The History of Tattoos and Body Piercing

Topics: Body modification, Body art, HIV Pages: 5 (1771 words) Published: April 28, 2010
The History of Tattoos and Body Piercing
* * * * Angela Gipson
* * * * COM/150
* * * * 04/30/2010
* * * * Linda Neff
Tattoos and body piercings come in different shapes and sizes, from the delicate to the extreme. What is the obsession with tattoos and body piercings and why do people insist on having them done? Do people just do these gestures without knowing the pros, cons, and the statistics of people who get an infection or die from tattoos and body piercing? Everyone has the ability to find this knowledge and utilize this knowledge and make a choice whether to have the tattoo or piercing done. People should know that contracting an infection or dying does not happen to everyone. HISTORY OF TATTOOS

Throughout the years, evidence shows tattoos date back to as early as 4,000 B.C. In 1991, scientists found Otzi, also known as the Iceman, with a total of 58 tattoos made up of only simple dots and lines. Scientists believe that these markings may have been used for medicinal purposes because (the markings were near or on typical acupuncture points and evidence showed osteoarthritis) “” Body piercing has been ornamented for as long as tattooing, and the Egyptians used piercings as a symbol of royalty and bravery. Some body piercings were even used for religious purposes. In some areas, tattoos and body piercings were used as a rite of passage, especially for males to show they were looked upon as adults. These rituals usually consisted of being marked or acquiring piercings through the face. In society today, tattoos and piercings are often seen as a way to express oneself or to show rebellion (they are also considered forms of self-harm, insolence, self-sufficiency, and to be a part of something, for instance, being incarcerated or being affiliated with gang members) (Scheller, 2001). Pride also plays a huge part. For example, if a man put a tattoo band around his biceps, his biceps could appear to be larger and if a woman was to put a tattoo around her belly button or on her lower back, then that would proceed to draw attention to her body. This ink or piercing gives people an identity. PROS AND CONS

As with anything people do in life, there are good consequences, but there are bad consequences as well. With the good, included is an opportunity to stand out and the opportunity for self-expression. Many people who make the decision to embellish tattoos acquire them for symbolic meanings, although some people desire to get the tattoo or piercing done because of how the tattoo or piercing looks. The cons of tattoos and body piercings are an open book. When a person acquires a tattoo, artists use a needle and inject large amounts of ink into the skin, so the risk of getting an infection is always going to be there (If the tattoo artist isn’t sanitary and doesn’t clean his equipment after every use, the risk of infection tends to be much higher).”” Artists even use an ink, black henna that accounts for serious vulnerability to allergies and hives that lead to kidney deficiency and possibly mortality in people receptive to the elements the ink produces (These types of tattoos are particularly unsafe to adolescents) (_Children’s Health Encyclopedia__ 2006_). When sanitary procedures and protocol are not obeyed, people increase their risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, or even Hepatitis B. Removal is another concern when obtaining tattoos, especially if the decision is made to no longer keep the tattoo. Laser surgery used to remove tattoos is one of the fastest growing procedures for the dermatology industry. Tattoo removal with laser surgery could cause an excessive amount of pain, based on the size of the tattoo and the colors used. There are cases acknowledged in which people have made the choice to get a tattoo, and infection set up so profusely that no other alternative was available except to have the tattoo removed....

Cited: Armstrong, M. L., et al. (2004) “Contemporary College Students and Body Piercing.” Journal of Adolescent Health, (35), 22-50
Harris, Roger (2002) “Roger Harris Column.” Ventura County Star, August 5, 2002 Issue
“Children’s Health Encyclopedia,” (2006)
“Tattoos and Body Piercing.” Retrieved from: http//
Scheller, Randy (2001) Retrieved from: http//
“The Pros and Cons of Tattoos and Body Piercings.” Retrieved from:http//
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