Body art: social acceptance

Body art has always held a place in the history of the world. It can be traced back thousands of years, but in recent times it wasn’t as socially acceptable as it has become today.

When I was a young child, people that were brought to my attention that had tattoos were sailors, who had small tattoos like anchors to symbolize their profession, or people who spent extensive time in prison who got their ink while locked inside.

Tattoos did not have detail when I was a kid and would often just be simple things like a heart, anchor or skull. Today the detail in tattoos has evolved to the point where tattoos truly are artwork, and it is so socially accepted that the question that was asked when I was a kid, “Would you ever get a tattoo?” has become “When are you going to get a tattoo?” or “What is your next tattoo going to be?”

The fact that it has become more socially acceptable shouldn’t be a surprise. As we learn more and more about history we discover more and more how acceptable it was in cultures of the past.

In 1991 the body of a five thousand year old male was found frozen on a mountain top between Italy and Austria. This ancient man was covered with nearly 60 tattoos from the waist down.

If people were getting that many tattoos in the Bronze Age, it was just a matter of time before something like that could happen in this day and age, and it did.

Today you can flip through the stations on your TV and find multiple shows where people are getting tattoos all over their bodies.

These shows chronicle the inside of tattoo shops in various cities such as the shows Miami Ink and L.A. Ink. These shows not only show people with tattoos and how many different types of people there are that get tattoos, but they actually show people getting tattooed and the stories about what the ink means to them.

This is a big change from 20 years ago when I was a young child and you wouldn’t even see people on TV with tattoos unless they were labeled as a gang banger, drug dealer or some other kind of deviant.

Those shows are only the beginning, though. The social acceptance of tattoos and body art has led to more piercings as well.

If you walk around campus today, you will see people with piercings in their noses, eyebrows and the newest trend, dermal piercings all over their bodies. There are even fliers hanging on bulletin boards that advertise body art and piercings.

Again, when I was a kid there was only one kind of socially accepted piercing, and it was one hole in your earlobe, but as I grew older that too changed.

Much like with tattoos the only time you would see people portrayed with multiple piercings 20 years ago when I was growing up was in rock videos, or in scenes on TV where people were portrayed as punk rockers.

For me, the change in social acceptance is a welcome one.

As a young child I always loved art, and used art as a way to express myself. Thanks to the change in social acceptance I can use tattoos to continue to express myself the way I did with my art as a child.

All of my life I was taught that every person on this planet is different and you should express yourself in whatever way you feel. Tattoos, and other body art, are ways of helping people separate themselves and now a way I separate myself.

No longer are you a punk or a gang banger if you choose to express yourself with ink or piercings. This social acceptance brings us one step closer to the ultimate goal in America, for all men and women to be treated equally.