You did what? A Tattoo? Are you mad?

Why would anyone want to be tattooed? The answer actually depends upon what time period and what culture you are talking about.

Tattooing is an ancient practice. Archaeologists have dug up 2500 year old mummies that had elaborate tattoos on their bodies. (see Siberian Mummy Has Detailed Tattoos.) Throughout time, different cultures have had different reasons for decorating themselves with tattoos. For some cultures tattoos had religious significance, while for others they were used to indicate a person’s rank and/or accomplishments. Yet others used them as part of an initiation ritual into adulthood – a sign for all to see that a boy could now be viewed as a man and was eligible to take a wife, or that a girl could now be viewed as a woman who could marry. Some believed tattoos had magical qualities that would give them strength and others believed they had healing powers (they would tattoo over the injured or sick area of their body). Some cultures used tattooing to punish convicted criminals who had their crime tattooed on their face for all to see. On the other hand, some religions such as Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrians and some Christian groups forbade tattooing, viewing it as a self-inflicted disfigurement. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoo#History)

In Western culture the word tattoo was first introduced by Captain James Cook, the Englishman who is commonly credited with the discovery of Australia. The word “tattoo” itself comes from the Tahitian word tatau. Cook wrote in the Endeavour’s Log: “Both sexes paint their Bodys, Tattow, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inlaying the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible.” Sir Joseph Banks, who was with Cook (and who was the one responsible for declaring Australia Terra Nullius), returned to England with a Tahitian tattoo. Many of Cook’s men also had themselves tattooed. The fashion caught on and tattoos gradually became common among sailors, military groups and working men. Few women had tattoos during this period. After World War 2 tattooing lost popularity, possibly because people began to associated it with the Nazis who tattooed Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust. Following the Vietnam war tattoos became common among bikie gang members and prison inmates, reflecting a spirit of rebellion against the authorities and norms of that time period.

According to Margo DeMello’s book, Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community the current tattoo culture began in the 1970s with the tattoo designs being shaped by the dramatic social changes then occuring including gay and lesbian rights, the civil rights movement, the Black Power movement and women’s liberation. Peace signs, yin/yangs, dolphins, mushrooms, marijuana leaves and flowers began appearing on the bodies of people with middle-class values; something unheard of up until this time.

In the 1980s tattooing began to be viewed as art by some and self-taught tattooists began to make way for educated art graduates who became professional art design tattooists. During the 1990s, and particularly during the last 10 years, in Western culture tattoos began to be commonly seen among sporting, music and movie celebrities and have now become widely popular among the general public. (See History of tattooing)

This brings us to our time. Who is most likely to be get themselves tattooed today? Across all age groups 14% of people have at least one tattoo according to an Australian study undertaken by Deakin University, Who gets tattoos?. Their findings showed that the group most likely to get a tattoo in 2012 is young women in their 20s (over 29% have one). Overall results showed that men and women ages 20-39 were most likely to have a tattoo.

Now here is the thing I don’t get. While some people get a tattoo for a special reason such as to remember a loved one who is no longer with them or some such personal reason, it seems to me that most people today get their tattoo/s as a body decoration. As I see it then, this makes their reason for getting a tattoo the same as the reason why we choose our hair style, select the jewellery and makeup we wear and choose our cloth style. It is this I just do not get, because if the basic reason we are getting a tattoo is because we think it looks good on us, then really the reason we are getting a tattoo is fashion. The problem with fashion is that it does not last. What is fashionable today is out of fashion tomorrow. Of course this doesn’t matter with our hair, clothes, jewellery or makeup because we can just change these to fit the next fashion trend. Not so with a tattoo. No doubt this is why it is illegal in Victoria to get a tattoo if you are under 18 years of age. You really do need to be sure of what you are doing.

I mean, how would you feel if you had a hairdo like one of these but it was permanent – you COULD NOT CHANGE IT? Aarrrrgghhhhhhhh!


Source
101dcool.wikispaces.com

Source Chris Dlugosz

Perhaps this is why almost 20% of people who get a tattoo are prepared to go through the expensive and painful process of having it removed? So there it is. I just don’t get why a person in 2012 would get a tattoo to decorate themselves? WHY? Would someone please enlighten me?

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39 thoughts on “You did what? A Tattoo? Are you mad?

  1. Well like you said before, it could be for a religous or tribal reason. But apart from that people just get tatoos because they think it looks good and for some people, once they get one, they become, somehow addicted to them and don’t stop. I think that if you get one to represent your family it is ok. I don’t mind small tats of someone’s name or a small picture, but when it gets a bit out of control, that’s when it starts to look stupid. Tatoos on your shoulder or shoulder blade aren’t too bad. I think that it is ok if you can hide it somehow.

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  2. It’s pretty ironic that tattoos are becoming more and more popular these days, people still discriminate against those who have them, especially those who have intimidating looking ones with full sleeves and all over their back. Many people with noticeable tattoos find it hard to get a job, or they have to cover it up. Perhaps tattoos are seen as messy and not very orderly. Another ironic thing which is mentioned is that people actually pay to get it taken off. Before getting a tattoo, they should have known it was permanent and they should have made a firm decision in the first place. Personally, even if I did want to get one, I wouldn’t even be able to decide the design and whether I would like it after a long time.

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  3. People get tattoos for many different reasons. Some get them to honour someone they have lost, religious reasons , some get them to remember something special that happened in their life, some get them because everyone else got one, and some people get them to bond with a group, Some people enjoy putting art on their body or a piece that is special to them . It personal preference. it comes to a personal chose on the person and what the meaning is for the tattoo.

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  4. It is true; people get tattoos for special reasons. My father-in-law, Alfred, was a good example of this. He was 18 years old in 1942, enlisted in the British army to fight the Germans in World War 2 and was sent first to North Africa and then to Italy. On route to the frontline his regiment camped for several months near Johannesburg, South Africa. While there he met a beautiful girl named Rita and they fell deeply in love. To demonstrate his love for her, Alfred had a heart tattooed on his forearm and across the heart was tattooed the name of Rita, the love of his life. So romantic!
    When his regiment left for the front Alfred and Rita declared their undying love for each other, vowing to get together after the war had ended when they would grow old together. Now Alfred was away fighting for 18 months. He wrote his true love Rita regularly and she, for a time, wrote to him … and then stopped. Eventually he found out, through someone else who knew Rita that she had met someone else and had moved on. Alfred was heartbroken, but in time he moved on too. Eventually he found another true love – Elsie. They married and spent their lives together. However each time Alfred held Elsie in his arms she had to look at the heart, which, in big bold letters declared Alfred’s undying love for … Rita! Elsie was not amused! True story!

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  5. personally, I have no problem with tattooing. it could be religious, tribal, done for tribute or just for fun!
    tattooing is a way of art to express yourself with something permanent on your body. obviously you should think about it seriously as there is no going back, and you don’t want to walk around with something ridiculous permanently drawn on you. If its something you are truly passionate about go for it. What society says about it doesn’t matter, there could be a religious or personal reason behind it for all they know

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  6. I think that tattooing is fine because if you really want to cover yourself with ink you are allowed to. People have changed a lot since the 1900s and this is why people are getting tattooed more often. The idea of getting a tattoo to remember someone is a good idea because it will be with you forever and of the tattoo means something it is also good to have. Our society is very different to the ancient cultures that use tattoos for specific meanings but that’s okay. Tattooing is a way of expressing yourself without having to actually tell people. They can just look at your tattoo and know something about you.

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  7. i think that tatoos are a waste of time, as soon as its done thats probably as good as its ever going to look because as time goes on they look rubbish and it hurts even more to get them removed.

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  8. People get tattoos for certain reasons. People like the look of body art and some people even like the pain. As soon as youve done one , you probably get addicted and cant stop. Yeah it may be a waste of money to you , but what about the person getting them ? People are aloud to be themselves , theres nothing wrong with it. People from the 1990’s to now are alot different and society is different. If you want to get a tattoo then go get one , who cares what other people think.

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  9. I think getting a tattoo for any reason is okay because it letting someone expresses who they really are. Tattoos could be something meaningful, religious or just because it looks pretty or cool. I think if you get past the fact that it is permanent and it will stay there and to remove it would be painful and costly. As long as people are okay with that, I think they should be allowed to get as many as the want. Tattoos are a great way to express yourself and having a tattoo should lessen your chance of getting a job, just because you have a tattoo.

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  10. Like it was mentioned tattooing was all about religious reasons back in the days. Some people now are still getting tattoos because of religious reason and others just like the look of them or even for fun. People express themselves via what they would like even if this includes inking themselves, it’s the persons choice not anyone else’s. It is a serious matter to get tattoos done so don’t think that it’s not an easy choice but to the person with the tattoo it is their choice to get it done and if they are not wanting it anymore to get it surgically removed, it’s their money that is wasted and not societies problem to worry about.

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  11. I agree with Tory, i really don’t have a problem with people getting tattoo’s. In my culture most men get tattoos when they are as young as 12. Yes it’s painful but it’s body art and because i come from the islands, most islanders do get tattoos simply because it’s a individuals choice or it’s just representing their tribe. so yeah i dont have a problem with body art. 🙂
    if you want to see what they look like, just go to google images and type in “TONGAN TATTOOS” and search and then you’ll see 🙂

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  12. Some people see tattoos as pieces of art and a beautiful thing. Depending on what kind of person you are, of course you will have a different opinion. People do get tattoo to represent something about themself, or something that means something to them. I don’t think people should complain about why people get tattoos just because it’s art because you don’t know how that person works and what they like so it should be there choice only to do as they please.

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  13. What’s right or wrong about this is all in the eye of the beholder, personally, if the tattoo isn’t covering a massive part of the body, or isn’t anything stupid, I really don’t mind tattoo’s sadly. For religious or spiritual purposes I’m complete fine with, it doesn’t matter how someone really chose to worship what ever religion they follow.

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  14. I honestly think that anyone should be eligible to be able to ink their skin. A tattoo is there for the person, not for the others around them. Yes, they are permanent, but with the fashion issue – they can always be tattooed over, or painfully removed. People have choices, some are good, some are bad. But tattoos are just a cool way of being independent and not the same as everyone else. You could say the same about piercings – the hole or scar can be there forever. As it did begin with religious reasons, it has now evolved and everyone is their own person. There shouldn’t be rules and regulations against your choices with tattoos (except for the under 18’s factor, which I completely agree with). I think that it is your body, and you have choices to do whatever you want to do with it. No one needs to stand in you way, they can give their opinion; but either way, it’s your choice if you want them to sway you.

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    • Back in the 1960s and 1970s young people demonstrated their “independence” not with tattoos, but by having outrageously long hair styles that shocked the older generation of the time. The Beatles shocked the public with their candalously long hair. Young men quickly copied and by the 1970s long hair became the norm. Movie star Cary Grant with a “respectable” hair style.

      “Long-haired louts”, “Get a hair-cut and get a job” and “juvenile deliquent” were all terms the older generation hurled at young people who dared to grow their hair long. Is there a similar reason that young people today get a tattoo?

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  15. I don’t really have a problem with tatooing and i think that anyone should be able to do it. Like others have said people do it for many different reasons and it is a way to express themselves. It may sometimes be for a tribul, or religious reason and that is fine. Tatooing is for yourself and your body and no one elses But yes you have to be careful when choosing a tatoo because they are permanent.

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  16. People get tattooed under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and won’t know what they are doing. Then they will go get it removed because they never really wanted a tattoo. Religion doesn’t really play a part in tattooing and it’s mainly just young people getting them. They might think that it’s cool before they get it done but then they change their mind after. Getting a tattoo is something that’s preferential and personally i don’t have a problem with them.

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  17. I think tattoos is everyone to them selfs and everybody who has a tattoo or wants one has a reason maybe to remember the loved and the lost, something they love, something what makes them who they are, there are many reasons to having a tattoo I don’t have anything against tattooing but I think everybody needs a limit to how much they have! But people really need to think about getting a tattoo before they get one as its not like a hair cut or getting new clothes its on your body for life!

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  18. people that get tattoos need to be sure that they want to get one, because it hurts more when you get it removedl. some religons want you to get one, and if you are in the army you sometimes want to get a tattoo of your sqaud to prove your a loyal member.

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  19. As many people have said, it is up to you to what you want to look like and if that means covering your body in ink then do it. I personally think just a few tattoos are okay, such as ones that have a personal meaning or something that is really special to you. Or even the odd small one. Tattooing has changed a lot over time and so has society, so people think that tattoos are cool, then others will get them done as it is the ‘trend’. The main reason people get tattoos though is because they like them or they have a special meaning to it.

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  20. I also don’t understand why people would get tattoos to decorate themselves or because it’s a fashion trend. As said, trends go away and tattoos aren’t as easy to get rid of unlike jewelry, clothes or a hairstyle. I understand if people get tattoos if it is in respect for someone or because it has a special meaning for them, but other people seem to get tattoos because it is a cool thing to do among a group of people or they get it done under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which people also do because it is a cool thing to do.

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  21. It’s the peoples own choice and own body to get a tattoo done, it can be any reason why they chose to get one by religious or not, or maybe just for fashion now a days. It can sometimes affect the things you do such as donate blood. Once you get it done it’s there for life, unless they want to go through a pain full procedure to remove it permanently. But then again it could be an important reason getting one like religious believes or a lost loved one you want in memory? But it is mostly a fashion trend that people chose to get one.

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    • This is a balanced answer Nick. Most people get one for fashion reasons which is, as you say, up to them, but it is a decision not to be taken lightly. I say this because fashion is almost always driven by other people, not by ourselves. We just go along with their ideas becasue everyone else is doing so.

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  22. It’s up to them whether or not you like or don’t like tattooes. Everyone has the right to free speech. Most people get a tattoo for fashion, but thier usually a reason for it, maybe because all their friends have done it, maybe because of a loved one. No matter what the reason anyone can get a tattoo, they just have to pive with the consquences.

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  23. Times change and so does fashion. People will always follow what is the most recent fashion and also copy what everyone else is doing. Some people also do some strange things because of their culture and what they believe in. Although it really doesn’t make sense to do something because everyone else is doing it, it is they way things have been for 100’s of years and it is the way I think it will stay for many more years.

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  24. People get a tattoo because it might be part of their religion to get a certain type of tattoo, also if they are around their friends they might get pressured into getting a tattoo or thinking they’re “cool” and wanting to get one. I can understand if you wanted to get a tattoo for specific reason, but other than that I don’t see why you would need to get tattoos all over your body.

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  25. Alot of people have tattoos for a number of reasons and it’s their choice to get a tattoo or not. If they’re getting it for religious reasons or for personal reasons, I don’t see a problem with it as long as they don’t go over the top with the excess tattoos on their bodies. So I think that although one or two tattoos on the arms or legs or parts like that are ok, people who go over the top and tattoo the majority of their body are eventually going to regret their decision and that there’s no reason to get tattoos all over your body.

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    • Some cultures use temporary tattoos Kyle. These are made with henna or mehndi. Some of these are very elaborate, but they last only a matter of weeks before they fade. So you can have your body decoration if that is what you want to do, but without permanently marking your skin.

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  26. Personaly i believe tattoos arnt so bad because people may like to express them selves to other people by getting certain tattoos but on the other hand i also think its not really needed to spend so much money to get your skin painted when some people dont even get to eat but i guess everyone needs luxuries.

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  27. Some people get tattoos for religious beliefs or loss of family members or just a plain old symbol. I want to get A tattoo with my family members names somewhere. It’s someone’s choice if they want a tattoo then they should get one and not care what anyone else thinks. Tattoos aren’t as bad as people think they are just because you get one doesn’t mean you’re in a gang.

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  28. Personally, i think tattoos are definitely just depending on the person, because tattoos can be there for certain reasons, or no reason at all, but it’s a memory of life. I think the age limit on tattoo’s is very important because, it’s a big decision and it’s something that will be there for life, and you need to be mature enough to think about the decision.

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    • That is exactly the point Russell. So my question is this: When you make a choice because it is a fashion trend, that is, because everyone else around you is doing it, then who are you letting control your body? Are you in control or are you letting others control you?

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  29. It is in my culture to get tattoos and we have amazing designs. Tattoos are not a problem, whether they are there for decoration, meaning or culture. If they want to do a tattoo because it’s a trend, they most likely will regret getting that tattoo in a couple of decades. But if it’s part of their culture or if it has meaning to it (such as tattooing your kids name), the tattoo will be apart of their life and they probably will really like that tattoo.

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  30. i know a lot of people that just get tattoo’s just for fun, things they like that they want to share with others. alot of tattoos are just personal likes or dislikes and it’s just a way to show it off. Not everyone needs a reason or a terrible thing/good thing to happen for a reaosn to get a tattoo, some people just want to and that’s fair enough i think 🙂

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  31. I saw that tattoos should be allowed in an culture. People get it because it is art ornthey want to write their children/wife/husbands name. People like to show of their tattoos and ther is always a story behind them. If someone wants a tattoo go ahead they can do it and get what ever they want 🙂

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  32. i would never get a tattoo for the same reason and also because they would really hurt and would need to redo them after a while because they fade. If you don’t want it anymore they hurt way more than getting it because you are getting it out of your skin.

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  33. I believe that tatoos are assosciated with many things. People get tatto’s to showcase who they are. Bikies use them to show rebellion, as do prisoners and a lot of teenagersyoung adults. But there is also the fashion aspect, which still supports the “showing who you are” angle. I think people get tattoo’s decoratively because it is art and, in that sense, the only difference between it and getting your nails done is the permanent factor. But I do not believe tattoo’s are viewed as permanent by the people who get them. They can be permanent, if you want them to be, but there is the option of getting them removed, however unpleasent the process might be. I know if I ever get a tattoo I will definitely have that in the back of my head. I just see it as a possible safety net, in case I change my mind later in life. I don’t think this is a bad attitude to have towards tattooing, just being wise with all of my facts and making an educated decision.

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  34. People think that tattoos are just a cry for attention, a rebellion against society, or a way to hide who we truly are. Some will say you get tattoos in order to be different, yet others will claim you are just trying to fit in with all of the other tattooed people.

    The truth is that some people do get their tattoos to rebel or be different and some tattooed people are in fact uneducated thugs and criminals. But that fact should not lead to the conclusion that this is the case for all people with tattoos. Unfortunately, some people can and will jump to those very conclusions.

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