Tattoos Allow for Self-Expression, Individuality

Body art provides outlet for creativity

March 10, 2022

Often the source of controversy and creativity, tattoos remain popular among young people. Tattoos are utilized as a form of protest, self-expression, or simply for aesthetic purposes. While some believe tattoos need to have a deeper meaning to be worth putting on one’s body permanently, others simply get tattoos because of the image itself. 

Violet Odden ‘22 states, “I know a lot of people like to say… make sure when you do get tattoos that it has meaning and it is important to you. I don’t really think it has to, and it definitely depends on the person. If you want something that has meaning, but you’re just getting something to look cool, then you might end up regretting it. So I do think it’s important to have thought about it, but I don’t think every single thing you put on your body needs to have meaning, not every shirt you wear has meaning you might just think it looks cool.” Tattoos won’t always have a specific meaning, and they don’t necessarily have to. Amanda Minoff, English teacher and college counseling liaison, adds, “I think they can just be beautiful, and that is reason enough to get one.”

“Getting those types of tattoos, the ones that signify that you’ve survived through something are really empowering…and important.” – Violet Odden ’22

In recent years, tattoos have become more widely accepted, especially in terms of younger people getting them. Minoff says that “I do think that the stigma of if you have a tattoo, that means you’re a really tough person… has diminished in recent years as tattoos have become more popular and there have been more styles of tattoos.” 

Tattoos are particularly appealing to young people, as they are a way to express things they might not be able to say otherwise. However, there is a certain risk with getting a tattoo early in life, and later regretting that choice. Odden notes, “I think it’s more accepted, but people definitely need to think about what that might affect them going into the future.” Tattoos can affect future employment, even though they are slowly becoming more accepted. As people grow and change, they could also outgrow a tattoo from when they were younger. Although, this process is not necessarily a negative outcome. Minoff presents the idea of tattoos as a way to reflect on the past and says, “I think it’s wise to consider how your tattoo will grow with you, but I also think it’s kind of cool to have a tattoo that marks who you are at a certain stage in your life and to be able to look back on that and remember who you were even if it’s not a tattoo you would’ve gotten in the present day… I think it’s cool to see how you’ve changed since that moment.”

For young people, tattoos are often used as a way to represent their lived experiences. Odden believes that “Getting those types of tattoos, the ones that signify that you’ve survived through something, are really important to the person getting them and really empowering.” Tattoos are a creative outlet and a form of self expression. Minoff states “[I]t’s a means of expression, just like writing is, just like any sort of art. I think it carries a different significance when it’s on your body and it’s going to be there forever.”

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