Tattoos: An Art Form
When I turned 18, I finally got the tattoo that I have been wanting to get since my 16th birthday. I designed it myself. It says, “take a breath” with a heart at the end of it. I went to the tattoo parlor a week before my actually appointment and explained to my tattoo artist the exact font, coloring, and reason behind my tattoo design. The saying “take a breath” is meaningful to me. I try to follow the advice and constantly say it to myself when I am feeling overwhelmed, insecure, or in a difficult situation. When I came home after I got the tattoo my mom wanted to see how much “damage” I actually did to my body, but little did she and myself know that she would actually really like my tattoo. The tattoo is on my left rib cage going horizontal from bellow my left breast to my side making it easy to cover up. Because of the tattoo, the phrase “take a breath” has actually become the motto for my immediate family as well as my own.
However, not all teens who are getting tattoos experience acceptance from their families, and I can also say that I do feel that some adults view me as a dysfunctional young adult and I am not alone. In “Tattooing and High-Risk Behavior in Adolescents,” a 2002 article, Roberts and Ryan state that those young adults with tattoos can be more likely to participate in high-risk behaviors. The authors determine that those who have tattoos at a young age should be giving a more intensive assessment of their behavior and substance abuse tests during a physical examination. Roberts and Ryan portray that adolescents with tattoos are having behavioral issues. Those young people who have tattoos are more likely to engage risky behavior problems than their nontattooed peers: such as sexual intercourse, drug use, more prone to violence, and have had greater issues in school. The authors believe that “Tattooing is a common behavior among adolescents and is strongly related to a wide variety of behaviors that put adolescents at risk for morbidity and mortality.” (p. 8). The authors conclude that “although it may be tempting to conclude that all tattooed adolescents engage in high-risk behavior, our data serve only to support the higher likelihood of tattooed adolescents involved in such behavior.” (p. 8). These findings only serve to show the typical stereotype that those nontattooed people put on young adults who have tattoos. As a young adult, I know many people both, adolescent as well as grown adults, who have tattoos and are not involved in high-risk behavior. “Within American culture, tattoos are fine – so long as others do not have to look at them” (Roberts 5). There is a constant confusion and acceptance among those with tattoos. Roberts speaks of how tattoos have become more and more prevalent among young adults and adolescents, however, those who are older adults still think of tattoos to be among those who are troubled. Depending on one’s age and when and where one was raised the look on tattoos and a tattooed person can vary. Each generation has its own take on tattoos starting from the first tattoos that were seen on sailors and pirates to seeing tattoos on any gender, social class, age, etc. Take for example when tattoos were predominantly found on sailors during the 1700’s, a popular cartoon character Popeye the Sailor appearing in the 1930’s, portrays the stereotypical sailor man who was covered in the stereotypical ship tattoos during that time period. The next generation associated tattooed individuals with those who were in prisons or affiliated with gangs. The authors that have been publishing journals, articles, books, etc. about tattooed persons, have come from this generation that associates tattooed people with being of the deviant nature. Is it nondiscriminatory to say that those people that have tattoos are all at high-risk behaviors, recommending that those young adults who do have tattoos...
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