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The Social Implications of Tattoos in Western Society - Term Paper Example

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Tattoos have been under utilization for the purpose of decoration and art in several communities for hundreds and thousands of years now. In certain communities, these tattoos were indictors of prestige, high status, and in others, as the indication of one being a slave and a prisoner…
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The Social Implications of Tattoos in Western Society
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Download file to see previous pages For every society and for different kinds of people, the interpretation of this form of art has varied. In the past, certain tribes used tattooing as an indicator for the rites of passage whereby an individual used to hit the age of puberty and entered into adulthood. This form of art may also be associated to different forms of occupations and professions. The miners, welders, and people of such professions may be associated with tattooing. From a medical perspective, tattooing has been used in the process of radiotherapy and in the identification of the body parts that need extensive examination. Certain street gang members, criminals, and clubs have made use of tattooing to mark their membership. Tattoos may be helpful in the identification of a person and their body and displaying their unique lifestyle or any history associated. For instance, in the war veterans, there were distinct forms of tattoos, which could be identified. Some tattoos in the form of marihuana leaves, weed, and ecstasy can be indicators of the drug addicts. There has been a rise in the interest of Western people in the form of art and the acceptance given to this has generally increased as opposed to the taboos attached to it previously (Cains, pp. 192-220). Social Implications of Tattoos In the Western societies, the general idea associated with tattooing is that of rebellion. Throughout history, tattoos have played the role of symbols as an expression of rebellious attitude and deviancy. Body art has gradually reached the mainstream and it is still confronting the consideration as taboo in certain parts. Hence, the idea of getting permanent marks all over your body is something that is still unconventional and out of the odds. The person may be looked upon as one who has set out of the bounds of society and has broken all norms and values. This idea has been there for quite a while now and is changing slowly and gradually (Watkins, pp. 41-48). According to Steve Gilbert (pp. 30-51) in his book, “Tattoo History: A Source Book”, he suggests that the meaning of the word Tattoo is something, which is considered highly disgraceful and is a mark of disgust. In the Latin language, Tattoo means a stigma attached or something, used as a tool to cut out the flesh of someone who has performed an act of shame and has to confront punishment of being a deviant, criminal, adulterer, or outcast. The person’s body was marked by tattoos in order to highlight their act of shame and disgust. In certain parts of Great Britain, the adulterers were marked with the letter ‘D’ as a punishment for their acts (Watkins, 2001). By the late 1900s, tattoos were far from acceptance in the society and were beyond any bound of normality and civil life. The tattoos were traced back to the people in the circus who were better known as “freaks”. This form of art reached the United States by 1897 where it got associated with the sideshows at the circuses. This is how the popularity of tattooing started increasing and the practice became a part of the normal society. It is an observation that at certain points, there has been indication of linkage of tattoos with indecency, compared to symbols representing pornography, filth, and dirty images that violate the morality of the society. In the societies, which recognize nudity as an immoral act of dirt and indecency, obviously such body decorations of piercings and tattoos were in the same classifications. These acts were considered immoral even in places like Greece and Rome. The tattoos were known as “barbaric”, a line between the slaves, criminals, and outcasts from the normal people. The motive behind this was to distinguish and easily ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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