The New Tattoo

Alanna Floreck, Staff Writer

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It seems that young people in our society have gone from asking each other “Would you ever permanently ink your body?” to “What tattoo do you want?”. As a whole, our society is progressively becoming extremely expressive and much of it is owed to the Millennials. As senior Lee Emmerich mentioned, “We are the generation that is born from the first ever generation to get lots of tattoos. Because of this, we have adults to look up to that have tattoos so we feel more comfortable with them.”

In terms of getting a job in client facing industries, visible tattoos have always been not only frowned upon, but widely known to very easily cost you your position no matter how well your interview went. Has this risk decreased in recent years considering ink popularity? Not necessarily, so one should be mindful of the placement in terms of visibility. Even a seemingly harmless symbol of a heart, unfortunately, could still be considered intimidating and somewhat careless and unprofessional to many. Losing the business of a client over something as silly as an employee’s appearance is still a concern to employers and not often a risk they are willing to take. Specific jobs that are more likely not to tolerate tattoos include contract management, waiter/waitressing, and large corporations in general. In more artistic fields of work, though, such as advertising, design, and music, employers are not likely to mind body art.

The world is only getting more complex, and at a very rapid pace, which means that we are moving away from tangible objects being used as records of the past and toward more digital documentation. In this case, one common view on tattoos is that it is vital in securing the identity of the person at that point in time. The importance of this would be that no matter how much someone changes, they are constantly reminded of what truly matters to them. This is all given that the word or image actually does have personal, valuable meaning. As one of few high school students to already have a tattoo, senior Lexie Vaillant shared, “I have ‘This too shall pass’ because it reminds me of my parents’ divorce, how everything was really horrible but my mom kept telling me ‘this too shall pass.’ It just reminds me that when everything sucks, eventually it won’t. I think that if you want a tattoo, just do it even if you’re worried about not liking it one day. If it means alot to you now, it will in the future too.”

Not every tattoo is a symbol or combination of words with a deeper meaning, many are simply aesthetically pleasing enough to someone that they have decided they want to see that image every day and show it off to others. Senior Genny Karlewicz has two floral tattoos and simply believes that “they’re a cool way to express yourself, and I got these designs because I think they’ll always be pretty to me and they’re feminine.” The people who draw tattoos as a career are, after all, titled “tattoo artists” and enjoy expressing the creativity they are capable of. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts even holds its own display of photographs of full-body tattoos. Many believe that the art can only truly be appreciated when seen alive on human skin, but it is a big step forward that the art world is beginning to recognize and appreciate their value and the effort put into them. And senior Grace Magee, in favor of this movement, stated, “There is no right or wrong when it comes to art.”

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