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Tattooing’s Shift to Acceptance

Autor:   •  May 31, 2018  •  2,840 Words (12 Pages)  •  156 Views

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For something that was once seen as masculine and damaging to your personal appearance, tattoos have gained a new image and acceptance in today’s society. The new styles allowed females to get feminist tattoos that they considered decorated the body, well majority of men still got tattoos as an identification. The article “Tattoos and Piercing: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Interpretations of College Students”, state “men are more likely to get tattooed as a statement of group identity such as “I am a Marine” whereas women are more likely to do so as a statement of beautiful (a rose, a butterfly). In effect, men are saying “this is who I am” while women are saying “I am beautiful”” (Horne, Knox, Zusman, Zusman). Just as the reasons for getting a tattoo differ between men and women, it differs for each individual as well.

The development of new and different styles has broaden the meanings behind getting a tattoo and allows people to express themselves in numerous and creative ways other than the traditional tattoo that is closely related to masculinity and/or juvenile behavior. In the article Tattooing: Mind Body and Spirit. The Inner Essence of Art states that there are numerous reasons for getting a tattoo that goes beyond what the stereotype says. Some include, but not limited to, “expressing individuality, communicating rebellion, defining group membership conveying spiritual meaning, or marking millstones such as life or death” (Christensen, 2000: as cited in Armstrong, Own, Roberts, and Koch 2002). The endless possibilities made it easier for people to better relate to them. Each individual reason and meaning behind getting a certain tattoo is unique and with the large variety of tattoo styles nowadays it is one-sided to lump everyone who has a tattoo into one group and adversely label them.

Tattoos are becoming a part of everyday life, According to the article “Body art gains acceptance in workplace”, by Marilyn Gardner “More than one-third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have tattoos, and 40 percent of those between 26 and 40, according to a Pew Research study. For those over age 40, the number drops to 10 percent. In all, an estimated 30 million to 40 million people have tattoos” (1). This new sensation over tattoos is clear all over the nation and the increase in tattoos is made obvious just by looking at the public. In the article from Nation Geographic, “Tattoo-From Taboo to Mainstream”, referring to the increase in tattoos popularity states, “The evidence is in plain view on any city street or televised sporting event.” (1) Celebrities and role models such as Rhianna, Angelina Joule, and David Beckham who are known for their tattoo art are contributing to the spread of acceptance. It is easy to turn on the T.V. and see actors, actresses, athletes and performers on shows other than ones specifically dedicated to tattooing.

Tattoo parlors are in every U.S. state, many of them being located in cities and around colleges. The Today Show posted an article about the top ten most inked American cities. It states that “Los Angeles boasts about 150 tattoo parlors within 10 miles of the city center.” (The Top 10 Most Tattooed Cities in America) Already this is an astonishing amount of tattoo parlors for one city and Los Angeles was ranked number ten on their list. According to Today Miami Beach, Florida has the most tattoo parlors “averaging about 24 shops per 100,000 people, Miami Beach is dense with ink” (The Top 10 Most Tattooed Cities in America). Even with this study only focusing on the cities mostly populated with tattoo parlors, it is still verifies the prevailing popularity of tattoos. The vast amount of parlors would create competition with each other especially when the several others nearby. It would be incredibly hard for all these parlors to stay in business unless they had a decent amount of clients receiving tattoos.

With more people having tattoos the general public has become more accustomed to them and see them less of a stigma. Michael Atkinson, the author of, Figuring out body modification cultures: Interdependence and radical body modification process and many other tattoo books, states “The greater diversity of tattooed individuals has increased the number and variety of advocates for tattooing practices. Consequently, an increasing number of non-tattooed people have become exposed to tattooed individuals from one of their own figurations (e.g., family, work, colleagues), which may lead to tattooing being seen as less a disturbing practice and more as a civilized one” (Atkinson, 2004). This new understanding has helped the tattoo community face less criticism that they had once experienced from the non-tattooed community.

The controversy about tattoos has caused much discrimination especially in the work place. Prior to the new styles people would be denied a job simply because they had a tattoo. This stigma in the work place regarding tattoos is one reason that prevented many people from getting tattoos. Although in some cases there is still some apprehension about body modifications on a professional level, employers are becoming more comfortable and accepting and are looking past the ink. In fact when discussing tattoos in the work place David Kimelberg, a photographer who saw his tattoos as a distraction now says that they can be beneficial in various occupations. “Tattoos create a connection on a personal level” (1). Less people are facing discrimination due to the stereotype decreasing, making this trend even more alluring. Mark Burgess from Oxford Brookes University and Louise Clark from Division of Clinical Psychology University of Liverpool are the authors of the article “Do the “Savage Origins” of tattoos Cast a Prejudicial Shadow on Contemporary Tattooed Individuals?” They conducted an experiment to investigate the change in perception of tattoos becoming more acceptable. By comparing employers decisions on who to hire solely based on pictures of people with either a tribal tattoo, modern tattoo, or no tattoo they are able to see if the new styles had any effect of the shift in acceptance. The conclusion that came to confirms the idea that the creation of new styles in tattooing has shifted the perspective on tattoos to a more acceptable view. “Our results show that those with cute designs can expect fewer sanctions by regular society, and that those with tribal designs can maintain a psychological distance from both the non-tattooed and contemporary tattooed subgroups” (Burgess, Clark, 760). They found that people with contemporary tattoos were judged similarly to individuals with no tattoos, where as individuals with traditional tribal tattoos were more harshly judged. This experiment directly shows how the new modern styles are seen less offensive


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