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Body Modifications: Tattoos And Body Piercings

1997 words - 8 pages

How far is too far when it comes to body modifications, such as tattooing and body piercing. Until those who tattoo and pierce to excess, realize the stigma they are placing on the art, the United States government should regulate where and to what degree tattoo artists can legally tattoo or pierce.
To answer the question of why people tattoo, one would have to look back to how the early civilization made a living and their opinions on the world around them. Prehistoric people may have been the first to mark the human body for practical purposes. Tens of thousands of years ago mineral pigments were used to preserve the bodies of humans and animal skins, while also neutralizing the odor of decay. Paul G. Bahn, an archaeologist and prehistoric art scholar writes that "Human Skin, bones, teeth, and hair were the first canvases or artistic expression" (Body Marks 17). For many decades even centuries, people have used henna. Henna is a small shrub known as Lawsonia Inermis. It grows in India, Pakistan, Iran, and North America. Henna tattoos are practiced all around the world. The earliest reference is on a Syrian tablet from 2100 B.C. The Mehndi people are the ones that usually deal with the true henna tattooing.. They draw an intricate design with henna paste, leave it on for several hours, then peel or scrape off the past to reveal a reddish or brownish-orange design. The Mehndi culture to henna tattoos in large portions for many occasions, a wedding is a perfect example.
Tattooing became popular with the "high society" people in the lat 1800s, including women and royalty in England and the United States. It started out being very popular in England and then its appeal "jumped the pond" to the United States. Martin Hildenbrandt, a German immigrant who tattooed the Union and Confederate troops in the Civil War, set up a shop on Oak Street in New York City. This tattoo parlor is thought to be the first in the United States. Back in the day individuals were not too big on regulations until the 1950s and 1960s. Samuel Steward from Chicago said:
The floor was a filthy mess of mud, sawdust, dried spittle, torn newspapers, and wine bottles here and there. The flash on the walls had a primitive look. The machines were powered by an old-current generator...the needles were filthy with such a gummy coating of old dried ink splatters and grease that you were afraid to touch them. (Body Marks 4)
City officials began to restrict or ban tattooing because of concerns about health issues. An outbreak of hepatitis during the 1950s was allegedly connected to Coney Island tattoo artists, who were suspected of working under unsanitary conditions.
There are few regulations when it comes to tattoos and body piercings but there are many risks. The tattoo parlor must be clean by the state regulations. When it comes to a tattoo, the skin must first be prepared. An artist will shave the area when necessary, wipe alcohol over the...

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