Never underestimate the allure of cheap tattoos in Brooklyn, especially when those tattoos are killer feminist designs that benefit Planned Parenthood. Dozens of eager tattoo subjects lined up outside Magick City in Greenpoint yesterday for the Tattoo to Protect Your Parts fundraiser yesterday. The event didn’t start until 2pm, but if you weren’t in line by noon, you were out of luck. About 80 people total got the chance to pay $40 for a tattoo, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood NYC Votes. The event was the brainchild of Party to Protect, a group founded in the post-election malaise to help raise money for things under attack during the Trump administration like reproductive rights and basic human decency.
“I think we’ve all spent a few nights just on the couch with a blanket just crying about the state of the world,” Laura Matthei, one of the group’s organizers told us. “This is obviously something that’s not a conspiracy theory anymore. The framework is being laid out. I thought we were immune to stuff like that and we’re no longer immune. And that’s really terrifying and we want to do everything we can to combat this.”
Matthei said there’s a good reason to get tattoo artists involved, instead of just encouraging people to donate money directly to Planned Parenthood. The artists from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society donated their time and materials, creating a flash sheet of designs that included Angela Davis, a coat hanger, Tank Girl and Lady Liberty among others.
“In general tattoos tend to be more masculine. When was the last time you saw a sheet of feminist tattoos?” she said. “We want to be able to show feminine power and feminine beauty and feminine permanence.”
We talked to a few people at the event about which tattoo design they chose, and what it means to them to have a permanent mark of the resistance on their bodies going forward:
Simone La Brecque, 20, Spanish Harlem
Tattoo: Tank Girl on her right leg
Got in line at 11:10am
She picked the Tank Girl design because its look gave her the feeling of a “badass, confident, ‘don’t mess with me’ sort of thing that is right up my alley.”
“I’m here because I’m so angry with the world right now. I’m so mad with the really poor decisions people are making,” she said. “I want to have something people will ask me about so I can say, ‘I got this tattoo supporting Planned Parenthood and that’s what I stand for and believe in.’ ”
She’s used Planned Parenthood many times to get free access to birth control and other healthcare. “I am a living testament to the wonderful things Planned Parenthood can do for anyone,” she said.
Samuel White, 28, Crown Heights
Tattoo: Female boxer tattoo on back of right arm
Got in line around 10am
He liked the boxer for its traditional American tattoo style, but he noted the flash sheet was the best he’d ever seen.
“It’s a brilliant idea because it capitalizes on people who want an excuse to get a tattoo already, and tattoos can be very expensive,” he said.
This isn’t his first tattoo or his first time supporting Planned Parenthood. For Christmas, he donated money to the group as a gift to both his mother and grandmother.
“I knocked that one out of the park,” he said. “You run out of ideas after so many years. They’re the kind of people who appreciate that.”
Mick Moran (not pictured)
Part of the very last group in line (arrived at noon)
Planned to get a “My Body My Choice” tattoo on her arm
Works on reproductive justice for the Doula Project
“The Doula Project, we volunteer in Planned Parenthood, we’re there every day,” she said. “We have volunteer doulas there supporting people that are having abortions.”
“I think bodily autonomy is something that’s really significant in terms of both tattooing and reproductive justice,” she said. “The one I’m getting, I want to be able to make decisions about my body, whether that’s getting a tattoo having an abortion or the things I eat, all of that is connected. It goes hand-in-hand to be like I’m making this choice about my body to support Planned Parenthood who supports people making choices about their bodies.”
Find more info on Party to Protect and future events here.
Additional reporting by Bobby Hankinson.