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Why People Decide to Get Tattoos

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Why People decide to get Tattoos

Kimberlee Morton

University of Phoenix


Michaela Roessner-Herman

March 7, 2010

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Americans in general will decide to get a tattoo for several different reasons. They express themselves by having tattoos representing something important to them. When doing so, they will get tattoos with religious meanings, displaying military status, for acceptance, the death of a loved one, or something of independence in their lives.

A tattoo or being inked is a permanent picture, design, or other marking on the skin by pricking it and staining it with an indelible dye. (Encarta Dictionary, 2007) Even though other Americans may judge them for being inked, a lot of people do not care of how those certain Americans might think about it. "Many Americans who do not have tattoos said they think that people with tattoos are less attractive (42%), less sexy (36%) and less intelligent (31%). They also think that those with tattoos are more rebellious (57%). In contrast, only 29% of those with tattoos think they are more rebellious."(Vanishing Tattoo, 2003)

When people are getting tattoos they are forming an expression of themselves in ink on their bodies. They are showing off to the world and everyone in it how they feel or how they live their day to day lives. People are not usually getting tattoos just for fun but mainly for a meaning, but there are those few who do it just to impress someone in their lives. For those who feel it is necessary to ink themselves just to show they can do it, is also a way to express themselves, but in the wrong way. No one should ever get a tattoo because of peer pressure, it's not a good decision and you will end up regretting it. The ones who do it for meaning are usually trying to cope with a form of loss or even just to put their position in life in general.

There are also ways that gangs use tattoos to their advantage. For instance, they will get tattoos so that people know they are in that certain gang. Also, they will display a tattoo for a gang status and their rank in the gang. These types of tattoos are also a form of expression, but it also lets rival gangs know what gang that certain person belongs to. This is a good thing for police, for example, these gang tattoos are a great source for police officers because they can identify what gang they are claiming and also the police will learn more about that gang with the person they have caught. Then the police can keep track of how big the gangs are getting and also they will know if there has been a new gang formed, just from the tattoos.

Religious tattoos are just another form of expression. Americans support their religious beliefs and they don't care that people may judge them for it. Even though there are people who are there to judge anyone and everyone, most don't care that they are judging them because it is what that person believes in. It is a way of showing their appreciations for their religious backgrounds. When people are expressing themselves on their bodies it makes them feel more comfortable to open up to others. It gives them a conversation starter with strangers and also helps those strangers understand. Some people feel that tattooing their religious symbol on their body makes it known to the world that this is the religion they have chosen. They feel that with this tattoo on their body that they may be more protected by their belief. They also feel that they are empowered to do these tattoos to show their everlasting commitment to this religion.

Tattoos are a very good form of expression. With all of the American's that have tattoos you cannot go around and ask them all why they got the tattoo or the meaning behind it, so the internet is a great place to find all those stories. These strangers will see the tattoos and wonder to themselves "What does this person mean by this tattoo?" this will make them pose the question out loud. Many think that tattoos can also relieve emotion on certain aspects of life. When sitting there and having someone give them a tattoo it can be a form of a stress reliever to few people. Just to sit in the chair and have all your adrenaline build up, when they touch your skin with the tattoo gun they send the endorphins throughout your body and when the tattoo is complete they feel a sense of relaxation and all their stress is gone for that moment in time. I think that getting a memoriam of someone you loved or of something you loved helps you cope with your loss.

In general your tattoo can be whatever you want it to be. People will get a tattoo of their horoscope or their gender sign. When getting a tattoo of their horoscope they are letting people know more about their lives. They are expressing that they are a certain sign and don't feel that they need to tattoo it, but choose to. They feel empowered; they also feel that they are letting people know what their signs are, even though they already know it's just another form of expression. There are plenty of people who get their tattoos to tell stories of certain periods in their lives and to remember certain milestones in their lives. Many people are judged for having a tattoo, but with someone to explain the reasons behind getting tattoos, those certain few who do not approve of them will have a better understanding.

"In tribal societies where tattooing was done ritually, it often represented a part of the transition from childhood to adulthood and everyone went through this process." (Schwarz, 2009) In ancient times



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