Friday, February 27, 2009

To Tatt or not to Tatt

To tat or not to Tat... that is the question.
Tattoo, that is.

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide. The Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, traditionally wore facial tattoos. Today one can find Berbers of Tamazgha(North Africa) and Maori of New Zealand with facial tattoos. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples and among certain tribal groups in the Philippines, Borneo, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Micronesia. Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the art continues to be popular in many parts of the world.
Ötzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BC, was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered, such as the Mummy of Amunet from Ancient Egypt. Tattooing in the Western world today has its origins in Polynesia, and in the discovery of tatau by eighteenth century explorers. The Polynesian practice became popular among European sailors, before spreading to Western societies generally.
Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures.
Today, people choose to be tattooed for cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, identification, and medical reasons.

The Facts
The National Geographic News stated that 15% of all Americans are tattooed. Details Magazine published a poll that stated 22% of 18-25 year olds have at least one tattoo. It’s also estimated 60% of the tattooed are women.
Buying a tattoo can be an extremely important decision, and definitely not one to take the least bit lightly. First of all, tattoos last a really long time. Secondly, you have to look at that tattoo every day of your life. Thirdly, tattoos can be really expensive, so you better make sure you spend your money wisely. And lastly, tattoos are a symbol of your inners self, the ultimate form of self-expression.

The Argument


  • And then there's the physical affects of aging to consider. As most people get older the gain a little extra weight and the quality of their skin deteriorates.
  • That's bad news for most tattoos. Twenty years later they can end up looking stretched, distorted and washed out. This is particularly true of tattoos place on your stomach. And for young women, they also have to consider what pregnancy may do to tattoos located on their stomach.
  • One of the best places to avoid the problems of weight gain is the lower back. The skin on this part of the body tends to experience less strain in the event of weight gain.
  • It’s still a fad, and is there anything dumber than doing something permanent to your body because it’s in style?
  • Those who get tattoos are making a decision to send certain signals to those around them, and those people may react negatively and stereotype you [Stigma].
  • The human body is beautiful enough without any permanent adornment.
  • Getting a tattoo may impact your personal or professional life.
  • Cost of a tattoo. (Money and Pain)
  • Risk of infection and disease.
  • Risk of tattoo not turning out how you wanted it.

Possibility of not liking it in a few years.


  • As I said earlier, a tattoo can be an outward expression of ones inner self.
  • Tattoos used for symbolic significance as well as a pure design element on your body give you a chance to stand out in a crowd
  • Variety of colors, sizes, shapes and designs definitely add up to the positive side of tattoos. You can access innumerable designs if you do a search of magazines, journals, libraries or the internet, which is one of the biggest resources for tattoo designs.
  • Tattoos can be removed (by laser treatment), however it is painful and expensive.
  • If it has a meaning or a story, it can be a great topic of conversation, and it will be a reminder and a memory.

I keep flipping back and forth between wanting a tattoo (in the distant future) and not. Both of the arguments presented are very debatable, and both weigh in heavily on my decision.

I believe that as long as a tattoo has meaning to someone, a story or memo or symbolic, then it is justified. Some people get stupid tattoos that they think are hilarious now, but I am sure that in the near future they will greatly regret them.

[ see WWHM Presents Special Edition II: Bad Tattoos]

Its funny, but at the same time quite sad and pathetic.

If I were ever to permantly ink my body with art, I would be absolutely sure I would love it forever, never regret it, place it in a spot that can easily be covered, and be sure the actual tattoo has personal unique meaning to me.

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