Grand Canyon University: English 105
September 16, 2014
Digging Deeper: A Response to Andres Martin’s ‘On Teenagers and Tattoos’
When you hear the words “teenagers and tattoos” what comes to mind? As most of us know, in American and many other countries, it is illegal to get a tattoo if you are under the age of eighteen. However, it is not impossible to get one if you are a minor. For some reason, nowadays it has become more and more easy to get tattoos when you are underage. In Andres Martin’s article, “On Teenagers and Tattoos”, he explains the psychology behind why teens ink their bodies. To summarize, “On Teenagers and Tattoos” declares that most teens get piercings and tattoos as a way of standing out and being unique. It states that piercings and tattoos are a way for teens to take control over their body and decorate it the way the want it to look. Martin suggests tattoos are a way for them to identify themselves. Although it is unusual for psychiatrists to mostly use qualitative evidence, Martin does a good job of using that evidence to make his article persuasive. In Andres Martin’s article, he uses many rhetorical strategies. On example is his use of qualitative evidence verses quantitative evidence. In the Case Vignette section of Martin’s piece, he states “A proud father at 17, “B” had had the smiling face of his 4-month-old baby girl tattooed on his chest. As we talked at a tattoo convention, he proudly introduced her to me, explaining how he would “always know how beautiful she is today” when years from then he saw her semblance etched on himself” (2000. P. 143). Like this example, most of the evidence Martin uses is qualitative, meaning it is gathered from observation rather than statistics. I believe Andres Martin gives good evidence supporting his theory, however, because his article is aiming towards his peers, meaning other psychiatrists, Martin should have also used more quantitative evidence as well. Aside from his use of evidence, I also found it weird that Martin decided to go with a more standard tone. Standard tone “relies on a plain, relatively formal style that doesn’t usually call attention to the writer’s personality. Instead it seeks to establish a relationship with readers based on shared interest and mutual respect” (Trimbur, J. p. 91). Given Martin’s audience, I would expect his tone to be more formal. I feel that because he decided to go standard, he distances himself from the other psychiatrists.
As much as I agree with Andres Martin’s claim, there were flaws in his writing. For instance, many might argue that because there was not enough statistics, Martin’s evidence is not credible. You could argue that his “observations” of previous patients with tattoos were merely fiction Martin made to try and persuade his fellow psychiatrists. Also, Martin gives mixed signals when he writes, “They can often be understood as self-constructive and adorning efforts, rather than prematurely subsumed as mutilatory and destructive acts” (2000. P. 143). I believe by using these two languages, it may cause people to be unclear about what Martin’s real opinions are on this subject. In the article, “On Teenagers and Tattoos”, Andres Martin states, “Seeking individuation, tattooed adolescents can become unambiguously demarcated from others and singled out as unique” (2000. P. 143). Just as Martin wants people to view tattoos as “self-constructive” and “adorning”, so do I. I believe that tattoos can help teenagers who have not fully grasped the understanding of who they truly are. I also feel it gives teens the sense of responsibility and makes them feel more grown up. In the article, Martin talks about a young girl who states, “If I don’t fit in, it is because I say so.”(Martin, 2000, pg. 144). This further proves Andres Martin’s statement that teens get tattoos to make a...
References: Martin, A. (2000). On teenagers and tattoos. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 9(3), 143-144+. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214196131?accountid=7374
Trimbur, J. (2011). The Call to Write. P. 46
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