Are Tattoos No Longer Taboo?

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When my happy-go-lucky liberal parents were kids, those who chose body art like tattoos had a shadow cast upon them. Tattoos were for thugs, criminals, and “loose” individuals regardless of the symbolism, amount, or size of the design(s). A tattoo was a “taboo” thing that only taboo people wanted.

It was harder to get a job with a tattoo. It was harder to earn respect. A lot of the hate comes from religious- and culture-based rules for keeping your body “pure” of all unnatural mutilation like piercings and ink. Regardless of where the hate came from, it was hard to see past the tattoo on their skin because it was  obviously meant to be there for a negative reason. Only negative people choose to defacetheir body. My parents grew up in California with very liberal mindsets, and one more religious than the other, but society’s rejection of ink was not past them.

Today, the shift in positivity for tattoos and other body modifications is plain to see. There are still those who choose to fall under the negative stereotype, proving the points of the past, but a lot of what I see now has been “pop-culture-ized” and brushed off as something normal. One in five US adults now have at least one tattoo, including yours truly, my sister, my friends, family members, and most recently my scaredy-cat father who is terrified of needles. My mom is still iffy on the subject, appreciating the art behind it, but queasy at the thought of her daughter going to a job interview with noticeable ink as a jeopardizing factor for getting a job. There is always a time and place for ink based on the art and how you choose to show it off, of course for those with common courtesy, but we are at the point where somebody rejecting you because of a dolphin tattoo on your foot is somebody not worth your time.

Am I in that Bay Area mindset again, or are tattoos no longer taboo today? My current and past jobs and career shifts have not been affected by the peace sign in my ear (something I dictate my haircut around so it’s always visible). Most of my friends and co-workers have at least one, if not, several with depictions and symbolisms important to them, from tributes to family members, pop culture references, nature, and even random ink just because. I, myself, have just the one but plan to get many more in various sizes and colors, positioned in hidden and not-so-hidden areas of my body.

I’m not waiting or denying myself from getting more ink because of what those around me think of it. My only hesitation in getting more is for financial reasons (i.e. student loans have all my remaining money by the neck). There is no religion in my life rejecting me for having an impure shell surrounding my no-longer-pure soul. I’m waiting to make sure I will be happy with what I save up for based on what I decide is worthy on my body for life. I am who I am, ink and all.

Bottom line: It’s up to you and how you accept and/or deal with your particular environment’s acceptance/rejection of body modification. Choose one or many or none for yourself. Accept the opinion you have of them for you, not to impress or stay in line with others. The average tattoo parlor out there today sees more average Joe’s, stay-at-home moms, and CEOs than thugs.

Tattoo artists and those who seek them out have some of the most creative minds today than any other generation before them, behind and in front of the mechanical needle. Will you express yourself through body art or only appreciate it for others? Will you still reject the idea of getting one for yourself or letting those “taboo” people in your life? Only you and your pocketbook decide if this forever art is right for you.

About Mandy Norman

Mandy is a content manager and designer by day, and crafter/hobby writer/thinker by night. Her relationship with her cat, giraffes, music, and caffeine are borderline unhealthy, but nothing stops her from speaking her mind and “making things look pretty.” She mans two blogs in her spare time, whatmandythinks and whatmandyloves. See All of Mandy’s Posts

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