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Essays On Tattoos And Society

"Tattoos are created by inserting colored materials beneath the skins surface. The skin is penetrated with a sharp tool. Today colored ink and an electric needle are the material and instrument of choice. Today the practice is popular with a vast cross section of the population. Within the United States tattoos can be found on individuals ranging from gang member to fashion models."

"The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word "tatu" which means "to mark something". It is arguably claimed that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC. (http://www.tatthoo.com/tattoohistory1.htm) "

On December 8, 1891, the first electric tattoo machine was registered by its inventor, Samuel O'Reilly, at the United States Patent Office. It was based on a machine patented by Thomas Edison in 1875, but rather than using the tool as a means to embroider fabric, which Edison did, O'Reilly's tattoo machine as meant to "embroider" skin. (Miller, 1) When O'Reilly invented this new machine he didn't know the whirlwind he would help create in the next 100+ years.

Youth and adolescence is one of the most, significant and influential moments in everyone's life, when the youth are seeking to identify who they are. Tattooing and body piercing are one of the many ways through which young people express their own unique identity. They are symbolic representations of how they are perceived. When you are young you are trying to find your identity. Most adolescents go through several transitions one of those is more than likely trying to be the cool guy. But it is quite the opposite, because getting a piercing or tattoo is signifying certain changes in ones life. It symbolizes adulthood (because you have to be 18 to get pierced or tattooed) or that of appearing to be more grown up because you were able to make this life changing decision or just because you're of the legal age and just randomly decided you wanted to get pierced or tattooed.

Starting with the 1960's when Lyle Tuttle tattooed Janis Joplin a tattoo revolution started happening. A lot of girls were getting the "Janis heart". It was also the time when motorcycles, choppers, and the hells angels were very popular so you could see a lot of bikers with tattoos. A lot of people associated tattoos with outlaws and general bad asses of society. But with the creation of MTV, tattoos have taken on a different meaning. Now that MTV and rock musicians were becoming even more popular you could see more and more people getting tattooed just to be cool.

In the early 1990's there was unrest among the youth of America. They were getting tired of society and its norms, they needed to escape the tradition of go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, and die, they wanted more to life than just that. With the grunge movement the younger generation was feeling rebellious and so with it came body piercing and the resurgence of tattooing. The youth of America was compulsively obsessed to break the mold of typical norms in society; they didn't want to be like their parents they didn't want to be closed minded to new things.

In the middle 90's Lollapalooza, an arts and music festival, was able to successfully integrate various music genres along with celebrating multiculturalism. From rappers, punk rockers, mainstream rock bands and bands the stage at lollapalooza had them all. Along with music they had skateboard demos, rare merchandise areas and the high light of the event, the tattoo and piercing tents. For the first time, the body arts were made available to the people they were furthest away from. With a melding of different lifestyles and value came many different types of ideals. Different people seem to reflect a world that

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Tattoos And Society Essay

A persons’ image is vital when meeting someone for the first time. Our peers, employers, family, superiors, even strangers that you walk past can automatically judge someone, and imagine how they present themselves to the world. Tattoos have been predominantly linked with a rebellious attitude and pictured on out of control stereotypes such as rock starts, bikers, sailors, and disobedient teenagers who want nothing more than to hack off their parents. With a new coming of age generation and a step into a more lenient and liberal society these types of patrons still participate in body art but so do doctors, lawyers, or just the run of the mill house mom. Tattoos signify religious beliefs, cultural influence, or each individual’s sole style. Body art is no longer socially offensive, employers are more apt to hiring tatted hopeful applicants, parents are warming up to the idea of their children inking their body and no longer a stranger on the street with a tattoo is necessarily prejudged as a criminal or safety hazard. Tattoos have become more evolved over the years because they have become more of a socially accepted element of the general public.
Dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries North American tattooing originated in the island of Tahiti, and other small pacific islands including Samoa and Hawaii (DeMello). The modification by U.S tattooists was to “fit a local sensibility emphasizing patriotism rather than exoticism” (DeMello). Martin Hildebrandt, was the first known tattoo artist in the United States as a professional. Shortly after the first mechanical tattooing machine was created, up until this point tattoos had been done by hand. A tattoo machine was invented because tattoos become a fad with military men and a new quicker efficient way was needed to ease pain and speed up the process. Tattoos really started become relevant to communities. Tattoo artist were mainly middle-aged men, who worked at the hole in the wall tattoo parlors. Body art also became known to be seen at circuses, and “freak shows” sometimes being next to people with disabilities or natural born wonders (DeMallo). Until the golden age of tattooing, which took place in the twentieth century, when parlors were actually next to things like barber shops, and retail stores. Margo DeMallo describe body art at the end of the sixties as “fragmented into different forms that corresponded to different social groups: servicemen, gang members, convicts, bikers, and working class men and woman” (DeMallo).
Not only have attitudes towards tattoos changed from their historic start but also the reasons for getting them. As time progressed so did the art of the tattoo, it has largely always been a favorite of individuals serving in the armed forces but outcast archetypes began to use tattoos as an outlet for artistic expression and shock value. Biker gangs all along the West Coast used tattoos to signify which gang they belonged to. Rock stars began to paint...

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