would you consider heiroglyphics tattoos as cultural appropriation if not tattooed on an egyptian? even if they have significance and meaning?
hi! no. i get asked about this stuff all the time, so i’m gonna try to give you a quick rundown.
things that do not matter to egyptians:
- ‘appropriating’ ancient egyptian culture. ancient egyptian culture does not exist anymore. you can go all out. hieroglyphics! pharoah jewellry! cleopatra outfits! - ‘appropriating’ ancient egyptian religions. i am confounded by how many people think it is more offensive to insult ancient egyptian gods than it is to insult religions people still believe in. nobody cares if you wear the eye of horus or talk about ra disrespectfully. seriously. nobody cares. - wearing ancient egyptian symbols - again, it does not matter if that symbol was sacred to the ancient egyptians. we probably wouldn’t even know. - buying ancient egyptian knick-knacks and putting them wherever. this is actually encouraged, although the majority are made in china. but seriously, the more obsessed you are with ancient egypt, the more money current egyptians make through tourism.
things that do matter to egyptians:
- appropriating ancient egyptian heritage. this includes stealing our artifacts, putting them in your museums, and refusing to give them back. heritage is not the same as culture. ancient egyptian culture doesn’t exist, ancient egyptian heritage is still one of the most important things egypt has. - appropriating nubian culture/symbolism/ethnicities. nubian culture still exists in egypt and sudan, and nubians are a marginalised group in egypt. calling yourself a nubian princess/prince and so on not only erases nubian people from their own narrative, but it also leads people to forget that (unlike ancient egyptians) nubians still exist and this is damaging to them. - denying current egyptians their right to their heritage. this happens all the time. people claim that because of ‘colonialism’ current egyptians and ancient egyptians are basically unrelated (this also comes hand-in-hand with denying ancient egypt’s diversity, by both eurocentrists and afrocentrists.) again, this is damaging because it not only puts outsider narratives above egyptian narratives (despite the existence of egyptian egyptologists, too) but it also contributes to getting our artifacts taken from us and makes it much more difficult to get them back. - assuming current egyptians still speak hieroglyphic and ride on camels to their pyramid-shaped homes. we get this less since the revolution, but most egyptians think it hilarious and insulting when people assume we haven’t evolved as a culture since ancient egypt. egyptians are far more likely to be offended by you thinking we speak hieroglyphic than getting hieroglyphs tattooed on your body. - spending $$$ in egypt. very important to egyptians. please spend your money on us.
so to sum up, no, it is not offensive to get an ancient egyptian tattoo. it will be amusing to some egyptians, as in “haha they’re obsessed with our history” and “bos ya 3am 3andaha tattoo fer3ouny hhhhh 3ayza teshoufy el neel beleil” but it will not be offensive.