Tattoo Differences In American Culture

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Topics: Tattoo, Tattooing
Long considered a hallmark of American deviance, the tattoo has undergone drastic redefinition in recent decades. No longer the purview of bikers, punks and thugs, tattooing is increasingly practiced and appropriated by mainstream, middle class individuals (DeMello 41; Irwin 50). For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. Estimates on the number of Americans with tattoos generally range from one in ten to one in five (Kosut 1036; Stirn, Hinz, and Bráhler 533).

Despite the fact that millions have been tattooed, not all tattooed bodies are equal in American culture. There is, indeed, a difference between people who have tattoos and the tattooed people (Bell 55-56). People
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B Yeah, but he thought it was only gunna be like this (shows me her right hand and makes a hole about the size of a half dollar.)
D So he doesn't like it then?
B (shrugs shoulders and pauses) No.

Betty thought of getting a tattoo as an act of deviance and later told me that she would never have gotten the tattoo on her own or if she had to pay for it herself. She was tattooed with four other women, all of whom considered their tattoos to be their "walk on the wild side." Although her mom and dad both considered tattoos deviant, Maggie, who was in her upper thirties, liked larger tattoos. As Betty and I were speaking, Maggie interrupted us:
M Hey, how much would this cost. Just like that. The whole thing. (She was pointing at a flash piece of a chalice tilted with wine splashing out from the top and a cross floating above it. There was a banner around it which read last call for alcohol.)
D Oh, you'd have to ask Mikey about that (point to Mikey)
B (scoots to the edge of the couch and leans forward in order to see what her daughter is talking about.) Oh you wouldn't get that!?
M Sure I would.
B That big!?!?
M Yeah, on my back (points to the small of her back)
B No, that's too much. That's

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