While the oldest known tattoo was on an iceman found on the Italian-Austrian border with carbon-dating showing the iceman to be 5,200 years old (Lineberry, 2007) for many years, here in America, tattoos were only popular with sailors, soldiers, Marines, bikers and occasionally the rebellious teenager. Why were tattoos only popular with these few? Social taboos looked down on those with tattoos. However, through tattoos a person can show self expression, be self creative, and be identified with a certain belief or interest through the art, design or message. It is for these simple reasons their popularity over the last twenty years has grown at an incredible rate, and people of all ages, sexes, ethnic groups, and social classes have begun to get tattoos.
Self expression is one reason tattoos have become so popular due to the fact that an individual can make an expressive statement that will speak forever by getting a tattoo. Many young people find this as a way to express their anger or sadness. Tattoos have a way of speaking for an individual when that person doesn’t want to say anything. It is very important that the individual knows for sure that they want a tattoo. Unless taken off by a doctor in a very costly and painful procedure, the tattoo is permanent (Maloney-Hawkins, 2004). It used to be that adults would say that getting a tattoo was a teenager’s way of being rebellious. Now, the adults are getting tattoos, also. Some of the most popular tattoos are expressions of one person’s love for another (this is called partner marking), the joy of a new baby, or special dates like anniversaries, births, and even deaths (Gustafson, 2004). It can be said that love lasts forever, but a tattoo lasts six months longer (Tattoos as Evangelical Chic, 1998). According to tattoo artist Lisa Fasulo, there has been a significant increase in people getting the names or pictures of loved ones inked into their skin. “It’s an over the top way to show I...
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