Tats for Teens
By Savannah Perry, Clarion staff
What is it about needle on skin that draws teenagers to mark up their bodies with everlasting images or declarations of love? Is it an overdrive of rebellion? Is it a way to stick out from the crowd and distinguish yourself from others when finding your place in society? Is it a stupid last minute decision that will leave you with an equally stupid memory of that moment on your body forever?
Perhaps it is all of the above. I think that having such a design on your body eludes to a type of mystery that attracts everyone. Tattoos roughen your personal image and give you an almost too-cool-for-school quality that is desired by everyone in some shape or form.
When asked about the attractiveness of a tattoo, Matthew Allin replied, “It expresses a key idea or feeling on your body, it’s a piece of art you get to wear everyday, you can physically express yourself without words.”
Similarly, Maya Vargas said, “Having a tattoo allows people to express their minds, beliefs, and superstitions that is in a way eternal and there is something poetic about that.” I would agree that it is a type of poetry. To ink yourself up with phrases and names that will “live forever” long after you die is poetic. Its a last stand of sorts since the idea is that whatever you are putting on cannot be taken off and therefore must always be acknowledged.
Supporting this, Billy T. Hernandez agreed that the purpose of a tattoo is, “To give people a way to know who [you are] at a glance. Your physical appearance doesn’t always show who you are, but a tattoo can show exactly what you want it to.”
Most of the time, the point of a tattoo is to be seen. We want people to acknowledge us and tattoos are a way to ask for that kind of acceptance. Its more of a “take me or leave me” type of situation. Johnathon Hicke-Fox says, “Just having something permanent that you love is cool. Shows your dedication to what you love you know?” That is the ultimate thrill ride for teenagers: to put our own stamps on ourselves that prove our dedication and our maturity. Self-expression is high in teenagers, which makes tattoos the prime target as a form of release for pent up emotions and desires.
Overall, I think the main reason why tattoos hold such appeal is because they are edgy, dangerous, and cool. Personally, I view tattoos as a time-line. Even the stupid tattoos mark a specific time in your life that get to be documented on your skin, and that is where the appeal lies for me. There is no forgetting what you cannot wash off. Overall, tattoos are for teens. They are for everyone. Power to self expression.