Essay On Tattoo Stigmas

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Jessica Mauer Mrs. Beth Wilson AP Language January 22, 2014 Tattoo Stigmas within Gender, Occupation, and Social Status In the past, tattoos were common only amongst sailors, criminals, and bikers, but recently, they have become just as commonplace with everyday people (Steed). As the number of people with tattoos continues to rise, so does the discussion of how stigmas associated with tattoos affect people regarding occupation, within gender, and within social status? Also, where did this stigma originate and how did it change throughout history? The word tattoo originates from the Tahitian word, “Tautau” (Fedorenko, 105). Bougainville, a French navigator, first introduced this word when describing the “body decorations from Tahitian natives”(Fedorenko, 105). The definition of the word stigma is, “a prick with a pointed instrument, a distinguishing mark . . . cut in to the flesh of a slave or criminal; a mark of disgrace or reproach” (Greek and Roman Tattoos). Based on this definition, it is obvious that the word stigma itself is associated with the process of tattooing and is given a poor connotation. Even the Latin word for tattooing is stigma (Greek and Roman Tattoos). Dating back to the writings of Plato, it was said that only individuals guilty of sacrilege should be tattooed and then banished from the republic (Greek and Roman Tattoos). Fast forward to current times, the amount of people getting tattooed is growing exponentially with 38% of 18-29 year olds and 32% of 30-45 year olds already having tattoos (Steed). This equates to one in five adults having at least 1 tattoo (Stevens). So, what is the reason for this boom in the tattooing industry? Tattoos are becoming the new art form, as people are beginning to use their ... ... middle of paper ... ...eration. Gender norms in regards to tattoos still exist, but as women are working to break out of everyday societal expectations, the expectations surrounding tattoos are also changing. Within our society, the lower class receives a bad reputation when tattooed, whereas the upper class is seen simply as expressing itself. This negative outlook on tattooed, lower class citizens will only change when the middle and upper class stop viewing people this way and allow everyone to be on an equal playing field. It seems to be the majority opinion that tattoos are a growing part of the culture and the negative associations surrounding body art are slowly fading as an individualized and tolerant generation takes over. As this view of society rises, will tattooing lose its appeal, or will it continue to grow, shedding its gender and social stigmas that have long shadowed it?

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