Hidden Tattoo Essay

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HCS 3160 20 November 2012 The Hidden Tattoo I got my first tattoo when I was 18 years old. It wasn’t something that I had planned on getting, but was done on a whim. Ironically, the reason behind my decision to get a tattoo wasn’t so much about the meaning of the tattoo itself, (despite the fact that this ink will be with me for the rest of my life) but more about the story of how I came to be in a tattoo parlor that day and said to myself, “Why not?” The only conscientious decision I made regarding my tattoo was its placement; I wanted to make sure it could be covered up, because although I was committed to having this on my body forever, I did not know if my future would always be as accepting. For many Americans, tattoos have taken on a decidedly different meaning than those held by previous generations. The tattoo has “undergone dramatic redefinition” (Irwin 50) and despite its use for symbolizing self expression and individuality, I believe many people still feel the need to keep their body art hidden for fear of negative reactions in their personal and professional lives. I will discuss the stigmas associated with tattoos, including the motivations behind why more people are getting inked, as well as why some individuals still choose to conceal their body art while in public and the workplace. All one has to do is look at the people around them to see that there has been a huge increase in the number of tattoos spanning across all generations, and this increase only takes into account the body art that is visible to the eye; who knows how many tattoos are being covered up? “Once considered an artifact of criminals, gangs, sailors, and social outcasts, tattoos careened into the American mainstream in the 1990s” (Irwin 49). “In 1936, only 6 percent of the U.S. population had a tattoo and a study in 2006 revealed that 24 percent of Americans between

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