Quote of the week: Missy Irvin has been to NYC, body artists are her people | Arkansas Blog

Quote of the week: Missy Irvin has been to NYC, body artists are her people

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MY PEOPLE: Forsberg (left) testifies against original version of Irvin's (right) bill. Irvin's experience as a modern dancer gave her a window in to the punk-rock soul. - DAVID RAMSEY
  • david ramsey
  • MY PEOPLE: Forsberg (left) testifies against original version of Irvin's (right) bill. Irvin's experience as a modern dancer gave her a window in to the punk-rock soul.

The back story is a little convoluted but this quote is too good not to highlight. After getting some heat over her role in a bill regarding scarification and dermal implants — two forms of body art — Sen. Missy Irvin pushed back in an article on the MSNBC site earlier this week. The story had popped up online over the course of the last week or so, when some blogs and social media sites randomly picked up on outdated articles from last March; most of the commentary missed the fact that the bill was eventually amended (and passed in to law) in a manner that got the strong approval of the local body art industry. Here's Irvin:   

I can take it. I’ve been put into a box because I’m a Republican, a woman, a Christian–but I’m a former modern dancer. I’ve danced in New York. These are artists. These are my people.

Readers that followed the story on our blog during the session will recognize that Irvin engages in some serious revisionist history in the MSNBC article, pretending that she was an advocate for body artists from the get-go. In fact, she aggressively pushed (and voted for both in committee and in the full Senate) a mean-spirited, intrusive, unnecessary, and poorly drafted Nanny State bill that would have banned scarification and defined implants so vaguely that the bill could conceivably have been read to ban navel piercings. Irvin herself sought to marginalize the adult choices of her "people" in bizarre testimony before the Senate Public Health committee. At one point she compared scarification to female genital mutilation in Africa. You can read the whole story here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

Thankfully, after pressure from local media and citizen activists like Fort Smith body artist Misty Forsberg, Irvin and the state Health Department caved and the bill was amended to more reasonable legislation regulating the industry. And kudos to Irvin for coming around and supporting the improved bill!

That said, it should be noted that when the amendments came in at the last minute in House committee, it was in fact Rep. Deborah Ferguson who took the lead, signing on as co-sponsor and making the pitch. Irvin, of course, has a knack for taking credit when she can.

Here's hoping that Irvin's memories of her modern dance days lead to more empathetic epiphanies. 


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