The changing view of tattoos: how ink affects image in 2011


More and more people are getting inked, seemingly by the day, as previous attitudes toward tattoos are changing.

Kristie Kruss, sophomore in family studies and human services, has had nine tattoos done over the span of 12 years, and admitted that she would consider getting more. However, she said it is of critical importance that each tattoo has a very specific meaning.

“I don’t believe in putting something on myself that I don’t want to look at,” Kruss said.

Be warned, however: the general consensus is that having visible tattoos can affect a person’s image. There are places for tattoos that are more easily concealed — backs, hips, etc. The harder places to conceal tattoos are wrists, necks, forearms, ankles — in the summer, especially — and of course, the face. If you plan on getting a tattoo in a visible location, keep in mind that everyone can see it: grandmothers, children, potential employers and parents.

Morgan Peelen, senior in social science, has zero tattoos and a word of caution. She said the effects of visible tattoos on a person’s image are prevalent, “especially professionally.”

There are myriad reasons to get a tattoo. A person can get a tattoo in remembrance in of a lost loved one. People can get a tattoo in celebration of their freedom. They can get a tattoo to symbolize their friendship with others. People even get tattoos to fit in or just because it’s the cool thing to do. Whatever the reason, a tattoo can say a lot about an individual. A.J. Steinle, senior in geography, said tattoos tell a person’s story.

Peelen agreed, saying that tattoos can provide insight into a person’s culture, faith and personality in general.

Kruss said a person’s tattoos could say anything about them “from their deepest feelings to their deepest fears.”

Tattoos seem to be spreading among the stereotypes; there is no longer such a stigma that they are only seen on less-than-upstanding people.

“Earlier in the past century, tattoos were for rough men with rough jobs or on the seedier side of the law and some ‘ladies of the night’ had them as well — not well-to-do, well-respected citizens,” said Victoria Tillson, senior in fine arts.

She also said different varieties of people have them now, such as mothers, grandparents and excellent students.

According to Peelen, younger people are getting more tattoos these days, and for less meaningful reasons. Kruss holds to the idea that tattoos are less of a taboo subject than they used to be.

“The image of the tattoo has evolved completely and has turned into a fashion trend and a widely accepted aspect of life,” Tillson said.

Of course, as trends spread, so do businesses that cater to those trends. In Manhattan, a number of individual tattoo shops serve the local community. These include Stray Cat Tattoo, located at 1130 Laramie St.; Twisted Apple Tattoo, at 622 N. Manhattan Ave.; and the newest addition, Syndicate Tattoo LLC, located at 423 Poyntz Ave.