The Stigma Associated With Tattoos

The Stigma Associated With Tattoos

There is still more rethink when it comes to tattoos.
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Tattoos are a common part of American culture today. It is not unusual to see a nineteen or twenty-year-old with three or four tattoos on their body on any regular day. I have one, my older brother has four, my friends have them, and not to mention all the people I follow on social media who have posted a photo of their first/newest ink. Yet, even with so many young adults getting tattoos, there is still a social stigma surrounding them in our society, regardless of the amount of people of all ages with tattoos. Now, I do recognize that some of the harshness surrounding visible tattoos in the workplace has diminished a little bit. Also, due to the commonality of visible tattoos nowadays, there are less shocked looks when people see sleeves on others. But, there is still a looming distaste towards tattoos that I haven’t been able to figure out.

One argument against tattoos is that they are unprofessional. My question back is how can an expression of ourselves “unprofessional?” In a sense, they are visible representations of our personalities. Tattoos are art on a human canvas, regardless of any meaning behind it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a symbol or metaphor in order to be appreciated as a work of art. I like feathers, so I have one on my side and I think it turned out really well. It doesn’t have a meaning in itself, but it has value to me. Unless you view tattoos as just permanent ink on skin, I personally do not believe there is anything unprofessional about an expression of yourself.

Another reason people have issues with tattoos is that they are have been associated with gangs, prisons, and violence for a while. Even though many people in prison and in gangs have tattoos, not everyone who has a tattoo has been in prison or is associated with a gang or is a violent person by default. There is a correlation between these types of people and tattoos, but there are more nonviolent people with tattoos than before. I understand that it is hard to change the way you think after it has been ingrained in your brain to associate tattoos with these kinds of demographics, but with the amount of people who have tattoos now, it shouldn’t be hard to prove that stereotype wrong within a minute and a half. Tattoos are also paired with the idea that they instill rebellious actions in those who have them. Again, just because there is a correlation between rebellious people and tattoos, does not mean that the tattoos are the factor influencing them to act in a certain way.

What I am trying to get at is that the "stereotypical tattooed person" does not necessarily exist anymore. There is not one certain type of person who gets tattoos anymore because so many people have them now. Society itself is changing in this aspect and it’s about time we start letting it change. Eventually, I want a whole sleeve on my left arm and possibly a few on my right to compliment each other, but most people would not peg me as the "type" to get tattoos. I also want to be a high school teacher, but I shouldn’t be viewed as an unprofessional teacher solely because I have tattoos. And that goes for any profession. You are not automatically a lesser doctor nor a violent pharmacologist due to the visible art on your skin. If we can change the way we think about tattoos, we will be more accustomed to seeing them in weddings, interviews and daily work environments that the stigma will eventually go away altogether. If I’m going to spend a pretty penny on my tattoos, I’m going to want to show them off and I should be able to without fear of someone looking down on me for them.

Cover Image Credit: Tattooed Martha

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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When Words Are Not Enough

Sometimes you just need to be.

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Life is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. We all desire easy fruitful lives where no one ever dies and no one ever leaves. Instead, we suffer through hardships and great trials that test our faith. These conflicts often leave us worn down and feeling helpless. This is the time when words become a languid breeze, going through one ear and out the other. This is what you should do when words are not enough to satiate the pain you hold in trembling hands.

Focus all your energy into just being. No one expects you to get over the tragedy that occurred in your life, so don't force yourself. Just eat, breathe, and sleep until you feel up to doing normal tasks. Whatever circumstance that has stolen your breath and turned your life upside down won't go a week in a couple of days or a week. Wounds like yours don't go away instantly; instead, they take time and nurturing. Sometimes it's best to keep a sore covered but in some circumstances, know that seeing someone is okay.

These tragedies you face are real, and they try to break down the very substances that make you who you are. Counselors and therapists can help you make sense of the burden you carry. There are many reasons why you might be hesitant to see a therapist, but if the burden you carry becomes too much, a therapist can help you lighten that load.

Know that what you are going through is real and it is tough, but you will make it out on top. You are a survivor and a success story. Every single bad thing that has tried to tear you down hasn't succeeded, and this will be no different. Trust me, your story is not over.

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