Are you ink-tolerant? Tattoos in today’s society



Tattoos are arguably more popular now than they’ve ever been before. Tattoos have become a part of our everyday scenery. Tattoos were once a sign of rebellion, but are now described more often as a fashion statement or fad. Despite their growing popularity, tattoos are still being stigmatized by society.

We live in a generation that seeks tolerance of all kinds. Tolerance is the willingness to accept something despite the opinions and behaviors of others with contrasting views. More and more people are getting tattoos and their prevalence in our society aids in the changing of people’s perceptions. An individual may feel tattoos are not “for” them, but can accept them as a part of our new and ever changing culture. Others may still be firm in their beliefs and associate tattooing with a past stereotype. According to an article by Scroobius Pip, “Getting a tattoo doesn’t have to mean a lot these days. I think it used to mean something – it was edgy, a sign of the counter culture. Now it’s just … a tattoo. Nothing more.”

Tattoos were once associated with prisons, motorcycle gangs, and other sub-cultures that go hand in hand with a bad reputation. In our current culture you can spot them on celebrities, business owners, and soccer moms alike. The cultural stigma becomes blurred. Many rappers such as Tyga, Lil Wayne, and Machine Gun Kelly are covered in tattoos and this doesn’t surprise society, because it’s expected of a rapper. Fashion model Cara Delevingne has multiple tattoos as well, something that was once viewed as “limiting” to someone in the fashion world.

Many view tattoos as unprofessional. This is where size and location come into effect. For example, a doctor may choose to cover his tattoos while at work, but on the weekend he’ll sport short sleeves at his child’s soccer games. The fact that someone has a tattoo doesn’t make him or her less qualified or less of a person; the bottom line is they’re situational.

Some of the earliest known evidence of tattoos dates back as far as ancient Egypt. Tattoos were common amongst the upper class as they evolved into symbols of culture and worldliness. Today, with all of the technical advancements tattoos have become far more accessible and far less expensive and now appear on the bodies of people from many social standings.

I recently traded e-mails with a 46 year old retired Master Gunnery Sergeant from the Marines. He explained to me that while he was an active duty marine he didn’t accept tattoos on military personnel. “It was a personal belief of mine”, he explained. “Other’s had tattoos, they were nice to look at but I didn’t see them as a part of the uniform back then.” However, he explained to me that he actually currently has three tattoos. “Once I retired, I realized the military was still a huge part of who I am, military is for life,” he wrote. “The tattoos I’ve chosen for myself, I feel, still represent that part of my life for people to see almost as if I was still in uniform.”

While there are people who are still firmly against the art of tattooing, the overall view of them is changing in society. More are becoming accepting of them than those who remain “ink-tolerant.”


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