For as long as tattoos have existed, there has always been a stigma that comes along with having them. This comes from many years of society categorizing anyone having a tattoo to be either a corrupt individual, or simply just a taboo to be seen with someone with tattoos.
This can be traced all the way back to the early 1950’s where the teenagers who were “rebelling” by riding motorcycles, and having their hair slicked back, would use tattoos as a sign of rebellion.
Society also links tattoos to criminals as many men would get their body inked while in prison. The art form of tattoos can be dated back to 3,000 B.C., in ancient civilization, where many cultures used this permanent body art form for different beliefs and customs.
Some of the more recognized cultures who practiced the art of tattooing were Egypt, Arabia, ancient China, the Polynesians, as well as the Celtic and the northern European tribes.
The more popular ways that tattoos are seen as a negative stereotype to this day would be:
• Tattooed enthusiasts being compared to Gang members
• Criminals having tattoos
• Tattooed individuals are seen as a drug user, or an addict
In this day and age, there are still several individuals who still seem to have this negative mindset on those who use their body as a form of expression. Modern culture has made it an easier transformation for tattoos to be looked at from another perspective.
In our more modern society, we are more liberated, and more open minded when it comes to allowing each individual to express their love for things in their own way.
In todays society, especially our more modern generation, they feel more open to have the chance to be able to show the world their struggles, their loves, and more importantly their stories through their body art.
Modern American society has helped break the ways tattoos are viewed, no longer associating them with signs of rebellion but more so viewing them as a sign of ones freedom of self expression.
They have allowed society to have a fresh new look on how they are perceived, and give us the chance to wear our ink with pride and not feel like we have to hide them from the world. Tattoos give us the ability to transform our love for the art, providing us the showcase our art on a daily basis.
Tattoo is a way for individuals wanting to express their stories in their own way, using their body as their canvas. Not only is having tattoos a way of expressing art, but it allows individuals who are maybe going through a hard time, or someone who has trouble expressing themselves verbally, to be able to use their body as their form of showing the world what they have possibly been through in life, or simply showing us their love for body ink.
Even though for some individuals, their mindset will never change, the American society has become more accepting with those who have body art. We have seen with the years an increase of individuals who have careers getting tattoos such as:
• Police Officers
This goes to show you that having tattoos, is not something that should be automatically associated with negative activity, or with any stereotypes. Though for some industries, it may still be required to cover the tattoos up while working, they are more accepting as they know that having tattoos does not dictate who you are as a person, nor does it take away from your professionalism and your worth.
Tattoos give someone the chance to be able to preserve a memory, a loved one, a story they want the world to see, or a reminder of something they want to see on their skins forever. It gives us the chance to speak our minds, and pour our souls into each precious piece and give the opportunity for others to experience that as well. It is being able to walk around with our art, making society curious to know our stories with each tattoo.
Tattoos are sometimes the only thing that keeps us together, that constant reminder of something you chose with your heart to preserve in your skin forever.
For some, it is the only way we can freely express our thoughts and share our personal achievements to others.
In many cultures, tattoos have been used for many centuries as part of their cultural beliefs. For some of these cultures, it was actually a sign of rebellion for those who did not want to get tattoos such as the Maori culture.
This Polynesian culture believe that tattoos were a rite of passage for boys who were going through puberty, having these tattoos symbolizes their manhood.
All over the world, tattoos are more than just ink on your skin, they are seen as traditions handed down from generations to generations, and also a sign of beauty.
In Tunisia, the tattoos were reserved for women as symbol of beauty, health and well-being. Other cultures such as in Thailand, tattoos are seen as magic symbols offering those who have them, luck, strength, courage and protection from the evil eye.
While we may have different views on tattoo enthusiasts, we can all agree that having ink on your skin permanently does not make you less of a person. For example, a mother having tattoos does not affect her love and attentiveness to her children, as for a police officer having their sleeves done, does not make them any less capable of providing the safety and care as any other officer would to our society.
We now see more of our older generation having tattoos, making it easier on our younger generation to feel less stigmatized for expressing their individuality through tattooing.
Having tattoos should never define us as individuals, it should never be considered trashy, or any less art than the paintings hanging in galleries. To each individual, the way we perceive art is unique and it should be just as respected as any other art form.
We all express ourselves a certain way which may not always be accepted by society, but we are free to choose how we wish to express ourselves, and having tattoos is just another beautiful and unique form of that.
While some enthusiasts get their tattoos so they can “fit in” with the latest trends, many of us still use tattoos as a gateway of expression. There is something special about sitting down and waiting anxiously for the sound of the machine, as the needle penetrates your skin as your story comes to life.
Tattoos are something that will always be used as a form of one showing our commitments to something we hold so dear to our hearts, that we choose to have it on us permanently.
For some individuals, they admire the art form of having tattoos and are just hesitant as to how the world will view them if they do get one. For others, religion has a big factor as some religions believe in our bodies being our temple, prohibiting them of getting such things done.
At the end of the day, it falls down to how our beliefs and cultures play a huge role in the world of tattoos.
Some individuals fear getting tattoos as many of us tattoo enthusiasts still get discriminated by the amount of ink we carry on our skin. Others view us as brave and courageous to have the strength to face the world every day, without the weight and burden of judgment on our shoulders.
Are Tattoos Trashy?
To conclude, I believe that having tattoos is something to be proud of having. It shows us the courage and strength we each have to sustain the minutes of pain, for a lifetime of beauty in our skin. Tattoos are each unique, providing us a world of endless possibilities, making our bodies a book for others to enjoy and read as we walk alongside them.
As time progresses, our society will continue to open their minds and accept that what once was viewed as negative, has now become a way of one showing their love for art in their own way. We will be less judged by what we look like, and judged more by who we are as a person and how we contribute to our society