Youth Expression Through Body Art
Some young people are getting tattoos and body piercings as an expression of their youth rights movement.

Charlie is eleven and just got his first tattoo; he chose to get an owl on his right arm. Charlie is the co-founder of the radical Our Bodies Our Choices youth rights movement. The group is using body art — including tattoos and piercings — as a way of voicing their self-directed nature. Critics are saying these rebellious adolescents are too young to be making permanent choices about their own bodies. Charlie and the Our Bodies movement seem to think otherwise. I had the opportunity to sit down with Charlie after he got his tattoo and ask him a few questions. Here is what he had to say:

Charlie getting his first tattoo

April: So, you got your first tattoo. Why an owl?

Charlie: The owl is the symbol for ancient knowledge and wisdom. And so, it’s the perfect representation for the Our Bodies Our Choices movement. Adults always think kids are too young, don’t have enough experience, and so, they think they can boss us around. Now I have a reminder on my arm of just how wise we are, and I get to look at it here for the rest of my life.

April: A lot of people say that eleven years old is a bit too young to be making such permanent choices. What do you have to say to that?

Charlie getting his first tattoo

Charlie: George Washington led an army across the Delaware River at the age of ten. Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean when she was still in diapers. Bon Jovi wrote his first symphony while he was still in the womb. What’s wrong with adults in the 21st Century?! Don’t they realize that we kids can do anything we set our minds to?!

April: So, what’s next for Our Bodies Our Choices?

Charlie: We just put out a call on social media for our new Septum Rings for Toddlers program. Our goal is to get 1,000 toddlers’ septums pierced in the month of April.

April: Good luck with that. Thanks so much for speaking with me, Charlie.

Charlie: You just fuggedaboutit, April.

Charlie getting his first tattoo

A huge thanks to Jae at Electric Lotus Tattoo and the real Charlie of the United Pranking Association for helping us leave this permanent mark.