Do we care about Ink Tat-TOO much?

Morgan Levy, Contributing Writer

Tattoos. Body art in the form of permanent ink that dances across your skin. Tattoos come in all different styles and can express a wide range of sentiments or personal meaning. Maybe it is your mother’s handwriting, a date of significance or a religious symbol. Or maybe it’s something not “that deep,” like a dragon you got because you thought it looked cool. No matter what the work represents, there is a stigma against people with tattoos despite tattoos being quite popular in modern culture. According to PsychologyToday, those with tattoos are commonly judged as “having negative personality characteristics, lower levels of inhibition, competence, and sociability, and higher levels of promiscuity.” In the workplace, these judgmental reservations are amplified. Visible body art is often viewed as an informal representation of a company’s reputation. Moreover, it is found that tattooed women are viewed in a more negative light than their male counterparts. Throughout history, tattoos have been associated with masculinity; therefore, this perception has caused tattooed women to be judged as less feminine and more sexually promiscuous.

Who would have thought that body art is closely intertwined with societal judgement, sexism and workplace discrimination? Why is it that when you come home with new ink, parents aren’t exactly jumping for joy? Well, let’s analyze the history of tattoos. Ink was primarily used to represent status in society both culturally and religiously. Tattoos were adapted into modern culture and are predominantly used as a form of self expression. Personally, tattoos have been an outlet for me to visibly remind myself of inspirational messages. For instance, my angel wing tattoo that rests above my collarbone is a visual reminder to myself to make good decisions and my moon phase tattoo reminds me that we go through phases of darkness, but light (the moon) is always there even if we cannot see it. I often get asked, “Morgan, aren’t you scared that future employers will reject you due to your tattoos?” My answer, you may ask, is that it simply is their loss! If an employer, friend, family member or significant other cannot see past your physical appearance and value who you are, then you should question if they are someone you want in your life. 

The stigma behind ink will be a thing of the past as the percentage of tattooed individuals drastically rises per year, however in order to make this change we as a society need to abandon the judgement of others based upon physical representation. I do not have lower levels of ambition and self respect just because I am a woman who chose to get a snake tattooed on my wrist. It’s time we value unique ways of self expression rather than bash individuality.

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