Feeling the Sting of Being a Tattooed Mother in the Public Eye

  • Cala Coats


This chapter maps a process of corporeal pedagogy realizing differences in regional norms as a tattooed mother having recently relocated to a deeply conservative rural environment. The narrative recounts Coats’ experience of taking her children to a local grocery store with her tattoos visible for the first time since moving her family from a large city. In this new location, the grocery store serves as a site of public pedagogy, particularly in relation to surveillance and visibility. The author traces her corporeal awareness of patrons’ eyes on her body, witnessing them move away from her and recoil as she reached near them. The experience provided a sensual awareness, where her skin acted as an index of cultural difference, societal norms, and local desire.

Related Further Reading

  1. Ahmed, S. (2010). The cultural politics of emotion. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Burdick, J., & Sandlin, J. A. (2013). Learning, becoming, and the unknowable: Conceptualizations, mechanisms, and process in public pedagogy literature. Curriculum Inquiry, 43, 142–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ellsworth, E. (2005). Places of learning: Media, architecture, pedagogy. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Oliver, K. (2004). The colonization of psychic space: A psychoanalytic social theory of oppression. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  5. Thompson, B. Y. (2015). Covered in ink: Tattoos, women, and the politics of the body. New York, NY: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cala Coats
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArtStephen F. Austin State UniversityNacogdochesUSA

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