Acceptance of Tattoos and Body Piercing in a Modern Age

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Acceptance of Tattoos and Body Piercing in a Modern Age
Andrew Sullivan
Axia College of University of Phoenix

According to the most recent Harris Poll, which took place in 2003, about 15% of all Americans have at least one tattoo. That translates into about 40 million people. Tattoos are becoming much more popular based on comparing those statistics to the results of a 1936 Life magazine estimates of 10 million Americans had at least one tattoo. As for body piercing, no statistics are kept, and it is unknown how many Americans have them, but healthcare providers and dentists say they are seeing more everyday. Even though most tattoos and body piercing were difficult to adorn in the past because of the discrimination against and limitations of individuals who have them, tattoos and body piercing are becoming more accepted in our society as corporate rules against them in the workplace are more relaxed and customers are more comfortable with them.

Several years ago individuals that decorated themselves with body piercing and tattoos consisted but were not limited to, convicts, sailors, servicemen, rock-stars, or tough bikers. Because of this, anyone who decorated themselves with tattoos or piercing were discriminated against and treated unfairly. But this day in age the trend is spreading to ordinary unlikely places and individuals, such as; lawyers, doctors, bankers, and many other white-collar professionals. As new generation of young employees enter the business world, many of them bring their unique self-expression that is displayed by their use of ink and jewelry. With these displays they are forced to make a choice on how much of their ink adorned skin to show or cover them up. Many of these younger professionals do not find much discrimination and are able to maintain their jobs. But another, more subtle result of this new trend, is that tattooed or pierced individuals are making their coworkers become accepting and unconcerned with the fact that they adorn body art.

Tattoos and body piercing also hold direct relation to an individual’s identity in society. The types and numbers of either tattoos or piercing, is a display of that person’s individuality. Often, people try to set themselves apart from others by decorating themselves with tattoos or piercing. Sometimes in this process of setting themselves apart from everyone, he, or she, are discriminated against and scorned for his, or her, differences. Quite often a person with facial piercing or facial tattoo, is denied the common courtesy of eye contact, or someone with a tattooed sleeve, to not have his, or her, hand shaken. But with what is acceptable, and what is normal always changing, open-minded individuals are constantly creating a visible indifference towards tattoos and body piercing.

There are many reasons someone would want to have his, or her, flesh stabbed thousands of times by tiny needles injecting ink beneath their skin, or to have a larger needle pierce through various body parts to later decorate with jewelry. Often tattoos are badges of initiation, and there is a group idea where one is not a part of the group until the group tattoo is administered. Tattoos have been preferred as the symbol of a gang member’s identity. As American culture used the art form more in the 1990s, tattoos became the main aesthetic link among gang members. All over America, tattoos have also been seen as an association to questionable types of heavy metal rock music that was usually only enjoyed by teenagers. This music was often linked with illegal drug usage, devil worship, and violence, which, in turn, caused many concerned parents to disapprove of the music. This disapproval and parental concern caused a trend of adorning tattoos and body piercing to associate the receiver’s image with other teenagers that listen to heavy metal music. With modern society approaching this subject with an open mind, the stereotype of an individual...
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