My generation, or generation Y, more commonly known as Millenials, seems to be a largely criticized generation. This comes in the many forms of being rebuked in terms of our (over)use of technology, selfies (as we well should be), trends (like the ever-so-popular hipster), language (like, like, like), music, our everchanging and progressive ideas, etc.
However, one thing we tend to forget about is tattoos. Millenials can look forward to being dubbed the most tattooed generation so far, as well as the pioneers (with Gen X, respectively) of establishing tattoos into our mainstream culture.
According to a study in 2015 by The Harris Poll, three in ten Americans (29%) have at least one tattoo and within the number of people who have a tattoo, seven in ten (69%) have two or more.
What is presumably more so interesting is that 47% of Millenials have at least one and are more likely than their elders to have multiple tattoos as well. Comparatively, 36% of Generation X say they have at least one, 13% of Baby Boomers, and 10% of Matures.
It seems that more Millenials than not are sporting tattoos after they hit the age of 18. Along with statistics, this is largely based on personal experience. I can only think of one good friend of mine who does not have at least one tattoo, and I work in a brewery, where most of my coworkers have one or more tattoos.
However, the fact that I work in a brewery setting and they are more lenient towards visible tattoos, many businesses and blue-collar jobs are now becoming more accepting of visible tattoos as well.
There is a widening mainstream approval of tattoos, and even more commonly a wider acceptance of having a lot of tattoos, such as the ‘sleeve’ or even being covered head to toe in artwork. Now that tattoos have entered the arena of being deemed as mainstream, I would go as far as to say most occupations will not discriminate based on visible tattoos anymore.
I believe a congratulation is in store for Gen X and Gen Y. I do not believe that people should generally be discriminated against for what they want to be shown on their body. It is a unique expression and freedom anyone should enjoy if they wish.
With that being said, I still believe that it’s entirely acceptable to hold off on tattoos and not feel the pressure of getting one if you wish. This may seem obvious and somewhat of a DUH moment, but hear me out.
Again, and obviously, I am speaking entirely based on personal experience. I understand that many people can argue that no one is pressuring me (or anyone) to get a tattoo, it is completely my own decision, etc.
However, I am a Millenial and this alone can sometimes make me feel the societal pressure of getting a tattoo, as I see everyone around me with one. The pressure is put on myself because I love everyone's tattoos and do believe they are one of the greatest and most unique expressions you can carry around, similar to wearing jewelry, makeup, or a certain style of clothing.
Sometimes I believe the expression through artwork on your body is unlike any other of these though, and believe it can be ultimately the most distinctive.
Also, eventually, if (or when) the statistics rise with how many people have tattoos in the future, a tattooless skin will be few and far between. This means the people without tattoos will be providing an entirely different sort of expression for themselves. What that might be I am not quite sure yet.
Either way, it does not matter which form of expression you choose, it only matters to you. My argument lies in a place that is not judging either decision, only that whatever you think is best for you, you should stick with for that time being. With tattoo removal readily available, there is always a way out of a decision you make these days, so it is not likely that you are forced to carry around a tattoo forever if you do not wish.
I believe it is ok to wait a while when you are thinking of getting your first tattoo. My rule was always the five-year rule, I have a friend who has a one-year rule. This means if I wanted something on my body and liked that same idea for five years straight, then I would get it, undoubtedly. I have not continuously liked an idea for that long yet, so I am still tattoo-free.
If you are thinking of getting a tattoo, just understand that the pressure you are putting on yourself to get or not get a tattoo probably means something that you should listen to.
For example, the pressure I put on myself is largely based on familial judgment. I grew up believing that I would never get a tattoo because of what my family would think about it. No one is my family really has any tattoos.
However, above all, now I believe it has become entirely personal. I would not care either way what my family thought about it at this point, but the pressure I put on myself and how I view tattoos based on the way I was raised is the reason I still have not gotten one and do not plan to in the near future.
On the contrary though, who knows, maybe in five years or even before then I will have a sleeve myself. Either way, in the larger scheme of things, the point is that you should not put too much social, societal, or personal pressure on yourself but rather make a decision based on your own personal thoughts and beliefs.