Tattoos and Stereotypes

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Tattooed people everywhere around us, and our attitude to the fact that they have tattoos can be different based on our life principles, values, or stereotypes we follow.

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While some people see tattoos as self-mutilation or associate tattooed people with criminals, others support the idea in general and view it as an effective form of self-expression. For tattooed people, the existing unacceptance of tattoos can become a considerable challenge in life. The significance of the issue lies in the fact that for those who have visible tattoos, it is difficult to find a job, especially a prestigious one. This and other aspects of tattoos are widely explored in scientific studies and reports. I argue that nowadays, as society is becoming more open-minded, it is important to further the existing stereotypes and prejudices and first of all view tattoos as a means for self-expression, which is an integral right for every person.

Over the time, the attitude to tattoos has significantly changed. While in the past, getting of a tattoo was not so popular and was mainly restricted to certain groups or subcultures, today, more and more people of different age are supporting this idea and getting tattoos themselves. As recent surveys state, nowadays, 3 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo, up 50% in just four years (Hyman n.p.). What is more, these surveys show that the tendency is developing exponentially. The matter is that younger people are more likely than older ones to get a tattoo, and this trend can be visible throughout generations. In particular, experts claim that the younger you are, the more likely you are to sport a tattoo: 47% of millennials have a tattoo, as compared to 36% of gen Xers and only 13% of baby boomers (Hyman n.p.). That is why the issue of unacceptance of tattoos is becoming more intense, and it is of vital importance to address it on different levels.

The existing problem lies in the fact that many people possess certain stereotypes related to tattoos, and it can affect tattooed people in terms of both social interactions and professional growth and success. First of all, people tend to associate tattoos with criminals. As some tattoos, especially vivid ones, can seem somewhat aggressive, one can assume that the tattooed person is likely to commit a crime either in the future or in the past. Besides, there exists a tradition of getting tattoos while in prison, and it also affects people’s perceptions.

Another issue, which is tightly related to the first one, is the fact that tattooed people can be discriminated in the workplace. It means that often, they are less likely to find a prestigious, well-paid job or can be fired because of the stereotypical visions that still exist in society. Besides, people with visible tattoos can be rejected when applying for a certain position simply because their appearance contradicts the overall image that the company aims to project. At the same time, studies show that in recent years, the acceptance of tattoos in the workplace is improving. Besides, they reveal that tattoos are on the rise in professions ranging from teachers to doctors to judges (Hyman n.p.). However, there still are people reporting that they have been fired or treated unfairly because of their tattoos.

The solution to the issue of tattoos’ unacceptance lies in furthering people’s stereotypes and becoming more open-minded. In this regard, the tendency is generally positive. However, much should be done to reinforce a shift in people’s consciousness, so that they do not associate tattooed people with criminals and learn to tolerate their differences. In particular, people should understand why tattoos should be first of all viewed as a means for self-expression. In terms of this, tattoos can be used to signify new beginnings. People get tattoos to make a change in their lives and forget about the past. In particular, tattoos can cover up bad memories by replacing them with something you love (4 Reasons Why Tattoos Are The Perfect Form Of Self Expression n.p.). In addition, a tattoo as a form of self-expression can serve as a conversation starter and help people find new friends and acquaintances. Besides that, a tattoo is simply a work of art, and, what is more, it is one of humanity’s most ancient forms of art (4 Reasons Why Tattoos Are The Perfect Form Of Self Expression n.p.). Finally, people often get tattoos with special meanings, which remind them of some important events or people in their lives.

At the same time, it is undeniable that visible tattoos can still be simply unappealing to clients or customers in the workplace. Thus, there is nothing discriminative in not hiring a person with visible tattoos if it contradicts the company’s overall image. However, such a reason should be sufficiently grounded in company’s policy and communicated to a candidate.

Still, it depends on the sphere you are going to work in whether or not you will face challenges because of your tattoos. For instance, famous singers Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran, and others have tattoos, and it is normal for them. Besides, many other famous and successful people have tattoos, and this fact does not lessen their success but rather makes them more interesting and original in their self-expression. The examples are famous politicians and political leaders Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and others. As it can be seen, having a tattoo did not influence their career or public image in a negative way.

It is important to change people’s perceptions of tattoos and tattooed people. In particular, it is significant to realize that people are not obligatory criminals or unreliable and aggressive personalities if they have tattoos. There are much more reasons why one wants to get a tattoo. First of all, it is a means of self-expression. Besides that, it can be related to one’s culture. The Maori, for instance, use traditional tattoos as social markers rather than mere fashion statements (Hunter n.p.). Also, a tattoo can be made for religious purposes or in order to hide scars or other body imperfections.

All in all, a tattoo as a form of self-expression is getting more and more popular. However, people still possess certain stereotypes for those with tattoos. That is why it is important to reinforce a shift in people’s perceptions to help them understand that a tattoo is not a sign of a criminal but rather a form of self-expression and a work of art.

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Tattoos And Stereotypes. (2019, May 06). Retrieved January 30, 2023 , from

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