Tattoos have Become a Part of American Society

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Over the past years, tattoos have slowly become a component of everyday liveliness and are relevant to everyone. Though tattoos are seen as being a common accessory, the incertitude of why people decide to get them is rarely asked. The painful sensation, the stereotype, and the misconceptions that are often associated with a tattoo would mannerism the doubt as to why anyone would actually choose to get a tattoo. Tattoos are an extremely personal and affectionate way of expressing yourself. Ordinary people get tattoos because it enhances their bodies according to them, and their confidence level increases after getting one.

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Tattoos have been around for about fifty years dating back to the breakthrough of the “”Iceman”” in 1991 (Lineberry 1). The tattoo found on his body were not to appearance artistic expression or show rank; rather “”they may have been applied to alleviate joint pain and were therefore essentially therapeutic”” (Lineberry 1). It was practice for Egyptian cleaning woman of heights status to receive tattoos for the same grade of comforting reasons. “”Tattooing of antediluvian Egyptian cleaning lady had a therapeutic role and functioned as a permanent waveform of amulet during the very difficult clip of maternity and parentage” (Lineberry two). Tattoos have been a part of society since the earliest of people on Earth; it is only recently that they have been viewed as humiliating.

Mid 2000’s tattoos were viewed as self-mutilation and simply unnecessary. During the 1940s, tattoos began to be a much more common accessory, especially among armed forces men. The reasoning behind these tattoos was they wanted to show pride towards their country. Most of these 1940’s style tattoos are eagles, the American flag, and other strong American symbols. Older generations viewed these people with tattoos as dirty.

It has only been within the past ten years that tattoos have gradually become more acceptable.  There is not a day where a person does not see a tattoo flowing across foreign skin.  Driving down the street there are tattoo shops that line nearly every corner you come across and are no longer an underground type of business.  People have begun to come to the realization that by having a tattoo a person is not entitled to be trashy.  People are beginning to have new outlooks on tattoos, the question still remains though, why would someone want a tattoo?

One thing that comes to mind before receiving a tattoo is all of the stereotypes that you are bound to face.  Valerie Kiriakopoulos is a librarian that had to face such stereotypes.  “Of course, I know that “”judging a book by its cover”” is a reality so there will always be someone who disapproves. The one thing I try to do is be upfront about who I am, which includes my tattoos” (1). Other stereotypes include people getting the idea that you are trashy or simply don’t care about your personal image.  Most of these stereotypes are made by older generations who grew up to believe that tattoos were only for prisoners.  Even though stereotypes are a part of getting a tattoo, the positive feeling you receive afterward cannot be described.  

Tattoos are the ultimate form of expression that a person can perform upon himself or herself.  “”A popular art form of self-expression that was once limited to rebels, bikers, and sailors has now been embraced by those in every phase of life, including baby boomers and beyond, says tattoo artist Steve Cochran” (Holmes).  By choosing to get a tattoo, a person is agreeing to a permanent mark on their skin that will represent what it is they got their tattoo for.  No matter the circumstances, it is a simple guarantee that there will be a great deal of satisfaction felt afterward.  Angela Florendo describes her beliefs on the idea of self-expression, and how they are related to tattoos.  “”Whether it be a wild, drunken night that could not be remembered or a sentimental memento of a loved one, a tattoo is a permanent reminder, even if you are trying to forget it”” (1).  In any sort of circumstance, tattoos all have their specific meanings to the person getting it.  

Tattoos have also been commonly viewed as a modern-day accessory.  Many people choose to get tattoos because they simply look good or enhance their physical appearance.  Being a tattoo enthusiast, I see no problem with this growing trend.  If a tattoo increases the amount of self-esteem that a person has towards their body, then it was well worth it.  “Immediately after the tattoo had been completed, both women and men reported significant reductions in dissatisfaction with their appearance and anxiety over their appearance” (Swami).  This quote by Viren Swami describes how both men and women showed a great amount of satisfaction towards their bodies after receiving their tattoos.  His research includes testing the participant’s levels of anxiety before getting the tattoo, immediately after getting the tattoo, and three weeks after receiving the tattoo.  The levels of anxiety they experienced before getting their tattoos related to their body image were at their highest in the three-week span. Immediately after getting their tattoo, their levels of anxiety greatly reduced.  Finally, three weeks after getting their tattoo, allowing it time to heal, their levels of anxiety were at their lowest.  

Tattoos have been a part of society since ancient times.  Throughout the years, their meanings and purposes have changed, but one thing that remains is the self-esteem and human satisfaction that one receives after getting a tattoo.  No matter the reason why someone receives a tattoo, the simple fact remains that they will be extremely satisfied with the outcome and how it affects their body.


Holmes, January. “The art of tattoo: Timeless form of self-expression has moved to the mainstream.” The Island Packet. The Island Packet, 17 Sep. 2006. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.

Lineberry, Cate. Smithsonian. Cate Lineberry, 2007. Web.

Nov. 2012.

Swami, Viren. “Marked for life? A prospective study of tattoos on appearance anxiety and dissatisfaction, perceptions of uniqueness, and self-esteem.” Body Image. 8.3 (2011): 237-244. EBSCO Host. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

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Tattoos Have Become a Part of American Society. (2019, Jun 19). Retrieved from