Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tattoos in the Popular Culture

I've been thinking about the place of tattoos in modern-day America lately.  Dr. D. has got me thinking:
I don't like tats, so why do I put pictures on my site?
For me, it's two-fold.
  1. Those of us who don't ink themselves need to understand the phenomenon - WHY do the under-40 crowd covet them?  Is it: tribal, crowd-following, a form of self-mutilation?  SOME of these tats are connected with gangs - no difficulty understanding that motivation.  Others, particularly with women, seem to reflect a desire to seem sexy and edgy, without having to necessarily follow through on the implied promise.  I've seen tats commemorating children's birth, the death of a loved one - often far too soon, and other special rememberances.
  2. I really do want the pro-tat crowd to think about the long-term issues involved.  The skin will sag, the colors will fade, both weight gain and loss will affect the look of the tat.  As the previous post points out, heavy metal contamination is a risk factor, as is hepatitis.  I do find it hard to fathom why the rush to tattoo before the age of majority, as those of us past that age know that a strong passion - either for a person or for a philosophy - is very likely to change.  Why have a permanent reminder of that earlier attachment?

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1 comment:

Francis W. Porretto said...

In my entirely unsolicited opinion, the popularity of tattooing, piercing, and still more radical body modifications is an indication that the inmates are bidding for control of the asylum...if they haven't got it already. But then, I rent half my brain to a rather advanced Curmudgeon, so you might have expected that.