The Impact Of Tattoos In North American Society

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In present day, tattoos are popular among many different social groups in North American society. Yet, different groups opt for different images and placement on the body. An info-graphic done by the National Post in 2013 boasts that 23% of Americans and 21% of Canadians have at least one tattoo (Faille & Edmiston, 2013). This means that one out of every five people in North America has a tattoo. Moreover, the info-graphic also depicts the findings from a 2006 study conducted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. This study showed that there is no gender disparity among those with tattoos, with 22% of women and 26% of men stating that they have a tattoo (Faille & Edmiston, 2013). In addition, 36% of people in the study who …show more content…
O’Connell (Oettermann, 2000). Tattooed people became a part of the typical circus “freaks,” such as bearded ladies, giants, and midgets, and thus having tattoos became a profession (Oettermann, 2000). By marketing people with tattoos as “freaks” and circus performers, tattoos gained a negative reputation in society. Tattoos were not considered to be normal and mainstream, and those who had tattoos were “freaks” and misfits. Michael Atkinson writes that “a cultural stereotype has long held that tattoos are marks of shame worn only by outlaws, misfits, or those who have fallen from social grace” (Atkinson, 2003). Atkinson writes, “towards the end of the nineteenth century, white North Americans shared with Europeans a similar fascination toward and repulsion from tattooed bodies” (Atkinson, 2003). Often times, tattooed people in the carnivals would falsify stories about being forcefully tattooed in order to explain their heavily tattooed appearance. Through these stories, tattoos became visible markers of brutality (Atkinson, 2003). At this point in time, tattooed people served as the direct opposition to modernity, and were thus thought of as savage, which further perpetuated the negative …show more content…
Tattoos no longer represent the outcasts of society, but instead perpetuate the notion of self expression for the sole gain and satisfaction of the individual. The history of tattooing has lead to a new form of self expression that allows tattoos to truly mean anything to the individual who bears them. The purpose of tattoos now, for the most part, is to demonstrate a person’s individuality. Tattoos are also sought after for the pleasure of the individual. Tattooed images may stand in for one’s personal ideologies, tattooed phrases may demonstrate one’s mantra, and each individual tattooed body depicts their uniqueness. The purpose of tattoos in contemporary North American society is to demonstrate, through markings on the skin, a part of

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