Tattoo Culture and Influence in Society

Nowadays, tattoo has been considered a sign of fashion. “A pattern that started growing in America and Europe in the early ’90s, tattooing quickly became so popular that 36% of Americans aged 25-29 had at least one body tattoo by 2003( Julie Genser 2007).” Nevertheless, tattoo could probably bring health risks to tattoo provider. Historically, tattoo originally is the nation’s cultural and symbolic, various tattoo pictures have own meaning and even it is a symbol of authority. This paper will argue that the ink of tattoo injecting into our skin has lead to increase health threat.

And after that this paper will talk about why tattoo is so popular even it is damaging people’s health. Lastly, the essay will talk about tattoo is not only a historical heritage, but likewise stimulates the advancement of the economy.

Early Tattoo’s culture

The word tattoo originates from the Tahitian word tattau. It indicates “to mark” and was very first mentioned in explorer James Cook’s records from his 1769 exploration to the South Pacific.

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Some scientists state that certain marks on the skin of the Iceman, a mummified human body beginning with about 3300 B.C., are tattoos. In fact, tattoos were found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies beginning with about B.C. Among the earliest tattoos was tribal tattoos. Tattoos have different meaning in different cultural tribes. For instance, Polynesian people would add increasingly more tattoos to themselves even until their body was completely covered. They thought this was an indication of beauty and strength.

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In some tribes, boys reaching manhood got one tattoo to mark the minute, when guys had another design done when they wed. In ancient Japan, tattooing was primary penalty. If you were a convicted lawbreaker, you would get a mark on your forehead, founded guilty two times then you got another, and if you convicted a third time, you would get a last mark making the Japanese sign for pet dog. Very similar in ancient China, mark on skin just for criminal that let people simple to understand whom was criminal and separated the wrongdoers.

Tattoo increase health risk

In ancient times, the process of early age tattooing was long and painful. Some of the first tools used in tattooing were made of bone, stone, or wood. Today, tattoos are created by injecting ink into the skin. Since the ink is not in the epidermis. It is the layer of skin that we see and the skin that gets replaced constantly, but instead intermingles with cells in the dermis and shows through the epidermis. Therefore what we injecting into skin is so important. Actually, the main materials of ink are formaldehyde and antifreeze. From the medical point of view, “The carrier solution itself might contain harmful substances such as denatured alcohols, methanol, rubbing alcohol, antifreeze, detergents, or formaldehyde and other highly toxic aldehydes(Julie Genser, 2007).” Since these materials involve needles and blood, they carry several risks. These include transmission of diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis and possibly HIV. However, why lots of people still pursue tattoos marking on their skin? In ancient times, in some reasons that people would get tattoos such as religious beliefs, healed by wizard and royal family members.

Today, tattoos not only represent religion but also it is kind of arts and a sign of fashion. People, especially young people like to pursue this kind of arts and mark on skin. A trend show that 36% of Americans aged 25 to 29 had at least one body tattoo by 2003 and the numbers have undoubtedly risen in the four years since; tattoos are now well-entrenched in the mainstream(Julie Genser, 2007). From the education point of view, young people including teenagers have not enough health awareness and health knowledge. Schools even Colleges and Universities do not tell or teach students the materials of tattoo are harmful and increase human health risks. Generally, parents have tattoos, children also have tattoos. Some people get tattoos for a personal meaning. Whether it be to remember something great that happened in your life, to show affection or emotion, or because the specific design meant a lot to you. Other reason for getting a tattoo is rebellious.

For example some young adults and teenagers choose to get a tattoo because their parents simply do not allow or want them to. This is a kind of social phenomenon. They enjoyed the influence of fashion and popularity. In addition, even the media regularly glorifies tattoo culture, as evidenced by TV shows like The Learning Channel’s Miami Link and LA Ink, as well as frequent magazine sightings of tattoo sporting celebrities like Angelina Jolie. The tattoo marketers always promote tattoos by sexy super star and attractive man to catch young people’s eyes. This misleads young people to believe that tattoos make them attractive just like those super stars. Therefore, tattoo is a product of marketing propaganda and is a blank of education sector.

Tattoo’s influence in society

Tattoo is considered as a kind of body art, which is popular because it makes a person feel different, attractive, or special. Tattoo can be reminded of a turning point in their life through tattoos. One especially touching example of this is the 9/11 attack. Many firefighters and police officers have stated that that particularly happening inspired them to get a special patriotic tattoo. This is positive influence in society. There are some different negative influences of tattooing. For example, a tattoo is permanent and can only be removed with a special laser operation that can cost thousands of dollars more than the price you tattooing. The tattoo probably become extremely sensitive and could even get infected. And some work places will not allow tattoos if they are visible from underneath of your uniform.

Also, lots people believe that individuals who are tattooed are mean, unsafe, and not someone they would like to encounter. In this tattoo study, “men were more likely than their female counterparts to seek out new and intense experiences, Storch said. And despite the common perception that people with body art are free spirits, the results suggest at least one gender stereotype — that tattoos are strictly for men — may still wield influence.” True, historically, tattoos origin was for men to increase courage, confidence and be strength to protect female, aged people and children in tribe, country and family. Today, even female join the group of tattooing, male still be much more than female. On the other hand, Tattoo stimulates the development of the economy. Tattoo price can start as low as $70 Canadian dollars.

The price increases depending on the complexity, color and size of the tattoo. Also depends on the reputation of the shop. If customers go to a shop that celebrities have gone to(e.g. Miami) it will probably be more expensive. The price could from $70 dollars to thousand dollars. If you tattoos on your whole back or whole body, it would cost a lot. The cost of tattoo materials and machines is not that much expensive. But the expert of tattooing has to be very skilful. Under the temptation of high profits, more and more businessman choose to open tattoo business because of low opening investment and high benefits returning. Therefore, more and more people promote tattoo everywhere and make it commercialization. Therefore, to some extent, tattoo commercialization stimulates the development of the economy.


It is important to note, however, tattoo could stimulate the development of the economy in country. To some extent, tattoos harm human health, once you get a tattoo, it is hard to remove and much more trouble than getting a tattoo. Since getting tattoo could probably increase health risk for tattoo owner, we must educate future generations that do not easily getting a tattoo when you are young and increase healthy awareness to fill the blank of healthy education in school, College and University. And send the message that tattoo is kind of culture and arts, we do not have to mark a tattoo into skin if people pursue fashion and be attractive. We could choose one time use picture to glue on skin instead of permanent tattoos. So we could choose different pictures and change pictures in anytime without hurting our health. Tattoo plays an important role in the development of human history. It is the earliest art on the earth. It represents religion, power, mystery and now it represents fashion, beauty and young. Whatever are health, social economy and gender, tattoo has its position in society and relate with people and culture.

Julie , G.. The truth about tattoos: Health risks, toxicity and more. N.p., 2007. Web. 17 Jul 2012. <>.

Lineberry, C.. “Tattoos The Ancient and Mysterious History.” N.p., 2007. Web. 17 Jul 2012. <>. .

“Study shows gender differences with tatoos and piercing among college students.” News-medical. N.p., 2004 D. Web. 17 Jul 2012. <;.

Emma Marri. “Is tattoo ink safe? .” 2007. 0.

Kassidy Emmerson. “The Deadly Dangers of Body Tattoos, Associated Content .” 2007. 0. <>.

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Tattoo Culture and Influence in Society. (2016, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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