Free Essay

Discrimination Against Tattoos in America

In: English and Literature

Submitted By srspencer
Words 1183
Pages 5
There are many ways that tattoos are viewed in American society, some ways being viewed as, inspiration, memories, and support for fights against illness or careers. However, tattoos were mainly, and are still sometimes, viewed in a negative connotation being related to gangs or convicts, drug abuse, or sex. In 2013, a study done by Pew Research Center, Tattoo Finder, and Vanishing Tattoo, shows that 14% of all aged Americans have at least one tattoo. Americans between the ages 18-25, 36% of them had at least one tattoo, and of Americans between the ages 26-40, 40% had at least one tattoo. Tattoos are becoming more common in society, from teachers to CEOs, most people have at least one tattoo on his or her body. While many people will argue that tattoos are all inferior or pointless, there are positive aspects to getting tattoos such as, being beneficial for the body and mind, and more people are actually receiving tattoos than they did 10 years ago. According to KidsHealth on their section “Tattoos,” Dr. Mary L. Gavin explains what exactly a tattoo is and goes into more depth on the risks, procedures for both getting and removing a tattoo, and the care process after the tattoo is finished. Gavin writes, “a tattoo is a puncture wound, made deep in the skin, that's filled with ink. It's made by penetrating into the skin with a needle and injecting ink into the area, usually creating some sort of design.” Tattoos are usually viewed in a negative light, however, Dr. Gavin helps shine light on the subject by writing the truth about tattoos and explaining how a tattoo is actually done. Tattooing was recorded to begin around the European Copper Age, in Italy on a man by the name of Ötzi the Iceman, in 3500-3100 B.C. Based on an article by Jarrett A. Lobell and Eric A. Powell, entitled “Ancient Tattoos,” Lobell and Powell write, “Ötzi [was] covered in more than 50 tattoos in the form of lines and crosses made up of small incisions in his skin into which charcoal was rubbed” (42). This shows how tattooing was done before modern technology; people would take a blade and cut softly into the skin the design desired then rub charcoal into the cuts to leave the inked effect on the skin. In the Thracian culture from Central and Southeastern Europe in 450-440 B.C., tattoos were seen as punishment in the ancient Greco-Roman world. According to Lobell and Powell, “the Greeks, who, according to the historian Herodotus, learned the idea of penal tattoos from the Persians in the sixth century B.C., tattooed criminals, slaves who tried to escape, and enemies they [the Greeks] vanquished in battle” (44). The Greeks used tattooing as a form of punishment and labeling to show citizens who was considered a slave, criminal, or war enemy through different symbols; the Romans used tattooing for labeling slaves when their (the slaves’) taxes had been paid. Modern day tattooing began in 1891 in New York City, with the rotary tattoo machine invented by Samuel O’Reilly; the same year Thomas Riley invented the coil tattoo machine in London, England (Skinsight). The first way tattoos are a positive aspect in life, is that getting tattoos can be beneficial to the human body and mind. Tattoos can be beneficial by relieving stress from some people. Some people who get tattoos, get them done to help with the release of stress and feel relaxed when getting inked. Another way getting tattoos can be beneficial, is by using them as a replacement for pain substitution or self-harm. By resorting to getting tattoos over self-harm or pain substitutes, which is a form of addiction, tattoos can provide a safe amount of pain control to the human body. Tattoos are also beneficial for the body and mind by providing support for loved ones, mental illnesses, disease, and also support for careers. People who get tattoos can feel a sense of moving on from a deceased loved one by receiving a tattoo in their (the loved one’s) memory. People who also get these types of tattoos can show support for fights against cancer, mental illness (bipolarism, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, etc.), and disease (Crohn's, AIDS, Autism, etc.). The last way people show support through tattoos, is by showing support in careers. Either for a loved one’s career or the person’s own career, people get tattoos to show support for the troops, for teachers, doctors, lawyers, cosmetologists, and many other careers. The final way tattoos are beneficial for the body and mind is by helping boost the immune system through getting multiple tattoos. In the article by the website Tattoodo titled, "Studies Show That Tattoos Strengthen Your Immune System,” the author Katie Vidan writes about the study a group of students from the University of Alabama did, which helped show getting tattoos is beneficial in helping the body increase immunity strength. Vidan writes, “‘Levels of immunoglobulin A dropped significantly in those receiving initial tattoos, as would be expected because of the immunosuppressant effects of cortisol, responding to the stress of tattooing. But the immunoglobulin A decrease was less so among those receiving tattoos more frequently.’” Based on this study, this shows that getting multiple tattoos is beneficial in helping the human body fight against viruses and other harmful agents entering the body at all times. Through these different methods people can receive important benefits from getting tattoos for both the mind and body. Some people may argue that tattoos are an addiction and are only seen on delinquents, such as gang members or former convicts where tattoos are only signs for violence, drug abuse, or sex. However, while this may be true to see tattoos on convicts and gang members, tattoos are also seen as a form of art in countries like India where their tattoos are temporary called Henna. Also, tattoos today help show support for careers, hobbies, and love for friends and family. Overall, while there are still negative connotations with tattoos in society’s eyes, more and more people are getting tattoos to show his or her roots and to pay tribute to a loved one, as well as, show support for fights against cancer, mental illness, or other diseases. Tattoos are more than just a relation to gangs, criminals, drugs, sex, and violence; they’re a connection to one’s culture and can also help show a story on someone’s body through a bit of ink.

Works Cited
Elzweig, Brian, and Donna K. Peeples. "Tattoos And Piercings: Issues Of Body Modification And The Workplace." SAM Advanced Management Journal 76.1 (2011): 13-23. Business Source Premier. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.
Lobell, Jarrett A. and Eric A. Powell. "Ancient Tattoos." Archaeology 66.6 (2013): 41-46. History Reference Center. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
Vidan, Katie. "Studies Show That Tattoos Strengthen Your Immune System." Tattoodo. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
"Tattoos." KidsHealth. Kidshealth.org, Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
"Tattoos: A Brief History & Background." Skinsight. skinsight.com. 10 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.…...

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