Top College News Subscribe to the Newsletter

The Day I Met the Internet

Asst. News Editor

Published: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11


Spectrum file photo

Has this changed your opinion of Lisa Khoury's initial column?

View results

It's a life lesson in what words can do, what the Internet can do, and – most of all – a lesson for me to never do what other people did to me. As a writer, I have jump-started my career with a valuable lesson: think about what you write before you write it – on paper, online, and in cyberspace. You never know what tattoo blog might pick it up one day…

Recommended: Articles that may interest you


Sat Jun 29 2013 12:42
There is a silver lining to all this.
You have just gained a billion dollars worth of publicity.
Yes it is for a negative reason.
But that will become less significant over time and eventually wither away.
You got flamed for speaking the truth.
That's not such a bad rep.
And smart people agree with you.
You keep it up.
Sat Jun 29 2013 12:34
May I just say that you are absolutely RIGHT about the modern trend for women to plaster themselves with tattoos.
What happened to you was sadly predictable.
After all, a lot of people might have secretly realized that you were right, even though they themselves are already tattooed. That person is bound to react very negatively.
It's worse than pointing out that somebody has a terrible haircut.
At least hair grows out.
But you spoke the truth nonetheless.
May you totally recover and continue to speak it.
Mon Jun 10 2013 01:22
i plan to make this my last post on this subject.You should NEVER apologize for how you feel.Don't let the tattooed miscreants sway you from your beliefs.Don't feel badly about the venom being aimed at you.Wear it as a badge of pride and courage for standing up for your beliefs.As you go through life,remember this...."The dogs only bark at the cars that are moving".
Sun Jun 9 2013 14:31
Lisa,here's one more thought to ponder.Twenty years from now,when all these tattooed freaks are still working at Taco Bell,and making their tuna salad out of cat food, you'll be a successful journalist. When you receive all this hate and venom,realize you're on the right track.Don't worry about who you offend.These people with all the tattoos are showing you just how ignorant they are.Do you really want your doctor or your dentist,or your attorney all "tatted up"? These tattooed freaks are losers and they're going to remain that way.Even the circus isn't hiring them anymore.
Sun Jun 9 2013 14:18
You should stick to your original assessment.Whether you are a Jew, Christian or Muslim, tattoos are forbidden by whatever "holy" book you ascribe to.Not to mention the fact they make you unemployable for any worthwhile position in the business world.Ignore the ignorant.Did you get any negative comments from ANYONE on the Forbes 400? I don't think you will.
Mon Mar 18 2013 14:17
The fact that your piece was intended to be a counterpoint to a pro-tattoo article does not detract from your hateful sexism. Your job was to write against tattoos, the misogyny was not needed to serve a point. Nothing was taken out of context.
Mon Mar 18 2013 13:07
Feminist blogs led me here (with good reason), not tattoo blogs.
Mon Mar 18 2013 12:09
What's next Lisa Khoury? Will you insult the jews?
Mon Mar 18 2013 12:07
I'm 19 and I've suffered a lot of self-esteem issues over the years, but I would never throw women under the bus like you did by creating such tactless sexist garbage. As I said to your managing editor: tattoos aren't whats contentious here, the blatant sexism is. It was also coupled with classist opinions and this sense of superiority. What of other cultures in which tattoos act as a rite of passage for women (Maouri, Ainu, etc)? Do you also think of them as barbaric and classless? People do not appreciate being compared to objects and stop crying your crocodile tears. Grow thick skin, welcome to journalism.
Sun Feb 19 2012 01:47
This "apology" is only an excuse for her inexcusable behavior. It should have merely said, "I am a naive, immature kid and a poor writer/journalist. I got schooled and won't write another piece until I actually know what I'm doing."
Tue Feb 7 2012 09:05
Hey, so thanks for once again making the tired argument that a woman's appearance and 'turning heads' is what matters in her life. Women are not objects on display for the visual enjoyment of others, regardless of where you stand on the tattoo issue. Full stop. It doesn't matter if that "isn't how you mean it." Intention isn't magic. Look up "microaggressions" and read. ugh.
Tue Feb 7 2012 08:43
"As a female, I took the woman's stance and said I'm beautiful without a tattoo."

Here you are, doing it again. You did not take the woman's stance, which implies you speak for women. You took your stance. Yours. Yours alone. And you took that stance I'n such a way that you made a value judgment on millions of people. You invalidated something very personal and meaningful to many and you're surprised they took great and angry exception to that?

There have been many pieces written about why a particular person chooses or does not choose to have body art; almost without exception the pro-tattoo pieces explain why the art is important to them, and the anti pieces manage to criticize and invalidate others' choices rather than focusing on their own story and reasoning.

Tattoos are not always about beauty, and when they are, it is about an individual's own concept of beauty for their body. You cannot possibly understand, condemn, or accurately judge that for them.

That being said, no one deserves to be treated to sexist attacks, threats, and body shaming (though your original article was body-shaming, itself). While I completely understand the anger you generated, the misogynist way it shows itself is a great sadness and disappointment to me.

For an aspiring journalist, you write with an incredible lack of foresight and a shamefully poor command of words and intention. I do hope you take this lesson to heart - and not only in the "poor me, my self-righteousness was misunderstood" manner you're currently displaying. Your career needs it.

Mon Feb 6 2012 16:31
An "apology" implies that you are in some way, shape or form recognizing that your words and/or behavior in some way were wrong or caused hurt towards another person and that you have genuine remorse or regret for your words/behavior and the feelings that they may have provoked. All I got from your "apology" was "y'all misinterpreted my words and I need to say I'm sorry so I stop getting hate mail." I don't buy it, sorry.

You are welcome to believe whatever it is you want to believe concerning the definition of beauty, the value or meaning of body art, or what gives a woman value and character. Call me crazy, but last time I checked, a woman's class was defined by her ACTIONS and HOW SHE TREATS OTHERS, not what she wore yesterday or what she might have inked on her ankle.

Mon Feb 6 2012 11:46
I read your original column and yes, as someone with tattoos of which I'm very proud, I thought your opinions were uninformed and insulting. I also thought they were *opinions*. So I pretty much rolled my eyes and moved on and thought no more about it until I saw this.

I'm not at all surprised that you were attacked for your column in such a personal and threatening way, but I *am* disgusted, as I always am by flame wars and hate mail. There is absolutely no justification for you to have been subject to that kind of verbal violence. It is flat-out wrong.

I wanted to comment so that you would also hear from people who disagreed with you but who think you've been treated inexcusably. I know very well what that kind of frighteningly excessive attack feels like, and I'm sorry you have endured that. I think what you wrote here was pretty classy, by the way.

I wish you luck in your writing career. Take what you've learned from the legitimate disagreements, and please don't be silenced by the mob. Women are too often shamed, threatened, and intimidated into silence. Let your wisest voice be heard.

Sun Feb 5 2012 16:14
wake up, idiot - its the 21st century! big brother is watching! your stupid uninformed lame article isn't just for the consumption of your fellow college students anymore - it's being consumed by BILLIONS OF PEOPLE!!!!! if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. and i mean run. in this age of the internet, every move you make and every misquote and every stupid article you write will somehow get the attention of at least thousands of people who will then yell about it to thousands more until it has snowballed into the mess you are dealing with now and you are receiving hate mail from some pervert in the UK that you'll never meet, ever. the internet is FAST and people are deadly. they believe they can say whatever they want because they are "anonymous." as a writer myself, I stopped believing in journalism almost as soon as the internet happened. it's dead. you should realize that, and choose a different career. don't be retarded.
Sun Feb 5 2012 10:46
Heather says:

February 5, 2012 at 10:42 am

@ Lisa Khoury

In journalism "school" they teach that words are powerful and can do harm. You should have known that as a student of journalism. I learned that almost immediately in school.

Reporting should be concise, factual, and free of personal bias. Opinion pieces, while simply an individuals opinion, should still be concise. If you didn't mean the words you wrote initially, which I'm convinced you did, as a journalist you KNOW words are powerful tools, then you shouldn't have written them as they were.

No matter what is written, once it's submitted for public reading, you are at the mercy of the individual interpretations of the masses. So, as a writer, I'm confused that you weren't aware of how words can be such a powerful tool, and can cause people to react to them. You stated precisely that in your above "apology", which sounds as empty and trite as your developing college mind.

No need for hate
Sat Feb 4 2012 14:31
Lisa, although I didn't aggree whatsoever with the article you wrote, I also don't agree with the way people reacted to it. It is sad that so many people are proving what you think of us 'tattooed people' as correct. There is so much hate in the world, and unfortunately a lot of it was directed at you this week over this article. The fact that people personally attacked you personally and your family really makes me disappointed in the people that I consider my community. However, please keep in mind that even though you received over a thousand nasty comments/emails/etc., they by far don't reflect the majority of the tattoo community. Did you offend all of us?Probably. Did we all think of you as an ugly cow or terrible person worthy of being compared to Hitler over it? No. Not all of us are that silly or contrite. There is a LARGE portion of us that are actually very well educated people that saw this peice for what it was, an opinion piece coming from a very young woman lacking in world experience. You'll learn as you go along, sometimes the hard way. Keep your head up, and don't stop trying.
An astounding degree of rudeness...
Sat Feb 4 2012 03:45
To all who have commented rudely....

A 19 year old beginner journalist writes her first opinion piece for a college rag.
The topic is insignificant. A silly "fluff" piece, really. Meant more as entertainment than serious journalism, in a "two sides of the issue" presentation format.

Some thin-skinned (albeit tattoo'd) people get themselves all upset, send the article everywhere in a huge tantrum, and a vortex of complaining whiners grows exponentially, worldwide, in a day. It seriously got to the point that those commenting on facebook were clearly commenting upon other people's comments more than reacting directly to the piece itself, were misquoting Ms. Khoury wildly, and were tailgating conceptually upon each other, as opposed to reacting solely to the article.

What Ms. Khoury MEANT to say, or imply, and how she said or implied it, could be debated forever. Frankly, the article itself is no longer the issue. The issue is now the unabashed rudeness, the utter lack of manners, the nonexistent decorum, and the horrific incivility that ensued from people the world over. That's the real story now, and a MUCH bigger one.

Has everyone gone mad? Get a damn grip on yourselves. The more "woe is me" and "I am so injured" comments there are, the more nauseating it becomes. Get some spine. Are you that insecure about your stupid tattoos that you must crucify the kid (for an entire week now) with your asinine comments, personal attacks and insults? Are you really that concerned that what this young girl has written will "set back women's rights 50 years" ? C'mon now. Only slightly hyperbolic, don't you think? I am a feminist, and fought through those decades. This article hardly qualifies as a major setback. To think that it does shows a complete lack of awareness of what feminism and women's rights are about, both historically and now.

To state that you are "hurt" by anything this young woman has written is the most annoying position of all. Get over your fragile little self. Now.

She opined. You disagreed. So do so in a way you would hope someone would speak to you. Disagree with what she has written in a respectful manner. Comment on the piece. Not on her. That's over the line. Stop proving that the world is, in fact, full of idiots and that you are a prime example.

And last, stop doling out advice, scolding, shaking your finger at her, telling her to "learn her lesson" or most ridiculous of all, doubting her apology. I appreciate that she wanted to apologize, but she didn't need to. It says more about her integrity that she did apologize, than it does about you, who harassed the living daylights out of her until she felt a need to.

Without doubt, this is most overblown reaction to a non-issue in a very long time.

Sat Feb 4 2012 02:37
I find it almost refreshing to see someone with views like yours on the spectrum. Every time i pick up the spectrum i read articles that seem to devalue the natural beauty of a woman, claiming they need to be more sexual, and devaluing a womens sexuality. The idea behind the article and some of the core values you expressed were all something id like to see more of in the spectrum. Undoubtedly ther were some things that were said that could be offensive to some, if i were you i would have left out the part where girls should go shopping and paint their nails. I dint think the attacks on you were justified by any means. You seem to be a beautiful girl and a great person with good values. I hope you learn from the experience and never have to face that again. I also hope this doesnt discourage you from expressing yourself in the future. You should be proud of yourself, you wrote an opinion article and expressed your views, tha tis a big accomplishment that many dont have the guts to do. I look dorward to reading more articles from you in the future.
Jennifer Hill
Sat Feb 4 2012 01:40
I find it disappointing that, of all the well-thought-out and non-combative responses you received to your original article, (and I know that you did receive some, because I emailed you one and I'm sure I wasn't the only person to do so,) you chose instead to hop on the defensive and turn this into an excuse for a woe-is-me rebuttal. You don't even seem to actually understand why people were upset by what you wrote; believe me, it wasn't because anything was taken "out of context."

Most of the people who reacted to your statements read your article in its entirety. The words you wrote are the words people understood. If you didn't mean to imply that women should stick to working out in a gym, buying clothes at the mall, and getting manicures as a way to turn a man's head and that a woman is inelegant and classless if she has tattoos, then maybe you should have made some different arguments to back up your stance. No one can read your mind through the internet, so you have to say what you mean.

You also have to be prepared to handle backlash when you belittle something that is very important to those who participate/partake of/embody it. You felt hurt when people made comments about your face. You need to understand that making light of something like someone's tattoo is going to cause them the same gut reaction when someone calls you "ugly." A tattoo is not as disposable and impersonal as a trendy outfit, to those who have them.

Given your insincere apology, which ended up being more about your own bruised ego instead of about how uninformed and offensive the statements YOU made were, I really doubt that you've learned the most important lesson offered by your experience. However, I do hope that you've at least learned that, where the internet is concerned, nothing happens in a vacuum. People can see what you're doing and what you have to say, so make sure you are adult enough to handle the consequences. If you don't think you can, it might be best to just keep writing in the diary that you keep under your pillow.

log out