Body Art


Me: Do you still have that tat?

David: that what? Tat

Me: U know, that tattoo

David: ooooooh yea. When people ask I tell them I was young and in love.

Me: Yea we were craaaazzzy

David: Well at least its hidden, its not on my arm or anything, could you imagine?

Me: Ouch…

This is a conversation I had with my ex boyfriend after we broke up. We are discussing tattoos that we decided to permanently ink on our body. They are of each other’s first name initial. Stupid, I know but at the time it seemed like a good idea. My parents do not know, of course, they would kill me.

Tattoos in the western world have for a long time been the subject of much opposing opinions. Some people are very conservative and completely against tattoos, some people get one or two, others cover their whole body. It is a form of personal expression that dates back thousands of years between 5000 and 4000 BCE to the Neolithic Stone Age. Yet, even though this practice is ancient and full of historical significance, parents of modern teenagers still shun it as being a taboo. This is especially true in my religion, Judaism, where there is a myth that one who has been tattooed cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery. This is in fact false as I readily researched after hearing this rumor as I have two tattoos and was horrified to hear of this prior to my inking sessions.

The reason I think that tattoos, which I believe can be a beautiful and artistic form of self expression, are shunned is because of the western interpretations and transformation of the art. In many other societies, such as the Polynesian culture, tattoos are found to usually be of one style and help to establish cultural identity. However, Americans, as they notoriously do, myself included, guilty as charged have interpreted the tattoo to mean whatever they desire. In our world, variety is highly coveted and tattoos can range from flowers to star wars characters to spousal names to portraits of loved ones. While this is an amazing advance in the tattoo industry, tattoos in the US do not have the same historical significance like they do in other cultures. It is not as much looked at as a tradition or bodily celebration, but rather shunned by much of society as inappropriate. I think many conservative parents are worried because of the availability to their children to choose basically anything they wish as long as they are eighteen and can pay the money and take the pain. Indeed, my parents would be very mad to learn of my secret tattoo. I now look back and realize it probably was not the smartest decisions. However, I to not think I am alone. With 50% of marriages failing in the United States, there are bound to be more than a few people in the same tattoo situation that I am in.

Source: Wikipedia- Tattoos