Tattoo talk: why body art doesn’t mean criminal

KRISTA ALBRITTON Staff writer

Tattoos- You either have one or know someone that does. They are becoming increasingly more present as time goes on. However, despite their commonality, tattoos and those that have them still face stigmas and judgement. I, myself, have been faced with this judgment, and have even found myself passing this judgement on others.

One stereotype is that of lowered professionalism. Which, let’s be honest, some tattoos are completely unprofessional, but not all of them are. People have the belief, consciously or not, that tattoos go hand-in-hand with being unprofessional. As if, just because a person has art inked into their skin, they can’t be responsible, trustworthy or have a job of importance. Think about it. How many times have you been surprised when you found out your professor had a tattoo? Even I, someone who has very visible tattoos, have found myself experiencing that feeling of surprise.

Tattoos have been so ingrained into us as a negative trait that it is hard to think otherwise. Children are taught that ink is a sin, that they will inevitably end up regretting them, that they contain drugs, that they will never get a good job if they get visible tattoos, that tattoos are intimidating and only worn by criminals. Although not as much as they used to be, all kinds of crazy ideas are still being spread about people with tattoos.

Yes, some tattoos may contain drugs if gotten unsafely. Yes, some criminals do, in fact, have tattoos. Yes, it may be a sin according to whatever religion you subscribe to, and yes, you may end up regretting a tattoo one day. Tattoos are more than that though. They are are memories and reminders. They have meaning and importance. They allow a person to express themselves in a way that speaks loud and clear without opening their mouth. Tattoos are beautiful and unique and as much of a part of a person as their heart and soul.

I understand that not everyone feels this way and that’s okay. What isn’t okay is the disrespect and judgement directed towards tattoos and the people wearing them. You can disagree with tattoos all you like, but they should not be the major factor by which you form your opinion of a person. I know some incredible people that have ink, and if I had dismissed them just because of that reason (ignoring the fact that I would be incredibly hypocritical), I would be a very different and very lonely person. In other words, we need to do our best to eliminate the stigmas that continue to cling to body art.