Tattoos in Society. Are we Making Social Progress, or Regression?
I often wonder, in this day and age, how as a society we are remain so adverse to tattoos. I know all too well the feeling of being looked at like I’m unemployable. The pain in some judgmental person’s eyes that says, do you regret that? For what reason does mainstream society think that if they see you in long sleeves, or any type of clothing that covers tattoos, that that person doesn’t have any?
Sure, I dress business appropriate for work, but when people find out I have tattoos the facial expression turns to that of pity. It’s as if I got stupid right before their eyes and I am no longer the person they praised the day before. Then they say, you’re not like most tattooed people I know. My reply, although probably not wanted, do you know a lot of people with tattoos? Nine times out of ten the answer is no.
This has stemmed a curiosity in me how humanity hasn’t overcome the stigmatism of tattoos. I suppose it’s just like same sex marriage, a perfect house and 2.5 children. We drank the Kool-Aid and bought into the American dream. This type of reality demands censorship. It demands you go along and get along. It makes me feel like for years people resembled the two characters on Miracle on 34th Street whom worked for the crappy toy company, but secretly had hidden buttons for Santa.
According to the Smithsonian, the oldest tattoo on record is 5,200 years old. Despite the length of time tattoos have been in existence, shock is the only way to describe the reaction. Like tattoos belong in a circus. My real joy though, comes when I start talking about my tattoos and people realize, this is no cheap hobby.
I have been know to say things like, my tattoo artist makes $125 hour. Do you? People often look defeated. Defeat for themselves. Because as someone who drank the Kool-Aid and got a master’s degree, you think you are doing it to make money. Once you realize someone is making 3X what you make without college, your life is a lie. After all, whether we admit it or not, people want to feel superior to others. That is why we are here, why we have the name we have and why we want to lift up all people. After all, tattoos are but one way discrimination occurs in our country.
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