Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

January 2, 2014

Changes in tattoo acceptance

When I was growing up, I remember my parents telling me to stay away from tattoos.

My parents filled me with false fears of not getting employed because of a tattoo. These early lessons were created in response to negative social stereotypes of my parents’ generation, and they did not want me to fall into any of them. After years and years of these lessons, I did what any college aged kid would do: I got a tattoo.

To my surprise, I have not been judged, mistreated or discriminated against because of my tattoos; rather they have caused intrigue and inquiry and I have received numerous compliments. Has tattooing dropped its early titles of being a deviant and rebellious art? And has tattooing become a culturally supported art form for all social classes, ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles?

The demographics for tattoos have completely changed in the past decade by an effort to ditch the old low-life and negative stereotypes and accept a new role as a vehicle for self-expression. In 2008, a sociology professor found that popular culture’s acceptance of tattoos in hit television shows such as Miami Ink, LA Ink and Ink Master, and the presence of tattoos among actors, musicians and athletes have created a new trend that shows tattoos as a higher class possession.

Personal viewpoints can correlate with the ideas promoted by popular media. Even with tattoos becoming a growing trend, the future of tattoos’ new image is safe due to the ideology and mindset of today’s college students and future workforce leaders.

During a sociological investigation of the correlation of education and tattoos, Canadian researchers found that 67 percent of tattooed individuals they questioned were graduates of or were currently enrolled in colleges or universities. Researchers concluded that tattoos and intelligence do not correlate and therefore doubt the crude stereotypes of tattoos being related with lower intelligence.

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