The social taboo of tattoos

The+tail+to+my+Shenron+tattoo+that+I%27ve+gotten+done+recently.

Winston Anderson

The tail to my Shenron tattoo that I've gotten done recently.

I’ve spent nearly $1,370 on tattoos. There are seven of them on my body with more soon to come. Collectively, I’ve spent more than 40 hours worth of flesh-searing pain to have several everlasting images drawn onto my body.  My body has needed many weeks of scabbing and peeling, waiting for my skin to heal.

But it is all worth it. All of the tattoos represent a number of personal topics including religious beliefs, childhood heroes and respect for women. Tattooing is one of the greatest forms of self expression. However, the social stigma surrounding them is utterly outrageous and all oppression against them should be dismantled.

Tattooing is permanent body art that has been around for centuries in many places around the world. We live in an era where tattoos are prevalent in almost any demographic. No matter the location, tattooed people will be amongst others; whether the tattoos are visible or not.  It’s no longer strange to see someone “tatted up” on any part of the body. It has become a common, mainstream practice for people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds, levels of education, occupations, sexes and any other classification.

Despite the amount of tattooed individuals, the presence of a tattoo can change the perception that people have of those individuals. Many view tattooing in a negative light due to occupational, religious or personal reasons. Some argue tattoos are unprofessional, while others say tattooing is an immoral practice due to the desecration of one’s own body.

Tattoos don’t change the person, only the point of view that others have on that person. Tattoos do not implicate criminality or reflect negative qualities within the person. Therefore the social taboo of tattoos in society should be ended and welcomed with “inked up” open arms.

Many people are proud of their body art. One must sit still in a chair for hours on end, in order to convey a self-expressive personal message for the world to see. For others, tattoos are hidden and remain private. Some feel tattoos are only meant for the eyes of those whom they feel close enough to reveal them to. Most professional settings, however, do not want them to be seen at all.

According to abcnews.com, there are new regulations on tattoos for anyone planning on joining the military. In addition to the banning of tattoos that are racist, sexist or extremist, tattoos above the neckline and below knees or elbows are prohibited.

To a certain extent regarding placement and content, tattoos should no longer be seen as a social stigma for the individual. As long as the tattoos are not vulgar or offensive, the rules against them should be more flexible for all professional venues. Preconceived judgments by conservative individuals are placed on others with tattoos based on stereotypes and personal views.

Stereotypes accompanying tattoos include gang symbolism, criminal aspects, laziness, lack of ambition, unprofessionalism and lack of education. However in this era, there are plenty of hardworking, brilliant and professional individuals who have tattooed their bodies.  Personal choices concerning one’s own body do not affect strength of character but rather someone else’s point of view of them.

Plenty of people have intelligence, drive and determination to become professionals that are automatically socially disqualified because of their tattoos. It doesn’t make a person less beautiful, or less natural. A human being is the same with or without tattooed skin.

It’s no one else’s business what someone decides to do to their body. Whether it can be covered up or seen, as long as it isn’t crude or vulgar it shouldn’t be viewed in a negative connotation. That person went through a lot of time, money and pain in order to get this work of art on their body and it shouldn’t affect anyone’s perception of who they are as a person.

Some people decorate and paint on the inside of their temple to represent or celebrate the beauty and elegance of the tabernacle itself. So on that note, nothing is wrong with having the Sistine Chapel on the outside of the temple either. Your body is your temple and you are allowed to decorate it however you like. As long as you take care of that temple and respect other temples that practice different beliefs than your own.