Body art exists in countless cultures around the globe. For thousands of years, societies have ascribed various meanings to unique tattoos and designs.
While the ancient Egyptians used tattoos to display high status, the ancient Greeks used them as a mark of shame for convicts. Even in todays American society, the meaning of tattoos is ever-changing. While they still hold a certain stigma about them, they are gradually becoming more accepted and appreciated.
A survey published by the Statista Research Department in 2019 states that, in the U.S. alone, about 44% of the population has at least one tattoo.
Scott Rogers, a professional tattoo artist at Inksomnia Tattoo and Body Piercing, has noticed the change of culture over the last few years.
The industry grows every day, he said. The outlook on tattoos has moved into an artistic one, and away from one of judgment. People are beginning to understand that getting tattooed is an artistic expression of yourself.
The image of the tattooed American has changed over the past decade. As body art becomes more accepted into society, those who have professional and elite careers are beginning to feel comfortable showing off their ink.
Goldie Notnice, a professional tattoo artist at City of Ink Tattoos, spoke on the change towards acceptance and being a female artist in the industry, and how working professionals of all kinds come to her shop to get a tattoo.
I absolutely have seen a change in the stigma around tattooing, she said. Not just with the body art itself, but even with being a female in the industry. We are being more accepted, and youll see more of us working alongside the guys in shops. Concerning society, I definitely feel like we are moving forward. Before, doctors, nurses and lawyers had to follow a certain image. Now, so many of them have visible tattoos.
Tattoos have made their appearance in everyday culture, including shops and the media. Hit television shows like Ink Master and companies like InkBox, which specializes in selling semi-permanent tattoos, have had great success.
According to Cameron Gowan, a junior with a full sleeve on his right arm, because tattoos are more normalized in todays society, he feels confident entering the workforce despite his many tattoos.
I can say full-heartedly that I feel more comfortable and more accepted [in] society with my tattoos today than how I felt about them when I first got them, student Cameron Gowan, a junior with a full sleeve on his right arm, said. When I got my first tattoo, jobs wouldnt hire you if you had any sort of body art. Over the past three to five years, I have found that jobs have been a lot more accepting of them.
While there is still a stigma associated with tattoos, people are beginning to see body art differently. Many are realizing that the pieces on their bodies can be a further extension of their inner selves.
Its a further expression of my artistic views, Notnice said. Instead of people viewing it as me staining my temple, they are beginning to view it how I feel about them, which is that Im simply enhancing my beauty.
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