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A permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars.

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The argument against tattoos.

  • May 20, 2010
  • by

When preparing to write a review here on Lunch you are always asked the question "Like, love or loathe?  More often than not I prefer to write about topics that I love and am really enthusiastic about.  In this case however I have chosen to comment on a subject that I really detest....tattoos.  I have always hated tattoos and although my attitude towards them may seem completely illogical to many of you I don't think I will be changing my mind anytime soon.  The sight of most tattoos just makes my skin crawl.  I am sure that any discussion of this subject will evoke passionate feelings from people who love them and those who despise them.  So let's let 'er rip. 

I never quite understood what would motivate someone to get a tattoo.  Perhaps I have led a sheltered life but the very idea of a person voluntarily choosing to have ink injected into their body is repulsive to me. It seems to me that you are taking a huge health risk by engaging in this sort of thing and could potentially end up with a serious infection, hepatitis or God forbid HIV/AIDS.  Why would you want to risk it?  Then what happens if you decide you really don't like your tattoo after all?  In the past removing a tattoo was virtually impossible but these days laser removal is available but I am told that the cost is prohibitive.  Unlike most routine transactions "buyer's remorse" is not a quick and easy fix with a tattoo.  Whenever I see an individual with a tattoo, especially one that covers a large portion of the body, my first reaction is always something like "did he/she ever stop to think what they are going to look like when they are 40, 50 or 60 years of age and beyond?"  Just a thought I guess but are people really that short-sighted?   Finally there is the practical matter of how having a visible tattoo or tattoos might affect your employment prospects.  The simple fact of the matter is that some companies clearly state in their job applications and employee handbooks that visible tattoos are forbidden.  Furthermore, a study by Careerbuilders "shows the perils of tattoos for aspiring professionals, and confirms the conventional wisdom that tattoos are a sign of immaturity, bad judgement and bad taste."   The findings of this study also indicate that "over 42% of managers said their opinion of someone would be lowered by that person's visible body art."  I am afraid to say that rightly or wrongly I would most certainly have to count myself among that 42%.  Furthermore, "three out of four respondants believe that visible tattoos are unprofessional."   Remember that "perception is reality".  As such, it would seem to me that there is an awful lot of food for thought in that study that one contemplating a tattoo should seriously consider.
Let me be very clear here.  I am not looking to pick a fight.  Rather, I am trying to initiate an intelligent discussion about the subject of tattoos.  If you believe my views to be archaic then I invite you to sit down and right a similar review in defense of tattoos.  I would be very interested in reading it.  Finally, under no circumstances would I ever support any kind of legislation that would ban tattoos.  After all, this is America and the Constitution affords each and every one of us a whole host of freedoms including I suppose the "freedem to be foolish".    Definitely not recommended!

The argument against tattoos. The argument against tattoos. The argument against tattoos. The argument against tattoos.

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July 03, 2014
I don't mind seeing tattoos on other people, I see it as a work of art, but I agree with you- there are way to many risks that can avoided by not tattooing. My husband has almost died, twice, from a blood infection. I also agree, I do not want ink injected in my skin.
August 03, 2011
Ostentatious body art can appear to be non-conforming in a workplace - unless the workplace is a Harley Davidson Sales Division. I have health concerns about importing Hepatitus and other difficult conditions which are hard to diagnose and treat .
February 10, 2011
I've come to a very different conclusion even though I don't have any tattoos and don't plan on getting any.

I think there is a universal tendency to identify with one's body, and that there is a similar tendency to attempt to engrave one's identity on one's body.  I choose to wear a beard for this reason, I suppose.  Others may choose to have tattoos.

In many other cultures, tattoos are institutionalized as a method of inclusion into the community, much the way circumcision is in Judaism.  Ritual surgery isn't that different from tattoos when we think about it except that usually men don't make the decision to become circumcised themselves but rather this decision is made for them by their parents.....

Similarly when we look at something like the henna work that goes on a bride's body in the Moroccan first marriage rites, this is again an attempt to address identity through manipulating the body.  In this rite, even though the henna eventually comes off, the bride must remain quite still for many hours during the application and then is completely dependent on the help of others, and some anthropologists have suggested that this functions to help ease the transition of the bride into the hyper-restricted domestic sphere of Moroccan life as a woman.

What makes tattoos less threatening than circumcision or henna applied to the body of the bride to our mind in our culture really ought to be the fact that the first two address transmission of identity by manipulating the bodies of others, while tattoos in our culture are individual choices expressing one's own identity by engraving it on one's own body.

So I guess tattoos don't bother me.
February 09, 2011
I'm completely with you here - I'm not sure why anyone would deface their own bodies in this way. I think many people don't understand the meaning of "permanent" when it's on their own skin. While I support the right of anyone to do whatever they want to themselves, the consequences are exactly as you describe.

My vote in this category goes to you! **Click**
January 04, 2011
Personally I've no passion for this "artform" either!
May 20, 2010
This is indeed an interesting topic. Tattoos in many cultures come from initiation rites. Nowadays people get tattoos for other reasons. I chose to have a tattoo at 50 to mark my midpoint, celebrate my new book, and have a reminder of the three phases of the goddess on my forearms. having my own business I hardly worry about what potential clients think about my tattoo and feel that if someone does not hire me because of it it is someone i probably don't want to work with anyhow. In the end people have a right to decor their bodies anywhere they want and be aware that a face tattoo might not be appropriate for certain jobs for sure. Consciously or unconsciously a tattoo is a rite of passage and it will catch up with you eventually if you have not had clear intentions when you started. Those are the people who regret. For em i am looking forward to aging with my tattoo to remind me of a marvelous time in my life and who I ultimately serve. I agree with lyssachutt, "I'm pretty saddened by ANY scenario where people are judged based on their superficial appearance. " Things are changing rapidly in the 60s you could not get a job if your hair was long, and that changed, this is also bound to change and acceptance is the ultimate solution.
May 20, 2010
Very thought provoking topic! I wish I were versed enough to author the opposing view, because I know there are a ton of valid points to be raised on the other side of this issue. I personally have one tattoo, a very small one on my wrist, which doesn't seem to have impeded my professional progress nor ability to be a contributing member of society and a good mother. It's of my husband's first initial - to which my father (who strongly shares your view of tattoos) said, what if you ever got divorced? I laughed at that idea and said... well, then I have WAY bigger problems than an A on my wrist, don't I? My husband has a full sleeve of tattoo art on his arm, in addition to a few other small and more hidden pieces. In his case, I find several things to make a lot of sense -- and to be very different from how many people choose to get tattooed. For one, he personally drew all of the illustration, and it's infused with a LOT of meaning, which I find much more compelling than choosing some crummy piece of stock art off of a seedy tattoo parlor wall. Second point would be that body art is totally acceptable in his professional industry. Also, he got the tattoo done in his mid-30's, which I think significantly lessens the likelihood of regret. Now, would I be ok with an over the top face tattoo, as you've pictured here? Absolutetly not. However, I'd try not to judge that person's integrity, intelligence, or heart based on that choice. My brother in law has started to dabble in dong tattoo work, and has several of his own. With regard to cover ups, he always says that would be like trying to erase part of your personal history, and that he owns each choice and statement he's made in that medium. He's an artist as well, so that surely factors into his perspective. In any case, I'm pretty saddened by ANY scenario where people are judged based on their superficial appearance. Whether that's things they can control like hair, clothing, or tattoos, or things they cannot control like the color of their skin. Clearly, many of the most despicable and loathsome people you may ever encounter are tattoo-free, and likewise there are some amazing, brilliant, and highly valuable members of society who've chosen this creative form of self expression. Ultimately, if it's not on my body, it's not really my business, in my opinion.
May 20, 2010
Thanks for your very thoughtful rebuttal of my review. Perhaps some of the photos I used are a bit over the top but I wanted to make my points in as many ways as I could. The point of my review was to help people who might be contemplating a tattoo to think it through completely before making any decision. You have expressed the flip side of the argument very well and I thank you for that.
May 20, 2010
You're very welcome - and thanks for raising the issue! I really respect how you often pose a topic for discussion in the interest of opening up a thoughtful debate. It's the most interesting type of conversation to have, imo, and really makes us all question our beliefs -- which I think only makes us smarter and more understanding of contrasting points of view. I think there's hardly ever a subject where there's only value to one side -- always something to learn from the opposite perspective!
May 20, 2010
Number One Son is a Marine. We were quite worried about him getting a tattoo, until he showed us several items from the Marine Corps. They are cracking down on excessive tattoo's. Further, there are several jobs within the Corps, two of which he is very interested in, that take a very dim view of tattoos. I do not think that he will be getting any ink. Finally, knowing several other Marines, people with tattoos, they wish that they had not gotten them - their ability to move ahead or into other areas, within and outside of the Corps, are diminished. All I hear from those Marines is regret. Thanks for sharing your view.
May 20, 2010
Thanks for sharing your insight in this very thoughtful review, drifter.  While I don't feel as passionately about tattoos as you do, I do see where you're coming from and ponder a bit about the same things about tattoos as you do, like what it will look like decades from now, or how it will affect employment, etc.  I have quite a few friends who have big, bold and very visible tattoos, and sometimes after listening to their explanations of why they got them, I actually feel a sense of admiration for them for being able to be so passionate about something that they could get it permanently inked onto their body. 

How tattoos affect employment really depends on the field and the location of the job.  For example, a bunch of my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area work in the tech industry, which doesn't really seem to care about visible tattoos or piercings.  One of these friends ended up taking up work in Japan, where they're more strict about this type of thing in the work place and he ended up taking out his facial piercings and wearing a watch to cover up his wrist tattoo.  As far as the way they look, I've seen some really bad "what were you thinking?" tattoos, as well as some really gorgeous ones.  Tattoos, however, are not for me, at least for now, and I choose to find other ways to express myself.
More Tattoos reviews
review by . June 26, 2010
posted in That's Beat
Many people think tattoos are fun or cool. They are actually neither. I am not judging anyone that has tattoos, believe me, I have considered it a time or two. I am thankful that I have never done it. I have enough scars to prove that I have lived, they were earned.   Let's start with the basic physical problem of tattoos. When you cut open your skin you are damaging the largest organ on your body that protects your insides. A variety of dangerous bacteria lives on top of your skin, …
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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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A tattoo is a marking made by inserting dark, indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin  to change the pigment for decorative or other reasons. Tattoos on humans are a type of decorative body modification, while tattoos on animals are most commonly used for identification or branding. The term "tattoo" or from Tahiti, "Tatau" is first referenced by Joseph Banks, the naturalist aboard Cook's ship the "Endeavour" in 1769 where he mentions it in his journal. To paraphrase. he states, "I shall now mention the way they mark themselves indelibly, each of them is so marked by their humor or disposition".

Tattooing has been practised for centuries worldwide. The Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan, traditionally wore facial tattoos. Today one can find Berbers of Tamazgha (North Africa), Māori of New Zealand, Arabic people in East-Turkey and Atayal of Taiwan with facial tattoos. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples and among certain tribal groups in the Taiwan, Philippines, Borneo, Mentawai Islands, Africa, North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, Japan, Cambodia, New Zealand and Micronesia. Despite some taboos surrounding tattooing, the art continues to be popular in many parts of the world.

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