Tattoos no longer taboo for 20-something generation

By BenitaZepeda

As a girl with a few tattoos,  I often get the following question from my family and friends: How are you going to feel about that tattoo when you are 70 years old and wrinkly?

The answer I always come up with— without hesitation is—“I won’t care, because I will probably be staring at another 70-year-old who has tattoos that are just as wrinkled as mine.”

Tattooing, the permanent placing of an ink design on the skin, is said to date back to 2,000 B.C.

However, in 1991, archeologists found a caveman with tattoo markings on his hands, which pushed the earliest known tattoos to roughly 5,000 B.C., according to a January 2007 article.

For thousands of years, various cultures have used the practice of tattooing to represent a number of things important to their culture. Religion, certain types of animals vital to their survival and even a reflection of a high societal status were symbolized through tattoos.

Nowadays, tattoos can still represent religion and other important societal factors, but it has become more of a self-expressive, artistic practice.  Some of the tattoos I have seen on people’s bodies are true works of art and deserve to be admired, not scorned.

Today’s 20-something generation is much different from that of our parents and grandparents, despite the fact it hasn’t been long since our parents were our age.

It was common for some of our grandparents to get tattoos during wartime. It was an even bigger movement when our parents started getting tattoos that displayed self-expression. The biggest difference between young people and older generations is now we tend to not take tattooing within moderation—we tattoo bigger, brighter, more often and in places our parents would never have thought of.

This isn’t a bad thing.

I feel it is unfair for certain individuals to be criticized based on their decision to put whatever they like on their bodies. What is placed on the skin doesn’t necessarily reflect one’s work ethic, intelligence or whether one possesses professional qualities.

Judging someone on the basis of what they have on their skin is almost the same as judging someone by the color of their skin—both make for discriminatory practices and false assumptions that can be absolutely incorrect.

Many of our parents are concerned that as a tattooed individual, we won’t get hired after we graduate college. For some career paths, this is absolutely true. But I just don’t agree with, or understand why, it has to be that way. Humans are ever-evolving and because of that, people need to learn how to open their minds and accept the fact that things are changing. Many celebrities who people love even have tattoos. Why is it they aren’t judged by the markings on their skin in the same way as the average Joe?

Tattoos have entered into a new level of professionalism. Getting inked has become more common, and more individuals are getting tattoos who may eventually become doctors, lawyers, writers, artists—the list goes on. The hang-up our generation has with this form of self-expression has to do with our elders looking at tattoos as taboo, tasteless and as a form of body mutilation.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some terrible tattoos people can get after a night of too much tequila and adrenaline, but that is the exception. Put something on your body that really, truly means something to you, and do it for yourself. If you are going into a career where you cannot have tattoos showing, think about it and strategically place it on your body where it can go undetected.

Eventually, tattoos will be such a normal part of society that they will be widely accepted by almost everyone. Until then, our generation needs to keep fighting this stigma, and prove that professional, driven, intelligent young minds can have tattoos that leave their mind unaltered.