Simply Skin Deep?


One of the many consequences of being a user of the micro blogging website tumblr is developing an unhealthy obsession with tattoos.  Everything from Japanese sleeves, lyrics stamped across the chest, fifties pin ups on the arm to miniature world maps on the wrist; I love.

I’m still building up the courage to get my first tattoo, it’s a personal design that I’ve spent many months thinking about, yet I have friends who aren’t even 19 and are already on their third, and some who are only in their twenties and are tattooed from head to toe.

As much as I love tattoos, I do wonder whether they’ve been a bit hasty in getting so many so young, and what has caused this sudden epidemic in the amount of people inking their bodies?

One could argue that the media is an obvious culprit in making tattoos more socially acceptable. After all, tattoos used to be reserved for those who were on the fringe of society; the alternative kids, the rebels.

Whilst this is arguably still true, we see the crème de la crème of today’s pop artists adorned in body art – Gaga, Becks and Britney are all lovers of the needle, and even Beyoncé has a tattoo on her ring finger. Celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and Fearne Cotton also proudly display their body art on national television; it’s almost unusual to see a celebrity without a tattoo these days.

Moving away from celebrities, we also see programmes such as L.A and Miami Ink, which are dedicated to showing the process of tattoos, from the tattooist and the client’s perspective. Tattoo appreciation has even been given a place in our local newsagents, with magazines solely dedicated to admiring body art. It seems that tattoos have never been cooler.

However, whilst it’s good to see an art that not so long ago was rejected by society, becoming more socially acceptable, it begs the question of whether it’s going to the other extreme. As much as I love tattoos, the design I have is something personal with a story behind it.

I know many people who picked a tattoo simply because they wanted it, they thought it looked cool at the time and a couple of years later they regretted it. People are free to do what they want with their bodies, but with something as permanent as a tattoo it seems reckless not to take time thinking about the design.

Then, of course, there is the impact tattoos can have on someone’s future prospects. It’s not an uncommon fact that many employers ranging from McDonalds to other areas such as banking frown on visible tattoos.  Ultimately, it seems wise to really think about the tattoo your having and remember, it’s not necessarily only skin deep.


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