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The Tattoo Taboo: Keep Thinking or Start Inking?

Every tattoo is a story. The ink upon someone’s skin acts as a narrative of who they are and where they come from. As time progresses and people change, tattoos serve as a reminder of the lengths they have grown as a person. Through your highs and lows, tattoos are a therapy of expression and continued signal perseverance. But of course, there are critics. Throughout history, tattoos are thought to be unprofessional and a sign of inward disrespect. So, if you’ve been thinking about getting your first tattoo (or even your seventh), this article is for your contemplation purposes.

Professionalism: Job or judgement?

I’m sure everyone has heard the ancient debate of whether or not a tattoo will make or break one’s opportunity at a job. In an article conducted by the Harvard Business Review, Micheal T. French of the University of Miami explains that a survey conducted on tattoos and professionalism had a control group consisting of 2,000 people in the United States. The results were fascinating:

  • Size, visibility, or offensiveness did not play a role in the likeliness of tatted individuals to find a job.
  • Men who had tattoos were 7% more likely to land a job than those who had no ink.

So, generally, employers are paying less attention to tattoos and more attention to qualities found below the skin.

Pain: Is it worth it?

Although I only have one tattoo so far, the pain was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. My behind-the-ear tattoo tickled. I know it sounds crazy, but a lot of people share the same behind-the-ear experience. Of course, the intensity can vary from location to location, and some healing processes are lengthier than others. Healthline describes the most, and least painful locations as being:

MOST: armpit, ribcage, ankles and shins, breasts, groins, elbow or kneecap, behind the knees, hips, neck, and spine, head, face, ears, lips, hands, fingers, feet and toes, stomach, inner bicep.

LEAST: upper-outer thigh, forearm, outer shoulders, outer biceps, calves, upper and lower back.

It wasn’t so much about what I was tattooing on my body. It was where, the time and place, and the memories.

Ed Sheeran, Elle Magazine

Concluding questions:

  • Is the tattoo you desire in a painful place? If yes, is it worth it? The pain of a tattoo only lasts a moment, while the beauty is permanent.
  • Will it increase your confidence? Big or small, a tattoo should make you feel better about yourself: not decrease your confidence level.
  • Does the tattoo symbolize something?: a place, a person, a feeling, a passion? One is more likely to appreciate their tattoo when they appreciate the meaning.
  • Is it offensive? Will someone see the tattoo and take offense to it? Even if the answer seems like no right now, truly think about if your tattoo could offend someone. You will end up regretting a permenant symbol on your skin that makes everyone else around you uncomfortable.

Overall, if you have thought about it and enjoy the continuous thought of a tattoo, it will be worth it… and maybe ten years from now, if for some reason you can’t stand to look at your ink, there is always (painful) removal or a coverup. Also, research your artists! Most tattoo artists promote themselves on social media. This gives you the chance to understand, view their work, and decide whether or not it’s what you’d like on your skin.

SO, keep thinking or start inking? It’s your body and your canvas. The answer is up to you.

Abby is a freshman at Ohio University. She is studying Journalism News and Information. In her free time, Abby enjoys painting, reading, writing, and thrifting!
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