December 2, 2012
Tattoo Acceptance: The Growing Art
Tattoos and the art of tattooing are thousands of years old. The acceptance of tattoos has grown the most it ever has these past ten years. In a classroom full of fifty of today’s students in America, twenty of them will have one or more tattoos. These numbers will, more than likely, steadily increase as time goes on. It is only right that the policies against them become more understanding and accepting as the number of tattoos in today’s society grows larger. I believe that tattoos should be fully accepted as long as they are done tastefully, with no derogatory or offensive meanings. Many people, like me, view tattoos as a form of expression and speech. The first Amendment of our Constitution protects free speech and expression, under most circumstances.
The word tattoo is derived from the Polynesian word ta (which means to strike something) and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ (which means to mark something). The first tattoo was found to be dated back to around 5,200 years ago. The tattoo was discovered when scientists found ‘the ice man’ on a mountain on the boarder of Austria and Italy. The frozen man had 57 tattoos. The following details were observed: two parallel stripes around the left wrist; four groups of lines to the left of the lumbar spine; one group of lines to the right of the lumbar spine; a cruciform mark on the inside of the right knee; three groups of lines on the left calf; a small cruciform mark to the left of the Achilles tendon; a group of lines on the back of the right foot; a group of lines next to the right outer ankle; a group of lines above the right inner ankle.[Dorfer 1999] Nobody knows exactly what the tattoos meant or why they were given to him. The only fact that can be taken from his body is that he had many very detailed tattoos. It may very well be that the tattoos were not unusual; many people living in his time may have had tattoos. These tattoos may have been marks of a tribe, tags of a disease or illness, or marks of a distinct family. People may have tattooed themselves as a form of identification. Historically many people were given tattoos. Kings and queens were given tattoos to represent their royalty and financial status. Members of tribes were given tattoos to represent their family. Criminals and outcasts were given tattoos to identify themselves to others, and sick and ill people were marked to warn the public of their conditions. As an example, the ancient princess known as the Ukok Princess had many tattoos known to represent her status as royalty. [Will, 2012]
There have been many ways that different regions of the world went about tattooing each other. Some people would carve needles out of the bones of animals and simply insert ash onto the bone and prick the flesh of whomever they were tattooing. The scars would heal with the pigment in the skin leaving and indentation (a tattoo). [Krcmarik 2003]Others would burn the flesh and cut it open after the skin had risen. Once the wound was cut open soot and ash from fire would be poured into the open wound and would be left to heal thus leaving the pigmentation under the skin. [Jablonski, 2008] Tattoos are not new to humans, and seem to have always been a part of life. Since tattoos have been around for thousands of years, it is only right that they become more and more fully accepted. In our society, tattoos were not as acceptable long ago as they are today. Years ago the only people who typically had tattoos were men in the military, sailors, criminals, and rebels. Tattoos were not normal, and if you did have a tattoo you were looked at very differently than someone who did not have tattoos. [Rozycki 2009] People that have tattoos are often looked at as criminals because a lot of criminals have tattoos. They are stereotyped by many people for being criminals and therefore are held back from being as socially accepted as…