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Tattoos what’s with the negativity

by Noma Hope about a year ago in body


Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Tattoos are very popular especially among the youth and many are seen with all sorts of drawings on their bodies. Tattoos are not something new as they date far back as the early ages. According to, tattoos date back thousands of years as they were found on mummified skin that is believed to be from far back as 3370 BC.

Tattoos have been present in many societies across the world and in some cultures there were seen as honorable symbols that meant something about a particular individual, some meant that the person had political power or were great warriors such as in Samoa culture were men with tattoos are seen as courageous.

In popular culture and most societies around the world however tattoos are surrounded by a lot of controversy. Individuals who have tattoos are often branded as hooligans, disrespectful, rude and are seen as misfits. Just walk down the road and see how people look at a person with a lot of tattoos, they are always met with frowns and suspicion.

In the corporate world persons with visible tattoos such as those on their faces can lose out on employment opportunities due to the negative way tattoos are looked at by the general public. I remember a friend of mine saying she wasn't comfortable with a dentist who had a large tattoo on his neck. After having her tooth filled she simply did not return and went to another dentist. When I asked her why she felt uncomfortable she said the dentist was not professional and should have covered his tattoo.

Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash

The question is why are tattoos associated with such negativity? Why do drawings on the body give most people chills down their spine? Are tattoos not just like hairstyles, jewelry or any kind of fashion that beautifies the body? Or as an expression of self?

Some are a true work of art that must be displayed and others represent something very special to the individual who has them but yet they are still not warmly accepted by society. Where does this negative stereotype about tattoos come from, could it be the entertainment industry, which has played a significant role in popularizing the art and associating it with bad/evil characters?

Watch any movie with gangsters and rowdy prisoners; they always have all sorts of tattoos which seem to emphasize their depraved behaviors. In the music industry tattoos seem to go hand in hand with wild and out of control behavior, they seems to be an unwritten rule in the entertainment industry that tattoos are for people who have carefree attitudes and who do not conform to any rules.

A good example of this are child stars who start off as innocent entertainers that are praised and seen as good role models to their peers but when they grow older and want to shed off their childhood star images the first thing they get are a tonne of tattoos and start acting all rude and bad. A few such stars that come to mind are Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. The tattoos seem to be used as an initiation to the mischievous club, and the more tattoos they get the wilder they become, could this be why tattoos are viewed with such negativity and the society especially parents almost have heart attacks if they see their children with body art.

Or could it be religious beliefs which condemn any form of markings on our divine bodies. Even the youths that have them when they grow older and become adults they seem to regret having got the drawings and those who can afford have them erased. Why are tattoos not embraced and seen as simply fashion statements? Why are they judged so harshly and remain so controversial?

Noma Hope
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Noma Hope
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