From Taboo to Mainstream

Once upon a time, we lived in a world where tattoos were more commonly seen on criminals and motorcycle gang members and piercings were only found on ears. The negative connotations that once surrounded unconventional piercings and tattoos have transformed into a now positive and accepting pop culture. Piercings and tattoos are now a common form of artistic expression that allow people to dress up and differentiate their body any way they please. A PEW Research Center Study found that 40 percent of individuals ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo and 14 percent of Americans have a piercing that is not on their earlobe. The piercing culture, which used to be more commonly associated with women is even becoming more gender neutral as more men undergo unconventional piercing procedures.


Whether you choose to be decked out head to toe in piercings and tattoos, or prefer to keep it simple everyone has their own reason for dressing up their body. Some people see piercings and tattoos as a sense of control over their bodies, others as pleasing artistic elements and some tattoos and piercings are simply reckless decisions. There is no longer a general notion that tattoos have to have a significant meaning in order to be accepted in society. Tattoos no longer solely need to be a statement of a traumatic or impactful past event, rather they can act as a platform in which individuals can express their personality to the world. The expansion of piercings has also taken a toll on society in recent years. As a female having anything other than one piercing on your earlobe was seen as unladylike in the past and for males it was almost expected that you would not have any body piercings. However, today these once taboo perspectives have completely expanded. Women are more frequently getting multiple piercings on their ears and even expanding their piercings to other ‘forbidden’ body parts. On the other hand, men are slowly but surely being welcomed to the piercing community. As the popularity of body expression continues to grow, it is no surprise that the tattoo and piercing industry has never been more prosperous.


Whatever your reasons behind having or not having a tattoo or piercing are, the fact that our society has welcomed tattoos and piercings into our mainstream culture is surely a progressive step. Having the ability to express yourself in whichever way you please is a great way to promote body positivity. Being able to control your appearance in a way that makes you feel comfortable in your own skin is always an important aspect that all of society should be welcoming to.