by RYAN SEYMOUR and MARY PARK
Body modification has been around for thousands of years, including tattoos. There are a number of reasons why people get these things. Whether it be for religion, inspired by art, or just personal taste, many people have this process done every year. It’s safe and quite beautiful if the design is well thought out and taken care of in the correct manner afterwards. If this form of art and expression is so widely expressed in this day and age, why are tattoos frowned upon in general society?
Tattoos have long been associated with people of a lower class, or just criminal actions in general. Honestly, I think that they have been given a bad reputation. Not all people who inscribe themselves with tattoos are unintelligent or destined for a criminal life. If you take a deeper look into the meaning of tattoos, they can serve as memento for lost loved ones with a simple “R.I.P (insert loved one’s name here)”. Or maybe one could get a tattoo as a reminder of one’s time served in the military, perhaps with a fallen comrade’s name.
Tributes can serve as another deep meaning for a tattoo. While this may seem similar to the idea of tattooing for reminders, usually these kinds of tattoos are meant for someone who is still alive. Eminem, the famous rapper, has a tribute tattoo of his daughter Hailey. A word of caution, though. While there are different view points on getting a significant other’s name tattooed on you, my advice would be to not do so. While right now you may think you’re going to be with them forever, time may prove otherwise. And you don’t want to be stuck with a nasty reminder of your past and an awkward conversation starter for future boyfriends or girlfriends.
If you have a passion for something, it can serve as a legitimate reason for getting a tattoo. Perhaps you’re really into a band and you have a particular set of lyrics that really mean a lot to you. That’s a perfectly logical tattoo.
Probably one of the biggest arguments I’ve heard against tattoos, including from my own parents in protest to me getting tattooed, is, “How will you get a job?!” My solution is simple and effective; don’t get tattoos that are clearly visible in your every day clothing, such as neck tattoos, tattoo sleeves, and God forbid face tattoos. While you may not think you want a white collar job now, you may want one in the future. Employers look down upon this highly. My best advice would be if you decide to get tattooed, place them on your chest, back, or maybe biceps. Places that can hidden by clothing when going into a job interview should not be tattooed.
Another argument that is not so common involves safety. While it may been done using needles in a seedy parlor, tattoos tend to be inscribed in a cleaner, more safe environment. Having some experience in body modification with six piercings, I know for a fact that these places live up to a very high degree of hygiene and over-all cleanliness, as it is mandated by law. When the artist pierced my lip, he washed his hands, put on a new pair of disposable gloves and pulled out a needle in a vacuum sealed bag, not meant for reuse. Similar standards are held for being tattooed. As long as the tattoo is well taken care of by the person who received it, there is little reason to worry about them getting infected or injured in the process.
Let’s stop judging so much based on simple body modifications. Done correctly and safely by a professional they are wonderful ways to express yourselves; embrace them, don’t shun them. They’re an amazing way to express your beliefs and views.
It is common to make mistakes as a young teenager growing up. Most of the time, we think of it as looking back thirty years from now and laughing at how dumb we were. But the decision of getting a tattoo is permanent and may come with regret. I agree that tattoos are interesting and personable art, but just because that piece of ink art is worth it at the moment does not mean it will be in the future.
Now, people who are for tats may say, “You know what, Mary? I think it looks very cute/hip and I’m perfectly fine with it.” That’s great; I’m sure you will still love it once it gets a bit saggy and the colours are faded. Oh, but that’s only if you have been putting on sunscreen, getting it touched up, and limit the sun exposure everyday.
Your tattoo will sag from getting older and lose colour no matter what. Do you really think it’s worth paying the extra cash to get it touched up over all the years, anyway?
Other tattoo supporters might say, “Well, tattoos express art; it displays another side to others,” or, “This is a favorite memory of ____, and I want it to stick with me wherever I go.” Do you still want that Spongebob tattoo on you when you’re seventy-two years old? Yes, it will remind you of a good memory, when you were seventeen and all your classmates thought it looked so cool and praised you. Then they got over it after two days. But it will also remind you of how foolish you were for even getting that. Your grandchildren may think it is cool, but they will not be watching “Spongebob” religiously like you said you did. I promise you, you will get tired of it. It may not be now, but one day.
If you are going to a special event, and lots of fancy people will be there, I doubt anyone will have a complementary “Patrick Star” tat on display in front of everyone. You can tell who has a regrettable tattoo if they are all covered up on a really hot evening. Would you want to be that person? I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any major supermodels who are all tattooed up. Yes, some have them, but small unnoticeable ones on their feet,or a tiny one on their shoulder because companies and jobs prefer clean, pure skin. None are like Kat Von D style.
You may want to feel individualistic and be the only kid with a cool tattoo. Newsflash; there are lots of other kids who are just like you and want to be “different” and get a unique tattoo. Therefore, you are not really that unique, but joined into the I’m-unique-and-rebellious-so-I’m getting-a-tattoo-to-prove-it” pool.
Lastly, another group of people will say, “Well Mary, this is about a special person/loved one/important event in my life that occurred, and I want this to remind me of them/it everywhere I go.” This is a more sensitive topic to deal with, but let’s all be realistic here. That tattoo will not remind you everyday of what happened. You will eventually forget that it was on you, thus losing the value of it. So now it will only be there for people to make judgements about you. Then you’ll remember it only if people point it out to you. If something is so memorable to you, why not write it down, create a shrine, frame it, engrave it into jewelry,or the easiest idea… just remember it? If it was so important to you, you would not need to have something to remind you about it. The importance of tattoos will soon be gone and you will not be able to wear that nice shirt because your tattoo is clashing with it. So why bother?
Henna is a great alternative to tattoos. It’s not permanent, and is perfect for you if you want to express your rebellious, teenage unique-ness at the time. Once you’re over it, you would not have to deal with removing a tattoo through lasers leaving weird permanent dots. If you want to prove to the world how much you’re interested in that cool underground band, wear a t-shirt or something. So later when you’re sick of it, you can move on.
After reading this, I know that hardcore group of people will say, “You don’t know anything Mary, I’m still going to get a tat once I turn seventeen in May, in two years, cause I’m still a freshman…” Just be aware and know that once you get inked, it is permanent, along with it becoming saggy, and faded. Even if you get it removed, it will never go back to your normal, pure looking skin again.