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Is tattoo for you? A question for the Gen Nexters

By CLAIRE CHOCK
DCN Reporter

Tattoos are seen by many as an art form, the body being a blank canvas. Others feel uncomfortable around people with pierced body parts and tattoos. A Pew Research survey done in January 2007 said that over one-third of Generation Nexters (people ages 18-25) have tattoos, while another survey done by Vault said 67 percent of people concealed their tattoos at work. It seems tattoos still have a stigma attached to them that may affect the job opportunities Generation Nexters have. If this is the case, then why are so many people getting tattoos?

Just as there are many different designs and styles of tattoos, there are many different reasons for getting tattoos. Some get tatted because it seems cool and their friends are doing it. Others get tatted to mark a significant point in their life or show a significant aspect of themselves. Nate Scanlon, the main piercer at Dominic’s Downtown, used one of his tattoos as an example.

“My first tattoo was a huge spider on my right forearm,? he said. “I had to cover it up after a while. I got it because my biggest fear is spiders and I thought getting a tattoo might help me get over it. It didn’t work, I’m still scared of spiders so I had to cover it up.?

The different styles themselves can be attractive to potential ink wearers. With many different designs ranging from flowers and cute animals to ghoulish characters peeking through the skin, there’s a tattoo for everyone—maybe even more than one.

The attractiveness of this is that people can keep a tattoo original through its meaning, design or style. For example, Scanlon has a tattoo of two sparrows on his neck that have very special meaning to him. Someone else can make that same design their own by getting it simply because they like sparrows or because it has some other meaning to the person or by changing the style of the tattoo.

It could be the uniqueness that draws people to get tattoos despite the effects on job opportunities. The tattoo’s location may have something to do with it, too. People can put tattoos in places where they can be covered up if need be. Chris Rundell, a client at Dominic’s, talked about the location of a tattoo.
“I think there’s a good reason to have them where you have them, but there’s also a responsibility of where you put the tattoo,? he said.

Another reason may be that Generation Nexters see tattoos as becoming more accepted. The older generation grew up with the stereotype of a tattoo as a bad thing, which is one reason why tattoos affect job opportunities, according to Scanlon. The younger generation, which has generally accepted tattoos, will age and replace the older generation’s position in society, resulting in an acceptance for the next generation’s tattoos.

Whatever the reason for getting tattooed, the practice does seem to be here to stay.

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ON THE NET:

http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=300 -- An article from the Pew Research Center, "A Portrait of 'Generation Next': How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics"

Comments

I enjoyed reading your post. I have found that tattoos are really beginning to shed the stigma that they've had for a very long time. Even some in the older generations are becoming more accepting of them. I guess they are just being desensitized by the popularity that tattoos have gained over the last 20 years or so. Great post! Thanks!

Mike