How Does Tattoos Affect Society

804 Words 4 Pages
Tattoos have been around since the dawn of time, but their popularity has risen to incredible heights in the last couple of decades, gaining social acceptance. Roughly 500 licensed tattoo artists were based in the United States in the early 60’s. That number increased to nearly 20 times as many by 1995. Two decades later, there are over 210,000 tattoo parlors operating in the United States, becoming a $1.65 billion industry. Individuals use tattoos to expresses themselves in different manners in society ranging from: social status, religion, association and familial representation, but they share a similar driving force behind them. As marriage signifies a lifelong commitment to one person, tattoos have the same significance to the wearer: for their family, religion or associations.
People often use tattoos as a medium to honor, remember, and represent their family ties. A Portrait tattoo of a deceased loved one is an intimate form of honoring them. Figure 1 is an example
…show more content…
Organized crime generally uses tattoos to display affiliation to a certain gang, mafia, clan or region the wearer belongs to, as well as their status within the group. One such organization is the yakuza. Members get a full body suit known as horimono tattooed on them. Ryan Lobo, a photographer and filmmaker, writes, “Getting a horimono tattoo is a very painful process and takes months, sometimes years to complete…Each tattoo is unique and incredibly expensive” (8-9). Figure 2 is one of Lobo’s photographs of an individual getting a horimono tattoo. These types of tattoos are done by hand in the traditional way using bundled needles on a bamboo stick making the process extremely slow and painful. Enid Schildkrout feels that these “Tattoos can also signify bravery and commitment to a long, painful process…” (93). These individuals use their tattoos to pledge their alliance to the group, culture or

Related Documents