Tattoo Taboo: The Stigma Against Body Modifications Tattoo Taboo: The Stigma Against Body Modifications
BY SAVANNAH KEYSER A form of self-expression and intricate art, tattoos are some of the most looked-down-upon forms of body modifications out there. Tattoos,... Tattoo Taboo: The Stigma Against Body Modifications


A form of self-expression and intricate art, tattoos are some of the most looked-down-upon forms of body modifications out there. Tattoos, and body modifications in general have had a stigma against them for generations. They are seen as tacky and the people who are adorned by them are often viewed by others as dirty or gaudy. It is quite the opposite, actually; tattoos require a lot of care and upkeep, just like any other piercing or something of the sort. It’s not fair to judge someone so harshly solely based on their choice of self-expression.

“We promote anti-bullying yet people continue to judge those who choose to express themselves in a way that might be considered ‘not normal’,” junior Samantha Balata said.

The stigma against body modifications, tattoos specifically, is not as prevalent as they become more and more popular. The amount of adults who have at least one tattoo has increased significantly with each successive generation of living adults. At about 47% of their generation having at least one tattoo, millennials have increased the popularity of this particular form of body modification by 11 percent from Gen Xers and by 34 percent from the Baby Boomers. If this trend continues, as the next few generations become adults, tattoos will be sported by at least 50% of the generations to come.

Although tattoos have become somewhat more acceptable, there is still a significantly negative attitude that surrounds them. Many workplaces do not allow their employees to have visible ink on their body, as well as any unconventional piercings such as nose rings or lip rings. These rules are set in place because of the societal views of the people who are not tattooed and, as a result, don’t understand those who are. Just because someone has chosen to display self-expression in a different way does not mean that they shouldn’t have the same opportunities for employment as someone who doesn’t have tattoos or piercings.

Tattoos are actually a very expensive investment that requires lots of care to make sure they heal properly. A tattoo can cost anything between ten dollars and thousands of dollars depending on how long it takes to create, the tattooist themselves and their rates, the choice of color, placement on the body, how intricate the design is, and so much more. Tattoos are not a cheap, in both forms of the word, nor are the people who create them. A tattoo artist takes pride in their work. They work extremely hard to make sure that the end product is something their client will be happy with. A tattoo artist is just that: an artist. They create many of the designs that they tattoo, and they transfer them onto a canvas that isn’t flat. Tattooing someone takes a lot of skill and patience. Tattoo studios are some of the cleanest environments with sterile tools, an expected quality from any place that people go to essentially get stuck with needles over and over again.

“I believe it’s cruel that people have such negative criticisms toward tattoo artists,” aspiring tattoo artist Austin Watson said. “After all, they are just artists that decided to create their form of artwork on a canvas that means something to everyone.”

Those who bear tattoos often have interesting stories behind each one such as a family member’s handwriting or some special connection one may have to a quote. Not always, though, does a tattoo have to have some beautiful meaning behind it; it does not make a tattoo any less valid if the person just felt like getting it because that is also a reason for getting one. People tend to look down even more upon those who do not have what they may deem a “valid” or “real” reason for getting a tattoo. They think that the person may regret it later or that they don’t realize that the tattoo is permanent.

One of the most heard criticisms about tattoos is “you know it’s forever right?” or something to the same effect. Of course it’s forever! They know that it’s permanent! There is no need to tell someone who has a tattoo that their tattoo will be there for the rest of their life…that’s the whole reason they put it on their body: because they want it there for the rest of their life.

“If I’m around a person who judges me based on the fact that I have tattoos, I’m actually glad that they tell me right away because those aren’t the kind of people I want to be around,” CCHS Teacher Mark Sturdivant said.

Tattoos are often seen as distasteful and people seem to make snap judgments about the people who have them. They tend to think that they are less intelligent and less respectable. It simply does not make sense to connect someone who has a beautiful form of art displayed on their body to someone who isn’t educated or is undeserving of respect. Tattoos are becoming more and more a part of pop culture and it’s time that society sees that they are just another way that people show off who they are.