No Joke

When disposable plastics degrade in the environment, they emit greenhouse gasses. After the plastic is exposed to sunlight, it produces methane and ethylene. These two gasses are detrimental to the environment. It is reported that emissions from the life cycle of plastic accounts for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.7 Once released, these gasses can be toxic and have adverse effects on the animal and plant habitat.

It is estimated that in 2050, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from plastic could grow to more than 2.75 billion tons. Additionally, this also means that plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget,” which is equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.8 The plastic binge we’ve been on is threatening the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

Source: WWF

Other Harmful Single-Use Materials

Single-use items aren’t always packaged in plastic. There is a multitude of other unsustainable materials that are also heavily used and just as detrimental to the environment. A few of these materials that you likely come across daily are:

  • Cardboard: Think about how many boxes you receive on your doorstep step every month. It’s probably more cardboard than you think. Cardboard comes from wood pulp, which contributes to methane emissions while breaking down.9 Plus, imagine all of the trees cut down to create cardboard. Additionally, those juice, milk, soup and other liquid-filled cardboard packages we buy are lined with plastic or wax. This helps them retain the liquid without breaking down, but unfortunately renders the packages unrecyclable.
  • Paper: A paper bag takes 4 times the amount of energy to produce than a plastic one. Also, the energy required for paper is significantly greater than that needed to recycle the same weight of plastic.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam is a trademarked brand name that has come to refer to the material made from expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) or plastic foam. Styrofoam doesn’t break down properly, as it takes around 500 years to decompose.10
  • Aluminum Foil: Many food products and face masks are packaged using aluminum foil. Clean aluminum foil can be recycled, however much of the foil packaging that is used for personal care tubes, wipes, sheet masks, frozen foods, snacks, and coffee is multilayered with plastic fused to the aluminum. Some packaging is made of up to seven layers of plastic and foil. Currently, there is no machinery to separate these layers, so it becomes completely unrecyclable.
  • Glass: While glass includes some natural materials, it also requires sand. Unfortunately, we are running out of sand around the world. When these elements are removed from wildlife habitats, ecosystems can be disrupted. Glass production also releases carbon into the atmosphere.11

A chart showing the top countries that consume single-use plastic. China is #1, the US is #2. Other countries are far below.

Source: Financial Times

What Are The Most Offending Single-Use Items?

Avoiding extra waste is key to reversing the environmental crisis we are currently facing. It is hard to avoid single-use items these days; however, many companies are creating innovative alternatives. By becoming aware of the negative impacts of single-use packaging and how commonly we succumb to them, the change can begin.

Here are a few of the worst offending single-use items and their alternatives:

Plastic Water Bottles

Did you know that around 25% of bottled water is actually just tap water?12 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. And for each bottle, it takes 1,000 years to fully break down. As they decompose, they leak harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Alternatives: Opt for a reusable water bottle and invest in a tap filter at home or a filtering jug. Check out this reusable water bottle that is made out of 50% recycled material!

Paper Coffee Cups

Each paper cup, taking into account the paper, the sleeve, the production, and shipping, emits around 0.11 kilograms of CO2.13 Additionally, paper cup production results in ecosystem degradation, a reduction of the planet’s carbon absorption capacity, and the loss of trees. 4 billion gallons of water are wasted every year to produce single-use cups and enough energy to power 54,000 homes.14

Alternatives: Bring your own reusable travel mug to your favorite coffee shop in the mornings. Here’s one that is insulated and has a handle so the barista can pour your drink of choice with ease.

Disposable Utensils

It is estimated that in the United States alone, 40 billion plastic utensils are wasted every year. Plastic utensils, even when put in the recycling bin, don’t often get recycled because of food contamination and incompatibility with sorting equipment due to their small size and light weight.15

The #CutOutCutlery campaign is asking many businesses, such as Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats, to include an option on apps for customers to decide if they want utensils included with their delivery. This would make opting out of disposable utensils the default choice.

Alternatives: There are lots of biodegradable utensils available, such as this set that’s made out of 100% untreated bamboo that’s cultivated without pesticides and fertilizers. The utensils are also BPA-free and recyclable.

Menstrual Products

Around 20 billion tampons and pads are dumped into the landfill every year. Conventional pads contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags! Additionally, the polyethylene plastic in pads can take hundreds of years to decompose.16

Alternatives: Invest in reusable pads. Try grabbing some from Rael, which is a great mission-driven brand. You can also try a menstrual cup from DivaCup if you aren’t a fan of pads.

Plastic Straws

You’ve probably seen the viral video of the sea turtle that had a plastic straw stuck in its nose. It was horrible to see, but it probably made you rethink using plastic straws. As it is, 500 million straws are used daily in the United States.17 Due to the chemicals that most straws are made of, they can’t be recycled. Additionally, the majority of plastic straws are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally by bacteria and other decomposers into non-toxic materials.

Alternatives: FinalStraw created an innovative alternative to plastic straws by making a reusable silicone and stainless steel hybrid straw. It also collapses to make keeping it on hand easier.

Tips to Avoid Single-Use Items

Making simple swaps, like purchasing a reusable water bottle, coffee container, or straw, can spare the environment tons of unsustainable waste each year. Here are a few tips for ridding your life of single-use items for good:

  • Always have reusable bags on hand, especially for grocery shopping.
  • Cook at home more often to avoid plastic take-out containers.
  • Buy in bulk to keep away from individually packaged items.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transportation to buy items and avoid unnecessary packaging used during shipping.
  • Ask for non-plastic alternatives at restaurants.
  • Avoid plastic wrap by using reusable containers to keep your food fresh.
  • Speak out and let companies know that you care about packaging!

We’ve Signed the #StopSingleUse Petition

The Human Beauty Movement and Humanist Beauty have had the last straw. We’ve signed the #StopSingleUse petition and pledged to not sell or distribute any items that are used once and thrown away, such as sheet masks, pads, wipes, sample packets, and other single-use products. We are very aware of how single-use items negatively impact the environment and are actively striving for a cleaner, more sustainable planet.

Join us and Credo Beauty, the creator of the petition, to get rid of the items we use for minutes and then toss in the trash. Sign your name here to show your support.

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+many+plastics+are+used+yearly+for+products&rlz=1CAZLOS_enUS930&oq=how+many+plastics+are+used+yearly+for+products&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160.10495j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 [1]

https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/10-worst-single-use-plastics-and-eco-friendly-alternatives#gs.3q5ser [2]

https://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20190107/ask-scientist-why-is-it-so-hard-to-decompose-plastic#:~:text=Most%20plastics%20in%20use%20today,bacteria%20cannot%20break%20them%20down. [3]

https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-018-0115-3 [3]

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/ [4]

https://plastic-pollution.org/ [5]

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/chart-of-the-day-this-is-how-long-everyday-plastic-items-last-in-the-ocean/ [6]

https://theconversation.com/plastic-warms-the-planet-twice-as-much-as-aviation-heres-how-to-make-it-climate-friendly-116376 [7]

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/15/single-use-plastics-a-serious-climate-change-hazard-study-warns [8]

https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-018-0115-3 [9]

https://sciencing.com/facts-about-landfill-styrofoam-5176735.html#:~:text=According%20to%20Washington%20University%2C%20Styrofoam,major%20ecological%20impact%20is%20great. [10]

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17583004.2018.1457929?journalCode=tcmt20#:~:text=Glass%20is%20one%20of%20the,large%20quantity%20of%20CO2%20emissions.&text=CO2%20emissions%20from%20fossil%20fuel,potential%20exists%20for%20emission%20reduction. [11]

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20an%20estimated%2025,be%20relatively%20clean%20and%20pure. [12]

https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/storm-in-a-paper-cup#:~:text=According%20to%20one%20study%20on,about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [13]

https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/storm-in-a-paper-cup#:~:text=According%20to%20one%20study%20on,about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [14]

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauratenenbaum/2019/07/16/plastic-cutlery-is-terrible-for-the-environment-and-we-dont-need-to-have-it-delivered/#:~:text=Some%20estimates%20put%20the%20number,put%20it%20in%20the%20recycling. [15]

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sustainable-living/plastic-periods-menstrual-products-and-plastic-pollution#:~:text=One%20estimate%20is%20that%20pads,)%20and%20polypropylene%20(PP)  [16]

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MGVXFWJ?tag=dotdashtreehu-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1&ascsubtag=5087056%7Cn057b7a156a374946b49aa4bf9af0226522 [17]

Tattoos and Taboos

How do you feel about tattoos? Whether you love them, like them, or loathe them, tattoos hold a prominent place in human history. For thousands of years, artwork has been inked on bodies for everything from religious markings to protection and even to mark people as criminals or as lower-class citizens. In recent years, tattoos have become unique art forms of self-expression. On one hand, tattoo artists collaborate with their subjects to create highly personal designs. On the other hand, individuals become living, breathing, walking canvases for the art they commission.

There’s a whole lot of antiquity in the origin of tattoo art. Historical texts and archaeological sites show the practice of human tattooing dates back thousands of years in many different cultures. Specialized tools for tattooing have been found in prehistoric sites around Portugal, Scandinavia, and France. Recently in North America, two ancient, sharpened, pigment-stained turkey bones were discovered suggesting that Native Americans practiced tattooing between 5,520 to 3,620 years ago. This discovery would mark the world’s oldest known tattooing tools found.1

A Brief Cultural History of Tattoos

Ӧtzi the Iceman is a mummy dating back to the 5th-4th millennium BC2. He was found in the Ӧtz Valley of the Alps with a whopping 61 tattoos, mostly consisting of parallel lines that ran down different areas of his body. Scientists believe that these lines could have been ingrained for pain relief or acupuncture3. Additionally, the Mummy of Amulet from Ancient Egypt and the mummies of Pazyryk, Siberia, both dating back to the 2nd Millenium BC, also confirm that tattooing was known very early in human history in varying cultures.

15 images of tattoos found on Ӧtzi the Iceman

Pictured: Ӧtzi the Iceman’s Tattoos Source: Live Science

Ancient Ink

Here’s a summary of tattoo art significance across ancient cultures:

  • Egypt: Tattoos were predominantly only worn by women but were commonly a symbol of lower class or the mark of a prostitute.4 In contrast, tattoos were also used as religious symbolism and as a form of healing.
  • Rome and Greece: Tattoos were more dynamic in these civilizations. They were used as marks of dedication to certain gods or goddesses, to signify one’s profession, or to symbolize servitude (“branding”). Some were even believed to increase fertility!5 However, when Christianity arose in Europe, tattoos became viewed as barbaric, and so the practice waned.
  • China: Tattooing in China is known as Ci Shen (or Wen Shen), which means to “puncture the body.” Throughout Chinese history, tattooing has been seen as undesirable or a defamation of the body and was commonly used to mark criminals.6 Tattoos used to punish criminals were called Ci Pei, meaning “tattoo/exile.”
  • Japan: Much like China, Japan used tattoos to mark criminals as well as those lower in the caste system, making these individuals easily distinguishable. Certain establishments even banned those with tattoos, such as public pools and hot springs.7 In recent decades, members of the Yakuza have embraced the idea of being tattooed as a criminal. This has further progressed the negative stigma within the culture.
  • Korea: In ancient times, Korean men covered themselves in tattoos for protection against evil spirits that might attack at sea. However, this mark of protection changed to being looked at as an affront to one’s own body.8 This led to tattoos being used to mark criminals and slaves.
  • India: The history of tattoos in India is rich, and, unlike in most cultures, positive. Tribal communities used to copy the maze-like carvings on prehistoric rocks onto their bodies. This process was called gudna, which means “burying the needle” in Hindi, and additionally, they flaunted tattoos like jewelry.9 In certain tribes, such as the Singhpo of Assam, tattooing was based on gender, with men sporting them on their hands and women on their legs. While tattoos have a long and drawn-out history in India, it is only recently that they have become fashionable with India’s youth.

Tattoos Out In The Open

During the Age of Discovery, and as trade routes began to develop, tattoos became more commonly seen. Travelers, such as Captain James Cook and William Dampier, often returned home with indigenous people who wore tattoos on their bodies. One of these most famous foreigners brought back by Dampier is known as the “Painted Prince”.9 Dampier described the man in his journals as being covered in various markings all down his body.

The Painted Prince, Jeoly Source: Peter KurtzPictured: The Painted Prince, Jeoly Source: Peter Kurtz

Later in history, tattoos were adopted by sailors and members of the lower class, but they eventually became more widely accepted. As time progressed, the art became more developed, which led to tattooing becoming a hobby of the aristocracy who had the money to pay for extremely talented professionals.

This want and desire for tattoos from the upper class didn’t last long. The prices of tattoos began to fall, causing the practice to, once again, be seen as something for the lower class to take part in. This would remain the stigma until the 1960s.

Today, tattooing is extremely popular. Body art is predominantly viewed as a way to use skin as a canvas to express oneself and one’s beliefs. Unlike in history, if one wants to get a tattoo, one can do so easily. Even Mattel let Barbie flaunt a few!

Lingering Tattoo Taboos

A poll conducted in 2015 found that 3 in 10 Americans have a tattoo and that they’re especially prevalent among young Americans.10 Symbolism and art are some of the most consistent forms of communication that humans have sustained over our existence; however, the tattoo taboo is still widely prevalent.

Many countries today still frown upon and illegalize the art of tattooing. Denmark, for example, has had laws in place since 1966 forbidding tattoos on the hands, neck, and head.11 Any artist that tattoos these areas on Danish soil will be fined heavily. In Sri Lanka and Thailand, tattoos that depict Buddhism or Buddha are seen as blasphemous and culturally insensitive.12 Individuals in these countries have been jailed for such tattoos.

While many countries are still unfriendly toward tattoos, many areas of the world are more accepting of body modifications, even in the workplace. This broadening acceptance could be due to increasing employee-centrism and the casualization of corporate culture as more companies are embracing self-expressiveness and individuality.13 Tattooed women are most notably realizing this shift in the workplace.

A Woman’s Right To Bare Ink

According to a study conducted by InHerSight, 14% of women with tattoos mention being discriminated against because of their tattoos. 20% of tattooed women admit that they’d be nervous to tell a future employer about their tattoos. However, 75% of women (with tattoos and without) believe that it’s perfectly acceptable to have tattoos in the workplace.14

Additionally, researchers Kristin Broussard and Helen Harton have found that most tattooed individuals are seen in a negative light. The pair say that these perceptions include having negative personality traits, higher levels of promiscuity, and lower levels of sociability, competence, and inhibition.15

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can help stop tattoo discrimination, check out STARPAW (Support Tattoos and Piercings at Work). They work with a multitude of companies to change the dress code and hiring policies to be more accepting. STARPAW works to protect employers’ rights and encourage strong character and work ethic.

A Tattoo How-To

The most popular way to tattoo today is by injecting ink into skin with an electrically powered machine that resembles and sounds like a dental drill. The tattoo machine moves a solid needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute.16 The needle penetrates the skin by about a millimeter, depositing ink with each puncture.

The tattoo machine has remained relatively unchanged since its invention by Samuel O’Reilly in the late 1800s, which he fashioned after taking a look at Thomas Edison’s electric pen.17 Modern tattoo machines consist of several components, which are:

  • A sterilized needle
  • A tube system that draws ink through the machine
  • An electric motor
  • A foot pedal (similar to a sewing machine), which controls the vertical movement of the needle

The observable part of the tattoo is the ink that shows through the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin. However, the ink actually penetrates to the deeper layer of the skin, or the dermis. The cells that make up the dermis are stronger and more stable than those of the epidermis, so depositing the ink into the dermis means the tattoo will stay in place far longer with minor fading.

Under the Skin

A cross section of skin

Source: Inkmoto

Getting a Tattoo – Know the Risks

Permanently adding art to your skin is a big deal. Choosing the right design and a skilled tattoo artist to achieve the desired effect is key to satisfaction. Also, knowing how tattoos work and the risks associated with them can help put your mind at ease.

Tattoos breach the skin, which means that infections and other complications are possible, such as:

  • Allergic Reactions: Tattoo dyes, especially blue, green, yellow, and red, can cause allergic reactions. For example, an itchy rash may emerge on the tattoo site. This can even occur years after you’ve gotten a tattoo.
  • Bloodborne Diseases: If the needle used to administer the tattoo isn’t properly sterilized, you can contract bloodborne illnesses. These include Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
  • MRI Complications: In rare cases, tattoos may cause swelling and burning in the affected areas during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination, and the tattoo pigment can potentially alter the quality of the photos.
  • Skin Infections: Only 5% and 6% of people report skin infections after tattoos; however, they are possible.
  • Other Skin Issues: Sometimes the area of inflammation can cause a granuloma to form around the tattoo. They can also lead to keloids, which are raised areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue.

Tattoo Care

It is vitally important to take good care of your new tattoo to avoid any unnecessary risks. Always keep the skin clean and moisturized. Avoid sun exposure and swimming. Choose your clothes carefully, as you don’t want them to stick to your tattoo. And allow up to 2 weeks for healing.

If you think that your tattoo isn’t healing properly or you believe it could be infected, contact your doctor right away. If you aren’t happy with your tattoo or if it’s not what you expected, try talking to a dermatologist or aesthetic specialist to see if laser surgery or other options are right for you.

Tattoo You

Do you tattoo? If so, what of? Share your experience and give your favorite tattoo artist a shout-out.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/oldest-tattoo-tools-tennessee-native-american [1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi [2] [3]

https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1000/tattoos-in-ancient-egypt/ [4] [5]

http://en.chinaculture.org/2014-12/30/content_589505.htm [6]

https://sites.wp.odu.edu/bodylore/2018/02/28/inked-and-exiled-a-history-of-tattooing-in-japan/ [7]

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-06/25/content_241020.htm#:~:text=In%20ancient%20times%2C%20Korean%20fishermen,forearms%20showing%20who%20owned%20them. [8]

https://www.findwaystobehappy.com/history-of-the-tattoo/ [9]

https://theharrispoll.com/tattoos-can-take-any-number-of-forms-from-animals-to-quotes-to-cryptic-symbols-and-appear-in-all-sorts-of-spots-on-our-bodies-some-visible-in-everyday-life-others-not-so-much-but-one-thi/ [10]

https://mediazink.com/denmark-news-new-tattoo-legislation/ [11]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/07/19/he-ventured-to-buddhist-paradise-then-got-thrown-out-for-having-a-buddha-tattoo/ [12]

https://www.inhersight.com/blog/insight-commentary/how-to-influence-company-culture?_n=57809059 [13]

https://www.inhersight.com/blog/insight-commentary/tattoos-and-piercings-in-the-workplace [14]

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/head-games/201809/are-people-tattoos-stigmatized [15]

http://www.dnadermatology.com/articles/general/514952-tattoos#:~:text=An%20electric%20device%20uses%20a,and%203%2C000%20times%20per%20minute. [16]

https://www.sparkmuseum.org/the-first-practical-electric-motor-in-a-tattoo-gun/#:~:text=In%201891%2C%20inventor%20Samuel%20O,or%20three%20times%20per%20second. [17]

The History of LGBTQ+ Pride and Allyship

Today, LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations take a variety of forms, such as parades, parties, proms, and protests. Since the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement, a multitude of Pride celebrations and events have sprung up around the world. However, each occasion is tied in some way to the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City on June 28th, 1969.

Though the world is migrating towards increasing acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community, discrimination is still a stark reality. The Natural Library of Medicine (NIH) mentions that 57% of LGBTQ+ adults have endured slurs, 51% report experiencing sexual harassment, and 51% have faced violence due to their sexual orientation. Showing allyship with the LGBTQ+ community remains vital for a kinder, more inclusive future.

The History of Pride Month

While the event of the Stonewall Riots was not the first occurrence of LGBTQ+ resistance against police harassment, it is the most well-known. Before Stonewall, a riot took place in San Francisco at Compton’s Cafeteria and another took place in Los Angeles at Cooper Do-Nuts. Each event in LGBTQ+ history laid the groundwork for what the Stonewall Riots solidified: PRIDE as we know it today.

A Look at the Stonewall Riots

In 1967, the Stonewall Inn opened as a gay club in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. Though much of the nation had become more accepting of gays, New York was notorious for its strict enforcement of anti-homosexual laws that made it difficult for gay individuals to congregate in public.

The mafia controlled a multitude of bars and clubs in Manhattan during this time. To get around New York state regulations that prohibited gay people from being served alcohol, a young member of the Genovese family named Tony Lauria, or “Fat Tony,” ran the Stonewall Inn. While the Stonewall Inn was far from being the nicest gay bar in Greenwich Village, it was one of the only places the gay community could get together and dance.

During the 1960s, the gay rights movement was building momentum around the nation with the LGBTQ+ community clashing with police in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and many other cities.1 The Mattachine Society, an early national gay rights organization, helped put a stop to police entrapment, but police still raided bars and bathhouses.

On Tuesday, June 28th, the police raided the Stonewall Inn. Word of the riots swept the city with 500-600 people showing up the first night. But on Friday of that week, an estimated 2,000 individuals congregated outside the bar.2

Members of the crowd held hands in a display of public affection and chanted “We Want Freedom Now,” “Gay Power,” and “Christopher Street Belongs to the Queens.”3 To block off Christopher Street, they formed a human chain and turned over a car.

21 people were arrested during the riots and many were injured, but the spark for change had ignited. On June 28th, 1970, many people returned to the streets of Greenwich Village for the first Christopher Street Liberation Day march. The march became an annual event and ultimately evolved into the Pride Parade.

The Pride Parade Then and Now

Within the first years of the Pride Parade, the energy of the LGBTQ+ community was contained to the small area of Christopher Street. Today, millions of people attend the parade to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

It took activists months to organize the first Pride Parade. They maintained that there would be no regulation on age or what marchers wore. During this period, many LGBTQ+ activists held walks and vigils, but they were silent and kept mostly to themselves. The newly proposed Pride Parade would showcase different personalities and a vibrancy that LGBTQ+ individuals often kept hidden.

The activists in charge of the Pride Parade organized many events during the week of the celebration to take advantage of the interest in activism and newly formed organizations. The march’s official chant was elected to be, “Say it Clear, Say it Now. Gay is Good, Gay is Proud,” and those attending the parade would yell the chant for 51 blocks.

A black & white photo taken at the Christoper Street Gay Liberation Day Parade, 1970

Photo Source: NBC News

Today, the Pride Parade has transformed into Pride Month with events taking place around the world in June. In 2019, these countries held Pride festivities:

  • America
  • Brazil
  • Amsterdam
  • Austria
  • Taiwan
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia

To learn more about Pride Month’s 2021 events taking place near you, click here.

Discrimination Against The LGBTQ+ Community

Over the last decade, the United States has made strides towards LGBTQ+ equality. However, the community still faces widespread discrimination. Between 11% and 28% of LGBTQ+ people report losing a promotion due to their sexual orientation, and 27% of transgender employees say they’ve been fired, not hired, or denied a promotion. While LGBTQ+ individuals face a staggering amount of discrimination at the workplace, they also endure it in other aspects of their lives, such as losing their homes, access to education, and the ability to engage in public life.

Only 46% of lesbian, gay, and bi individuals and 47% of trans people feel comfortable disclosing  their sexual orientation to their families, and more than 1 in 10 LGBTQ+ members have faced domestic abuse from their partners. Additionally, 1 in 5 LGBT individuals has experienced a hate crime due to sexual orientation, while 2 in 5 trans people have also endured hate crimes.4

A survey administered by the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ people faced discrimination in 2017.5 The study also mentioned that many LGBTQ+ individuals often make significant changes to their everyday lives to avoid discrimination.

 

A chart showing how the fear of discrimination shapes LGBT people's lives
Currently, 72 countries criminalize same-sex relationships, and for the punishment of these relationships, the death penalty is deemed acceptable, or evidence of its existence exists in 8 countries.6 Additionally, 25% of the world’s population believes that being LGBTQ+ should be a crime.7

These statistics reflect the hardships that many LGBTQ+ members face every day. While the world is moving towards greater tolerance, outright discrimination based on personal beliefs and religious dogma are major hurdles to true acceptance. By taking steps to gain awareness for the key issues affecting marginalized populations such as the LGBTQ+ community and committing to allyship, you can be part of the social movement to drive meaningful change.

What You Can Do To Show Allyship

What does being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community mean exactly? An ally seeks to understand the challenges that LGBTQ+ people experience daily, such as heterosexism, bi-prejudice, trans-prejudice, and heterosexual privilege. An ally feels strong concern for LGBTQ+ individuals and acts to bring true support, acceptance, and advocacy for equal rights and fair treatment.

Here are a few ways you can show allyship to the LGBTQ+ community:

  • Become informed. Ask questions, do research, and don’t be afraid to be honest about what you don’t know. Strive to stay up to date on LGBTQ+ news.
  • Support equality. Champion policies in your workplace or school that aid in protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination. Some issues may seem small, but they can make a significant impact on people’s lives.
  • Use your voice. Share what you know about the LGBTQ+ community to spread understanding. Let others know that anti-LGBTQ+ jokes or statements are not okay. Speak up with the courtesy of allowing LGBTQ+ members to stand up for themselves first.
  • Network for greater impact. Consider joining pro-LGBTQ+ groups online. You’ll find like-minded people who can work together to ignite greater change.
  • Appreciate language nuances. Ask for preferred pronouns and terms when describing someone. Try not to assume someone’s gender or sexual orientation. Here’s a helpful vocabulary glossary you can refer to for guidance.
  • Listen to others. Engage with many different people within the LGBTQ+ to learn about their unique experiences. Ask questions, such as what it was like growing up, what the coming out process was like, pet peeves, and how you can best support them.
  • Say goodbye to historical messaging. Become familiar with LGBTQ+ history and challenge stereotypes. Unpack the areas of history that have the LGBTQ+ community wrong. Always ask yourself this question: “Does this reflect the people I know that are in the LGBTQ+ community today?”

Humanist Beauty Strives for Allyship

We recognize that the word ‘ally’ must be earned and never self-ascribed. As such, we are striving to do the work every day to foster inclusion among all humans regardless of color, gender, creed, age, status, ability, or sexual preference. To us, the LGBTQ+ community needs our care and support, particularly vulnerable youth who often struggle in isolation. As such, we will be donating funds to the notable Trevor Project, a highly reputable non-profit organization that provides trained counseling 24/7 for LGBTQ+ teens in crisis. You can learn more about the Trevor Project at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/.

 

https://www.lgbtqhistory.org/lgbt-rights-timeline-in-american-history/ [1]

https://www.history.com/news/stonewall-riots-timeline [2]

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/an-amazing-1969-account-of-the-stonewall-uprising/272467/ [3]

https://www.americanprogress.org/press/release/2017/05/02/431672/release-cap-study-shows-one-four-lgbt-people-faced-discrimination-last-year-many-make-significant-changes-lives-avoid-discrimination/ [5]

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/cy/node/24594 [6][7]