Even though tattooing and body piercing have been around for centuries, many people associate them with Indians and their tribal ink, dirty parlors courtesy to sailors bikers and even rock stars. However, more and more common people are being drawn to them as an avenue to express themselves and develop their individuality.People have different reactions to a person who would like to get a tattoo or a body piercing. Many employers will think twice about hiring a person with tattoos or piercings.With such an advanced society we now live in people need to come to a better understanding and appreciation for others who wish to express themselves by whatever medium it may be. Tattooing and piercing allow people to express their individuality.
There are various ways in which people, especially youth, identify themselves. People are always sending some sort of communication out at all times, whether it is subconscious or not. Images and styles are adopted which communicate meanings about the individual to his/her peers and to society. Styles of dress, language, music, and dance are some of the ways that portray one’s own symbols, values, and meanings. Body modification such as tattooing and body piercing has become only a small part of a persons search for individuality.
In today’s society people have adopted the new trend of body modification. There are many reasons as to why people obtain piercings and tattoos. For some it’s simply exciting and pleasurable, or part of the latest fad. Others consider it a form of art, ritual or self-expression. It can have cultural and social significance. In contrast, many people can’t understand why someone would choose to put so many holes in their body or place permanent ink in their skin. They see body modification as self-destructive even disgusting and irresponsible. Adolescence a significant and influential stage in one’s development, when the search for identity is strongest. Tattooing and piercing have become one of the many ways through which youth may establish their identity. They are seen as symbolic representations of how one wants to be conceived or understood.
People may also want themselves to be perceived as someone who they are not. For example, someone gets a tattoo or earrings just to look tough or cool. Getting a piercing or tattoo symbolizes a certain change in one’s life. These changes, no matter how minor they may seem, have a huge impact on a person’s identity. Usually when a youth gets a tattoo or earring, they are symbolizing their maturity by finally being able to make a decision on their own and taking matters into their own hands. Body modification is clearly a means by which youth seeks to displace authority and etiquette. Body piercing which is sometimes seen as a self-imposed rite of passage people, in general, feel an instinctive drive to undergo. If society denies them this, they may create one for themselves in order to feel as though they belong. It is natural and instinctive
and possibly even necessary in order to find a place in society.
Along with the image of a tattoo or piercing there is a concept that deals with the issue of pain. Pain is not a common everyday occurrence in society except in instances of accidents or pregnancy. A common idea that has been demonstrated for ages is the idea that experiencing pain is a way in which one can prove themself in strength or mental ability. This experience cannot help but change one’s outlook on life in some way. Everyone will experience some sort of pain in his or her life, whether it is physical or emotional. After any such experience, you are bound to look at life in a different, and possibly better way.
Tattooing and piercing is also a fad that can be seen as hopping on the bandwagon. Once one begins to modify their body they begin to share a common identity among peers. Each individual learns to categorize people based upon appearances and place them into respective categories of how to anticipate and interpret behavior, or even how to interact with them. Body modification is one of the characteristics of style that demonstrates a commitment and affiliation to a specific group One point to note is that the mainstreaming of body modification has been more within piercing than tattooing. The difference being that jewelry from piercings can always be removed, hence it is temporary. Perhaps popular culture is actually aware of the permanence of tattooing and understands the great commitment one makes when undergoing the process.
Along with the style of piercing and tattooing itself people have found numerous places and ways in which they tattoo or pierce their body. The most common piercings today are the ears, tongue, lip, nose, eyebrow and belly button. Tattoos range anywhere from skulls, snakes, and dragons to roses, or even names or images that signify a special person or moment in ones life. These different tattoos and piercings each send out different messages and first impressions. A person with tattoos of skulls and images of hate might send out a scary or intimidating message. Some people are afraid to talk to people like this. This type of tattoo may send out a message of empowerment. Someone who has a tattoo of their mother, father, grandfather, etc. sends out a certain sympathetic message saying that they loved this person dearly and they may have died.
One of the more important aspects that tattoos and piercings have an effect on is employment. In the world today, people are at a constant struggle with each other over employment. One person is more qualified than the next and employers want to hire the best person for the job. What impression would the employer get if someone came into an interview with piercings and tattoos? The employer might think that this person really doesn’t want the job because he/she doesn’t care about their appearance. Unfortunately people are very stereotypical and do judge a book by its cover. It would be extremely uncommon to see people with tattoos all over and piercings everywhere, but slowly this society is learning to accept such things.
Overall, each person has his/her own perception as to what is wrong or right, and he is indeed entitled to that. Yet people need to learn to have an understanding for others and their desire for an independence and self expression.
Courtney from Study Moose
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