What is that ink under your skin?

By Brittany Butterfield.
The word “tattoo” originates from the Tahitian word “tattau,” which means “to mark.” Tattoos have been practiced worldwide: those in tribes, and more widely recognized are tattoos found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dating from about 2000 B.C. Classical authors mention the use of tattoos in connection with Greeks, ancient Germans, Gauls, Thracians and ancient Britons. Tattooing was rediscovered by Europeans when they came into contact with Polynesians and American Indians. Because tattoos were considered so exotic in Europe and the U.S., tattooed Indians and Polynesians amazed crowds at circuses and fairs during the 18th and 19th centuries. The practice of tattooing has different meanings to various cultures. Decoration was the most common motive for tattooing, and that still holds true today. In some cultures, tattoos served as identification of the wearer’s rank or status within a group. For instance, the early Romans tattooed slaves and criminals. Tahitian tattoos served as rites of passage, telling the history of the wearer’s life. Then tattoos were adopted by gangs and prisoners to show rank, and respect. As a society, tattoos are just loved body art being expressed. They are becoming accepted as just another way of individually; most people that see someone with a tattoo don’t even take a second look to scold. Tattoos have gained increasing prominence in the last decade. Life magazine estimated in 1936 that 10 million American, or six percent of the population, had at least one tattoo. Then, a Harris Poll in 2003 showed the numbers nearly tripled to at least 16 percent having a tattoo between the ages of 18-35 and 40 percent between 26-40 years-old. In 2006, tattoos reached to 1 in 4 Americans between ages 18-39 having at least one tattoo. They are a way to express yourself, or show what you love, dream, or whom you care for. We get them for all different reasons, with all different meanings, in all different places of our bodies. Now, that they are more acceptable socially, the amount of people getting this permanent mark of art is also becoming less rejected. Whether it is to feel rebellious, more attractive, or to just fit the trend, tattoos have made their break. Eighty-three percent do not regret getting a tattoo and 17 percent said that they wished they didn’t do it. Out of the 17 percent, 13 percent said it was because of the name they had in their tattoo. A national survey of adults showed that Democrats are more likely to get a tattoo, but the strongest number of people to regret having a tattoo are Republicans. In the work area there are still guidelines of dress code. To wear tattoos, they must either be covered or be of a certain size, since the look of a tattoo to the elder crowed is still seen as “trashy” or gang related. Althoguh there are still places that tattoos are not completely accepted, it doesn’t stop doctors, lawyers, and teachers from getting them. Tattoos are becoming known as a respected practice of art, more so than as a rebellious act or seen as disruptive. In the search agent poll, it was stated that in 2006 tattoos was number one search term online, followed by Britney Spears, Marijuana, and rock bands. We express ourselves with how we dye our hair, the clothes that we wear, the way we carry ourselves among other people and of what our tattoos represent. No longer is the question if you have one or not, but rather, what does it mean to you and why. I personally, believe that tattoos have become so popular as the acceptance of them as increased and opened as a more individually-rounded society progressed.

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