How Does Tattoos Affect Pop Culture

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These days, it seems that in every crowd of people you can find someone sporting at least one tattoo. Once the “mark” of criminals and sailors, body art today has become increasingly more accepted in mainstream society. However, the very act of getting a tattoo separates one from others who have eschewed permanently marking their bodies. The reasons for getting a tattoo are varied, with the common underlying urge for self-expression and individuality as the main impetus. There are approximately 20 million Americans with tattoos, more than 13% of the population (Brown, Perimutter, and McDermott 355). While tattooing has become increasingly more popular and seemingly accepted, it still evokes strong negative reactions in some. Many people may …show more content…
One theory is the rise of pop culture through mass media. MTV was born. Rock stars adorned with tattoos graced our lives through television and magazines. We saw images of these rock stars, models, sports heroes and movie stars much more frequently, and often times sporting tattoos. Tattoos somehow became symbols of the elite, the powerful, successful and the creative. “The cultural status of tattooing evolved steadily from an antisocial activity in the 1960s to a trendy fashion statement of the 1990s. Florida’s Palm Beach Post, in November of 1997, explained that the local tattoo industry that once catered almost exclusively to “bikers, sailors and topless dancers,” is now applying ornate artworks to the skin of “lawyers, accountants and homemakers” (Levins www.tattooartist.com). The rich and famous’ propensity toward tattooing their bodies lent a new respectability to getting “inked,” attracting suburban moms and teens alike. Within this respectability lies the ever-present urge of expressing one’s individuality. In her article, “Not Just for Bikers Anymore”, Margo DeMello theorizes that tattooing is a fight for individualization in a world that grows more and more impersonal (37-52). Shannon Bell in her article appearing in the Journal of American Culture tells us, “The act of being tattooed is, in itself, confrontational to the status quo” (53). In James Gardner’s article, “Ink-Stained …show more content…
This self-made tattoo is his statement about how he questions the world around him. If he’s careful or lucky –and afterward he swabs the wound daily with antiseptic cream – he might sidestep a pus-filled infection. Then again, maybe he won’t be lucky and he’ll end up with a nasty, question-mark-shaped scare for the rest of his days. Tattoos and piercings are trends and ancient art forms in which people have expressed their identity. Many of the people teens admire – soldiers, rap artists, pop stars, sports heroes – have tattoos or eyebrow rings, Naturally, teens want to follow suite and leave their mark on the one thing they have some control over: their bodies

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