The Addictive Draw to Tattoos

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Tattoos have become more prevalent in our society over the last few decades. What used to be a social faux pa or a negative brand has come to be a more acceptable life choice in our culture. However, only those who have joined the inked-up club can describe the sensation of modifying one’s body with art. From the pain and tantric feeling from the stinging that is released as a person allows themselves to be marked for the rest of their life, and the hot pierce of the needle that gives a sensation of feeling alive and the desire to do this again. Tattoos have become a major social focus today, so the psychology behind their popularity warrants discussion. Ultimately, people who get tattoos yearn for individual expression through artwork, acceptance or adherence to some rite of passage, and the physical satisfaction that only the experience of tattooing can provide.
Many of us crave tattoos because we desire to define ourselves as unique individuals. There are different reasons as to why tattoo artwork accomplishes this. For many, low self esteem is the driving emotion that lands a person in the tattoo parlor. Shelley Twyman confirms this idea, stating that “many people feel better about their self image after engaging in a type of alteration of the body.” In actuality, Shelley’s research measured the self esteem of tattooed individuals as on par with those who didn’t have one, after the alteration. Additionally, body art is often used to express the belief or views of the individual. For example, Margo DeMello argues in “Body Art, Deviance, and American College Students”, quoted by Myrna Armstrong et al, that some tattooed individuals see themselves “as if they are some kind of substitute for a personal philosophy” (152). Myrna Ar...

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Armstrong, Myrna L., Donna C. Owen, Alden E. Roberts, and Jerome R. Koch. “Body Art, Deviance, and American College Students.” ScienceDirect: The Social Science Journal 47 (2010): 151-161. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
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Twyman, Shelly L. “The Effect of Low Self-esteem on Body Alterations.” National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse. Nov. 2001. Web. 03 Sep. 2009.
Velliquette, Anne M., Elizabeth H. Creyer, and Jeff B. Murray.(1998) “The Tattoo Renaissance: An Ethnographic Account of Symbolic Consumer Behavior.” -in NA Advances in Consumer Research. Vol. 25, eds Joseph W. Alba & J. Wesley Hutchinson, Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, 461-467.
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