Tattoos And Society Essay

1703 words - 7 pages

A persons’ image is vital when meeting someone for the first time. Our peers, employers, family, superiors, even strangers that you walk past can automatically judge someone, and imagine how they present themselves to the world. Tattoos have been predominantly linked with a rebellious attitude and pictured on out of control stereotypes such as rock starts, bikers, sailors, and disobedient teenagers who want nothing more than to hack off their parents. With a new coming of age generation and a step into a more lenient and liberal society these types of patrons still participate in body art but so do doctors, lawyers, or just the run of the mill house mom. Tattoos signify religious beliefs, cultural influence, or each individual’s sole style. Body art is no longer socially offensive, employers are more apt to hiring tatted hopeful applicants, parents are warming up to the idea of their children inking their body and no longer a stranger on the street with a tattoo is necessarily prejudged as a criminal or safety hazard. Tattoos have become more evolved over the years because they have become more of a socially accepted element of the general public.
Dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries North American tattooing originated in the island of Tahiti, and other small pacific islands including Samoa and Hawaii (DeMello). The modification by U.S tattooists was to “fit a local sensibility emphasizing patriotism rather than exoticism” (DeMello). Martin Hildebrandt, was the first known tattoo artist in the United States as a professional. Shortly after the first mechanical tattooing machine was created, up until this point tattoos had been done by hand. A tattoo machine was invented because tattoos become a fad with military men and a new quicker efficient way was needed to ease pain and speed up the process. Tattoos really started become relevant to communities. Tattoo artist were mainly middle-aged men, who worked at the hole in the wall tattoo parlors. Body art also became known to be seen at circuses, and “freak shows” sometimes being next to people with disabilities or natural born wonders (DeMallo). Until the golden age of tattooing, which took place in the twentieth century, when parlors were actually next to things like barber shops, and retail stores. Margo DeMallo describe body art at the end of the sixties as “fragmented into different forms that corresponded to different social groups: servicemen, gang members, convicts, bikers, and working class men and woman” (DeMallo).
Not only have attitudes towards tattoos changed from their historic start but also the reasons for getting them. As time progressed so did the art of the tattoo, it has largely always been a favorite of individuals serving in the armed forces but outcast archetypes began to use tattoos as an outlet for artistic expression and shock value. Biker gangs all along the West Coast used tattoos to signify which gang they belonged to. Rock stars began to paint...

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