Tattoos: self expression of self deprivation?


Tattoo’s have become a way of self expression.  Tattoos can be spotted in almost most all age groups, but the millennials make a point of marking their skin with the ink of expression. states, “36% of individuals 18-25 have tattoos.”  The ink industry is booming, but adults are concerned with the stigma that many future bosses, teachers, and family members will have.

Many students at Ipswich High School have already gotten inked up. Many of them did so against their parents’ will, yet some have done it with their parents support. The draw to tattoos today is evident. As 18th birthdays approach, talk of tattoos, lottery tickets, and the right to vote buzz through the hallways. Tattoos always steal as the most exciting 18 year old privilege. The recurring questions of, “ you know that’s on your body for life” or the popular “what’s that going to look like when you’re 80?” are frequent reminders to students that once it’s on your body, it’s there forever. To some students, these warnings are enough to not go through with a tattoo. But to students like Skylar the draw of expression through body art was all too strong to be swayed by warnings. Skylar states, “ If a person has the right to anything, it should be their body. All of my tattoos have a certain meaning to me, and they represent my journey in life.” Tattooed individuals believe that their inked body shows who they are as a person, and even though others may not understand, it doesn’t matter in the end.

  Another huge factor with having tattoos is how people will perceive you. Most parents have the perception that a tattoo is a loss of innocence and will give you a disadvantage in life. When speaking to Karen Barry, a parent of an senior high school student, she remarks that, “ Tattoos are a huge decision in life. A tattoo could mean the loss of a job opportunity, or a negative perception by adults.” Many parents grew up in a time in which they would only see tattoos on a man. Forget about a tattooed female! That was unbelievably taboo. Fathers see daughters with tattoos and suddenly it’s not their “ little girl” anymore. The question that fathers and all people alike need to ask themselves is: “ does an image on a body define a person’s overall being?”

  Although some students like Skylar are pro tattoo, others would never consider getting inked. Josh Brown, a IHS senior, said “I would never get a tattoo for three reasons: needles freak me out, my mom would be pissed, and I don’t know what I would want to get.”  Josh’s reasons are extremely valid tattoo deterrents. Josh also stated, “I don’t think anything different of people who have tattoos though. I don’t even really notice them because I don’t look for them.”  That last line from Josh is a great example on how the millennials view tattoos. Hardly any of them go as far to call themselves ANTI-tattooers, BUT will go as far to say that they PERSONALLY would never scratch their skin with ink.

Just as Josh is a teen who is against tattoos on himself unlike the majority of his peers, there are also adults who are in support of the tattoo lifestyle. Mr.Downing is one of those adults. The first thing Mr. Harvey informed the Tiger Transcript of was that “[He] has four tattoos.” He went on to say that “Before I got tattoos I was into piercings. I had my ears and my tongue done. My parents saw it as teenage self expression.” When the Tiger Transcript asked Mr. Harvey how he would feel if his kids wanted tattoos, he said “I would make a deal with them. I would say, ‘if you come to me with a design and a location, and still want it in two years, I will not only support you, but I will research artists and pay for it.’” And with that, the Tiger Transcript was satisfied. There was proof that individuals from all generations have different feelings regarding tattoos, and that overall it doesn’t really matter what other people think as long as the individual with the tattoo is happy with their ink.