Further exploring tattoo culture

Views 241 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 3 - 24 - 2015 | By: Christina Buckley

Last week’s article on the topic of tattoos included points that left a lot unexplained. While the article was relatively neutral and covered both sides, I will develop its points further and take a positive stance in defense of tattoos.

First, I would agree that tattoos can cause a shocked reaction within conservative communities because of traditional values against them. On the other hand, considering the larger American culture, which is becoming more politically liberal and generally open-minded each generation, tattoos overall rarely receive disapproving looks. Rather, looks of interest or intrigue would usually be the common reaction, and rarely would there be any moral judgment of the person’s character.

Granted, a person would still have to consider potential employment hindrances while considering the location of a tattoo. The reasoning behind that, though, would be more for respect of still-existing traditional opinions held by older generations. Before long, as people begin to accept these alterations as commonplace, the workforce will gradually discriminate less against tattoos.

Personally, I carefully explored opinions of tattoos in my intended career before making any decisions. People explained that within the field of social work, tattoos actually play a positive role in identifying with clients, who often come from a culture saturated with tattoos themselves.

Regarding the point introduced about tattoos in a Christian context, I have some insights for those concerned with “matters of biblical obedience and morality.” A verse from the Old Testament was cited as a reason to avoid marking one’s skin with tattoos.

Leviticus 19:28 stands as one among many statements from God to the Israelites for the purpose of keeping them safe from further exploitation and ensuring they do not commit idolatry against him. Tattoos were forbidden from the people of God during that time because they were often used in rituals worshipping other gods. That is the message Christians today should take away from the verse.

Again, for myself, most of the tattoos I’ve gotten symbolize messages or values from my faith. Certainly none of them represent idols in my life, and I do not idolize the tattoos themselves. Because of this, I have no personal qualms around my tattoos. If anything, I find that un-tattooed individuals place a higher value on tattoos.

In my experience, people have used tattoos as a shortcut attempt to get to know me. I find this inappropriate and unrepresentative. The assumption that all tattoos have a significant meaning is incorrect. If a tattoo is deeply meaningful, that message does not include making friends.

I’ve heard plenty of people say they would not consider getting a tattoo unless it “really means something.” Often, such meaning cannot be physically manifested, and artistic compromises are made. A couple of my tattoos are deeply meaningful as well as physically aesthetic. But a few of them just look nice, and serve that simple purpose.

Photo By Donald Brubaker


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