The Effects Of Tattoos In Western Culture

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In the perspective of Western culture, the form of art known as tattooing of the skin underwent a diverse and long history through time and various eras. Phases of social stigmatisation to surges of acceptance are some challenges experienced by those who wear tattoos on their bodies. Exposing one’s tattoo creates a personal expression or statement to society, but the interpretation of that expressions and statements has changed in time. Tattoos can be used as a method of affirming unity and reclaiming authority among marginalised groups such as prisoners (Goffman 1967, Sanders 1990). Tattoos are described as a type of trend or fashion by some and many tattooed people identify their ink as “accessories” that can be visible to the public or even hidden at times (Sweetman 1999). The practices of tattooing are defined by others as very personal act and a way of taking ownership of the self (Pitts 2003, Johnson 2001). The practice of tattooing and the social value it holds in relation to the social marginalisation or deviancy remains a debate that has continued for years. A shift in the collective opinions towards tattoos has emerged in contemporary society recently. The amount of certified tattoo parlours in the United States has grown from 500 to 10 000 between the 1960’s and 1980’s and it is the assumption that twenty percent of Americans have tattoos (Velliquette 2006, Koust 2006). There is a clear shift in the role of tattooing in Western Society through the past years. This

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