The View of Tattoos in Our Society Today

Topics: Tattoo, Body modification, Body art Pages: 5 (1529 words) Published: October 8, 2008
The View of Tattoos 1

The View of Tattoos in Our Society Today

Melissa Oliphant

Axia College of University of Phoenix

The View of Tattoos 2

“People who drink, do drugs, have been jailed or do not believe in religion are more likely to be tattooed. “ , said Mom. Is there any truth to what Mom said? According to a study conducted by the Journal of Academic Academy of Dermatology in 2006, 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed. That averages to be almost one in four Americans with tattoos. Perhaps there is some truth to what Mom said. Mom was quite possibly falsely stereotyping individuals. The act of tattooing began many centuries ago. In our society today tattoos are becoming more popular. The body art trend consists of no set age limit. Tattoos are commonly seen on grandparents, parents, doctors, lawyers, or even priests today. Tattoos have oftener gotten a negative stigma attached to them throughout society. Such is the case of Mom’s opinion, for example. Society’s perception of body art and tattoos often stems from pseudo- stereotyping of tattooed individuals, but tattoos can function as a way to tell life stories, a form of self-expression, and as a way to claim one’s own identity. Many tattooed individuals become subject to stereotyping. They soon realize while reasons behind getting a tattoo may be symbolic to them; other people’s views are often quite different. Several factors alter a person’s perception of body art and tattoos. Society’s’ views of body art is often influenced by certain factors. Some of these factors include childhood views, parental views, religious beliefs, and gender. However, two main factors that stimulate stereotyping are social class and the size of the tattoo. In America tattoos used to be a symbol of upper class status until the invention of the electric tattoo needle in 1891. This invention increased the ease of applying tattoos and hence decreased the price making them accessible to lower classes (Modification, ND). Perhaps this was the beginning of the negative stereotypes about tattoos, relating to society. The prison population represents a large group of individuals with body modification. In the past bikers, sailors, truckers and the rock-n-roll

The Views of Tattoos 3

industry have all been related to the tattoo industry. The most common pseudo assumptions are that people with tattoos are criminals or social deviants. Even more interesting is the differences between genders and how society views body modification for each sex. Tattoos have always been primarily a man’s activity. According to research used to examine undergraduate students’ attitudes toward women with tattoos, (Hawkes, Senn, and Thorn) found those women may be more than 50% percent of the individuals currently obtaining tattoos. Women experience more negative reactions from society than men do (2004). Therefore, individuals who choose to express themselves through body art and tattoos are stereotyped against. This occurs due to other people’s biased opinions, negative influences or associations with tattoos. Employment often poses a problem with individuals and their body art. People with tattoos or body art have limited rights in the workplace, which makes proving employers views based on gender stereotypes difficult to prove. According to Louis Pitchman, a lawyer, who specializes in employment law, concludes: “Neither federal...

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