Tattoos have been around for over 5,000 years but it still seems like the apparently progressive society we live in today harbors some sort of disdain or aversion to those who flaunt their art, especially toward women who face the harsher end of the judgment.
Even though the western world is more forward thinking and has come to see tattoos as less of a taboo, it still hasn’t come around to being completely and wholly accepted by a large amount of the population.
Many people are still facing harsh criticism or judgmental glances because of their tattoos. For some reason, it’s okay to have a pair of corduroys, but not a tattoo.
The negative stigma associated with people who have tattoos is usually based on stereotypes like gang affiliation, drug addiction, crazy rock bands and bikers, which all epitomize the idea that tattoos are unprofessional and in some ways, criminal.
Though they’ve been around for a long time, tattoos are only recently becoming a popular trend that is being flourished by every gender, race and age. Contrary to the negative stigma surrounding them, tattoos do not automatically make an individual bad or point to poor decision making.
Even though tattoos have been slowly integrating themselves into society, workplaces like Starbucks allowing their baristas to show their ink proudly, it’s not enough. There needs to be a change of mind in the public when thinking of them as taboo.
A 2016 poll by Statistic Brain revealed that 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo and out of those 45 million, 36 percent were between the ages of 18 and 25.
While there is a wide range of people, especially millennials, getting tattoos, more women are now sporting tattoos over men, according to an article from Reuters.
Since women are judged harsher by their appearances compared to men, they are naturally on the receiving end for harsher criticism for choosing to express themselves through permanent body art.
Nicolas Guéguen, a psychologist from the Université de Bretagne-Sud, conducted a survey on Psychology Today to see how men react towards women with tattoos.
The results revealed that “the few studies that have focused on men’s perceptions of tattooed women have found that these women are seen in a generally negative light.”
Guéguen also points out within his study that men see women with tattoos as less attractive, but more promiscuous.
It is not right to judge individuals negatively based on how they choose to express themselves with tattoos or in any matter, no matter what their gender is. In an age where people are crying for “safe spaces” and overall sensitivity toward situations, individuals are still getting criticized for something that is not only a cultural experience, but results in something meaningful or even spiritual for some.
Strangers never know the exact meaning of what a tattoo could symbolize and the fact that the public can scrutinize someone shows how much understanding and empathy our society as a whole is lacking.
People should not be looked down upon for having tattoos. They should be perceived more as individuals simply expressing themselves through the means of body art. The images that individuals choose to put on their bodies mean far more than what meets the eye.
The United States Constitution states within the guidelines of the First Amendment that we, as Americans, are entitled to our freedom of expression. Tattooing is an art form in terms of self-expression and individual freedom.
While differing opinions is what makes America what it is today, it is not okay to actively discriminate for an archaic reason that is really nothing but a rampaging stereotype painted by closed-minded people who can’t think outside of the box.
People need to realize that those with tattoos are no different than those without. The same goes for people who wear makeup, dye their hair, pierce their bodies or get plastic surgery.
All of these things are primarily body modifications and it’s hypocritical to chastise anyone for their decisions. We all need to reevaluate our mindsets to become less judgmental and start focusing our brain power toward something more positive.
Hopefully, the negative stigma being perpetuated is just a generational phase that society will grow out of. If ever there was a generation that can abolish the myth that having a tattoo means you won’t ever have a job and live a normal life, it’s certainly going to be the Millennials.