Essay about Evolution of Tattoos: From Symbols to Style Statement and More

Submitted By Dvanairsdale
Words: 2559
Pages: 11

Tattooing: What it really means today
“It is part of our common experience that one aspect of a matter gives us a clue to the whole; that we are able to understand each other by countless incomplete means of communication. The person who is versed in music may identify the composer after hearing but a short phrase of one of his unfamiliar works, and each of us may recognize a friend from afar after seeing a single characteristic gesture” (Ferguson-Rayport, Griffith, Straus 112). All of these things make us into an individual. These features turn people into independent thinkers and this creates the diverse world in which we live. By definition the word independent means to not be influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etcetera. It means to be able to think for yourself and have the ability to make decisions based upon your own beliefs or culture. In this day and age people are becoming more and more independent in the way they think, dress, act, and even eat. Being independent has become more of a new fad for people in America. People back in the early to mid 1900s used to dress in a proper manner, but now it is normal to see businessmen and women walking around with very different dress styles. Men now wear different colored dress shirts, with skinnier ties and the women wear all different types of dresses, boots, and scarves. There are still the “old fashioned” people that wear the darker suits or dresses, but it is much less common then it used to be. Independence has caught on like a forest fire, maybe even too much. Independent people are getting harder and harder to tell apart. Since a large part of society is now trying to follow their own paths and not conform to the mainstream rules, it is hard to tell the difference between what is mainstream and what is independent. It is almost a paradox if you think about it; as people are trying to become independent and not conform to society, they are becoming more and more like everybody else. Basically now if somebody tries to go against society they will become more like everyone else. A prime example of this situation is people getting tattoos. People used to get tattoos because it was a definite sign of rebellion. A tattoo used to be a symbol of independence, but now due to the fact that more and more people are getting them, what does a tattoo really represent anymore? Tattoos, much like many other things have lost their importance and rebellion status because they are no longer looked at as a symbol for liberation, but as just as an ink smudge that could potentially cost a person much regret. Tattoos have been around for a lot longer than many people think. The earliest sign of a tattoo on a person’s body was traces back into 3300 B.C. There were certain marks of ink on an Iceman’s body. People used to think that tattooing was a way to relieve strained joints, which is why some ancient bodies that had become uncovered had dark ink marks on their ankles, wrists, and knees, but this is not the only reason people dating back into 3300 B.C. had tattoos. “While its meaning has varied from people to people and from place to place, tattooing has most often served as a sign of social status, as a mark of one's passage through life, or simply as a way to beautify the body” (Krcmarik). Humans have “inked” themselves for many years. According to the Smithsonian, which is a magazine made by the world largest museum and research complex, “(tattoos) have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment” (Lineberry 1). For thousands of years, people who had tattoos were looked upon as outsiders, unqualified, or rebellions. It was only until a few hundred years ago that tattoos started to become more understood and appreciated. Also Lineberry, the author from the Smithsonian article, “Tattoos”, stated, “mummies found with tattoos were usually dismissed by the (male) excavators