Why Tattoos are Body Positive

Leyah Shanks

I run a self-love movement for ALL humans called #TBCR. Activist for body positivity. Mental illness survivor and advocate from bonnie Scotland! BA Digital Media student

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tattoos body positive

All my life I’ve adored tattoos. The creativity. The self-expression. The artistry and skill that goes into designing and etching them into the skin. But as a young person, I would never have had the confidence to be covered in as much artwork as I’d like.

I was bullied through the whole of my childhood. All of the different aspects of my being were relentlessly picked apart and tortured. Every. Single. Day. I’d lie awake at night fearful of the day ahead and feign illness every morning to try and escape for a while. I was the weird, fat, stupid kid. Who had no friends and was the butt of all the jokes. I would do literally anything to avoid bringing attention to myself. I’d have walked to the ends of the earth if it meant becoming invisible. Fast forward to the age of 18, after going through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Clinical Depression, it emerged that I had begun to develop said illness at the tender age of 6. When I was in Primary 1. Being bullied was a direct contributor.


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Discovering that I had never known a life without depression shook me hard. When I started to unearth the roots of where my bullying, illness and lack of self-confidence came from I was shaken once again. Slowly but surely, through research and the creation of The Body Confidence Revolution, my self-esteem began to grow. Just like the fire in my belly. I finally felt like I was becoming the person I used to be and nothing and no-one would stop from expressing that in my own way.

If you’d asked me a few years ago just to even take a picture that insinuated that I liked my stomach, I would’ve given you a quizzical look whilst feeling internally queezy. And that’s without even acknowledging the make-up free face and the fact that I’ve gained a fair bit of weight recently. . . . This crippling and wholly unnecessary self hatred is the whole reason that I started #TBCR. It has helped me to overcome my own insecurities and learn more about why the existed in the first place. . . . Although I have setbacks (WHICH ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL AND ***OK***, BTW), I am so proud of how far both I and #TBCR have come. And I’m excited to see how much more we can grow in the coming days. . . . Please, always remember that life is a journey. Happiness too is a journey. One that varies in duration and intensity for everyone. Your body is the vessel which carries you through the journies life takes you on. Just think about the irony in the fact that you’ve been taught to hate it is. And stand strong with #TBCR in giving a middle finger to the industries which profit from our insecurity. . . . LOVE YOUR TUMMY. LOVE EVERY. SINGLE. BIT OF YOU! . . . #bodyposi #bodypos #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #bodyimage #positivebodyimage #loveyourbody #bodyconfidence #bodylove #effyourbeautystandards #beautybeyondsize #beautyhasnolimit #yourbodyisamazing #bopo #allwomenarerealwomen #nowrongway #nowrongwaytobeawoman #selfesteem #selfworth #selflove #bodyacceptance #nobodyshame #honormycurves #bopowarrior #healthymindhealthybody #embracethesquish #body4me

A photo posted by 🌈THEBODYCONFIDENCEREVOLUTION🌈 (@iamleyahshanks) on

Now, at almost 24, I have quite a few tattoos. Some of which are large and in visible places. I’m so proud of myself for fulfilling my aspirations for my own body. It’s not a privilege that is afforded to many, even nowadays. And I intend to have my arms fully covered. Who am I kidding… most of my skin will probably end up laced with them. Although I completely understand that tattoos are not to everyone’s taste, I don’t quite get it when it’s claimed that they’re not body positive. What better canvas for beautiful art than an equally, uniquely beautiful human body?

I for one will wear my ink proudly for the rest of my days (yes, even when I’m old!) – whilst respecting the bodies of others – as an ode to my younger self, if nothing else.



Leyah Shanks

I run a self-love movement for ALL humans called #TBCR. Activist for body positivity. Mental illness survivor and advocate from bonnie Scotland! BA Digital Media student

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