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It seems every week there is a headline about another young celebrity “getting inked.” I’m naturally curious, so I’ll click on the article looking for a nice wallet-sized picture or symbol on some famous skin, but all I’ve been seeing are teeny-tiny tattoos that are hardly noticeable. I’m not saying they are lame – tattoos are a personal decision and should be meaningful to the person getting one – but I do want to know why these easy-to-miss tats are being given the same sort of attention one might expect if a star got a full back tat, or suddenly appeared with full sleeves.
What sparked my current rant was this week’s headline of teen pop sensation Justin Bieber’s newest ink. I read that Justin new tat “edged ever closer to full-on sleeve territory,” and then I was confused when I had to literally squint to see his newest body art – a dime-sized symbol on his otherwise ink-less right arm. The symbol is the Japanese kanji for music and is located on the inside of his arm just below his elbow.
The Bieb’s other tattoos consist of an equally tiny dove silhouette on his left hip, “Jesus” written in Hebrew on his side, “Believe” on his left forearm, and his one legitimately large tattoo – Jesus’s face wearing the crown of thorns – on his left calf.
Miley Cyrus has also received a great deal of attention of her 15 tattoos, which sounds like a lot – until you see them. When the star is wearing her latest fashions of barely-there threads, you still have to search to find most of her tats.
She has the world “love” printed on the inside of her ear, a small dream catcher on the side of her ribcage, “Just breathe” inked just below her left breast, a Roman numeral on her left arm, a tiny Om (a Hindu religious symbol) on the inside of her left wrist, and a button-sized sugar skull on the inside of her of right heel.
Seven of Cyrus’ tattoos are on her right hand alone, none of which are really visible unless she spreads her fingers and puts them in your face. She has a heart on her pinky finger, a cross on the inside of her ring finger, a peace sign on her middle finger, “karma” and a Middle Eastern-inspired eye outline on her index finger, an equal sign on the outside of her ring finger, and a tiny anchor on the side of her wrist.
In the past year, Cyrus has added the script “Love never dies” to the inside of her left bicep, which can be seen only if the star gives the camera a bicep curl (which she has been known to do, actually), as well as her biggest tat to date, a Theodore Roosevelt quote on her left forearm.
The other young celebrity with a notable number of tiny tattoos is pop singer Rihanna. She has a lengthy list of tats, ranging from various stars on the base of her neck and in her left ear, to two teeny crosses a the base of her neck where her collar bones start, tiny finger tats along the lines of Cyrus, and various phrases all over her body in easy-to-hide spots. Despite having at least 17 tattoos (that we know of), Rihanna’s often-tweeted pictures of herself in bikinis demonstrate how easily they can go unnoticed.
Tattoos have been a trend that comes and goes in our culture, and I feel safe saying the tiny tat “has arrived” in Hollywood and will likely soon be showing up on teens across the U.S.