Sister Defended for Refusing to Get 'Very Large' Tattoo Of Late Niece

Members of a popular internet forum backed up one woman who revealed why she won't get a tattoo of her late niece, despite her sister's stringent demands.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Academic_Try_4856 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said she offered to honor her sister's daughter with a different tattoo but came under fire for even considering something other than what was initially suggested.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for refusing to get a tattoo of my late niece?" the post has received nearly 5,000 upvotes and 1,500 comments in the last day.

"A while ago my sister...lost her infant daughter," OP began. "As a way to cope with her grief, she's decided to get a large, photorealistic tattoo of the baby, and she's requested that everyone in our immediate family...do the same thing."

Continuing to explain that she "simply can't go through" with the tattoo, the original poster detailed her hesitancy, noting her phobia of needles and objection to religious imagery included within her sister's proposed design.

The original poster also said that, despite the high cost of tattoos, she pitched a separate design idea to her sister, but was met with ire and vitriol.

"[My sister] added some religious imagery to the design (she's a devout Catholic) and being an atheist...I simply do not feel comfortable having that on me," OP wrote. "[And] the tattoo is VERY LARGE so it's going to take several hours, if not several sessions.

"The baby was named after a flower...so I offered to get a small bouquet of that flower tattooed instead, as a way to still honor the baby and support [my sister] without having to get the large, expensive tattoo," OP continued. "She was very upset and called me selfish, saying that as a grieving mum her feelings have priority over mine...so I should feel privileged to have the tattoo, and that I'm a horrible human being for arguing with her while she's mourning.

"Of course I understand her point of view, but I also don't feel like her loss, terrible as it is, gives her any right or say over my body," OP added.

For some, tattoos are an integral form of self expression and advance ownership of their personal identity.

For others, tattoos are the exact opposite, and are viewed negatively and in some cultures, are prohibited completely.

In 2019, a poll conducted by market research firm Ipsos revealed that 30 percent of people in the United States have at least one tattoo, marking a 9 percent jump from 2012.

Of those with ink, the Ipsos poll also revealed that a majority of people have just two tattoos, and that Americans under the age of 55 are twice as likely to have a tattoo than their older counterparts.

The prevalence of tattoos in the United States, however, comes at a cost. While small, simple tattoos can range between $50 and $200, beauty and style outlet Byrdie reports that larger designs can reach four-digit territory, with full sleeve, chest and back tattoos costing up to $6,000.

Huge price tags, along with the pain associated with being stuck by a needle between 50 and 3,000 times per minute, are major deterrents for those on the fence about tattoos.

Tattoo gun
Tattoo artist using tattoo gun. Members of Reddit's r/AmITheA**hole forum were quick to defend one woman who refused to get a "very large" and "photorealistic" tattoo in honor of her late niece. mr_Prof/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Throughout the viral Reddit post, the original poster expressed both of those exact concerns, but said she was willing to endure a smaller tattoo, for the sake of her sister and late niece.

Unfortunately, that offer was not good enough, and OP was berated for her alternate offer—much to the chagrin of a furious comment section.

"[Not the a**hole]," Redditor u/iMESSupCOMMONphrases wrote in the post's top comment, which has received more than 12,000 upvotes. "I think this photo tattoo is tacky as hell, but nobody gets to tell you what to do to or with your body."

"It's very [egotistical] of her to demand you honor the child the way she wants," they added.

Redditor u/Medium_Resort_5225, whose comment has received nearly 5,000 upvotes, echoed that sentiment.

"Literally in no way shape or form would you be an a**hole for refusing a tattoo," they assured.

"Even taking her grief into account, insisting that someone else permanently mark their body is way out of line," Redditor u/unusualteapot chimed in, receiving nearly 2,000 upvotes.

Newsweek reached out to u/Academic_Try_4856 for comment.