By Amber Winona

Many in our society would think that getting a tattoo can be a bad idea. Or at least, the elderly and traditionalists think so. When they see tattoos, the immediate thought is that the person is bad or part of a gang.

Why do people think that way? Is it because that’s how most people with tattoos are? Or is it because they just don’t know the meaning behind tattoos and why some choose to get them.

Amanda, 19 said,  “Most people think it is a disgrace because they do not know that to others their tattoo means a lot to them”.

She said that having a tattoo is not about showing it off, it is about finding a tattoo that defines and represents yourself.

Amanda's Tattoo
Amanda’s Tattoo

Amanda’s tattoo represents her parent’s initials. The two arrows means that when life brings you down, there will always be a turning point that will give hope to go on.

Some say that it also considered as a form of body art.

J-Shawn, 21, says that to him getting a tattoo shows that he is an adult.

He has several tattoos but his favourite would be the shark on his upper arm.

“I was watching a documentary about sharks and it gave me the motivation to have more adventures in life,” J-Shawn said.

But why is it that many people just do not approve of having several tattoos?              

Darmen's tattoo
Darmen’s tattoo

“To me maybe it’s because they grew up to think that it is a bad thing to have tattoos, that if you get one it could mean that you are a bad person or maybe because some people just cannot get one,” Darmen, 23 said.

Certain people will look at your tattoo and start judging it.

“Some people will think that you are a gangster or like you are trying to be cool and a show off,” Amanda said.

But at least people with tattoos are not worried about getting a job.

Amanda says that she is not worried that a company will not hire her because she knows she can hide her tattoos and that some companies do not mind their employees having body ink.

But what about those who do not have tattoos?

“I think tattoos are a choice. If you have them, cool. If you don’t, cool. People have their own rights to express themselves in any way and I support that,” Innaz, 18 said.

According to Carmen, 19, she said that society is always categorizing people with tattoos by saying that they are indecent, bad people, and whatnot. But she has come across many personalities with body ink who couldn’t be even further from those stereotypes.

But why do they not want tattoos on themselves?

“As a Muslim, it is haram to get a tattoo. As a person, I do not want one. Like I said, people have their own rights to their own freedom of expression. The choice to not get one is also a freedom of expression” Innaz said.

On another note, tattoos have come a long way, dating back to 8000 years ago.

Back then, people in Peru would tattoo a mustache on their upper lip and the Otzi from Alps had patterns of charcoal behind their spine, knee, and around their ankles which could be from the early acupuncture.

Even the mummy of Amonat, a priestess in middle kingdom of Egypt had tattoos that symbolized sexuality and fertility.

The origin word of tattoo is said to come from Tahiti, where they would call it Tatau.

An English Captain by the name of James Cook has said to have travelled there and came across heavily tattooed men and women.

Upon his discovery, Cook’s sailors begin to tattoo themselves and even encouraged many sailors to do the same.

This is why sailors are known to tattoo themselves based on their adventures at sea.

In the Victorian English Society, many people were sparked at the idea of tattoos but were not really keen on it.

But behind closed doors, many of them would actually get them.

Even Queen Victoria had a tattoo of a tiger fighting a python.

So tattoos are just a way to for people to express and identify themselves.

It also could show the adventures that they had in their lives.

A sailor from James Cook’s ship said  “Everyone is marked thus in different parts of his body according to maybe his humour or different circumstances of his life.”

But we also have to remember that when it comes to getting a tattoo, we need to think about it clearly before actually getting one, as it is a permanent commitment.

Many who do not think it through tend to regret it and may get it removed using the tattoo removal laser – which according to some, can be more painful than getting the tattoo itself !


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