This post is part of Not Your Average Week, a TNGG Theme Week.
Roughly 40 percent of United States citizens between 18 and 25 years old have a tattoo. That’s a high percentage of the millennial generation – and it certainly explains the swarm of hipsters on the L train with giant falcons on their chests and earlobes stretched down to their chins.
This isn’t a smear piece on body mods, please understand. While it can be disconcerting to see a chick walking down the sidewalk with a full garden inked on her forehead, painting or piercing yourself is a matter of personal choice. Ashley L., from Portville, NY, says that tattoos and piercings can say things about a person that words can’t. “I feel that I was born with a blank canvas and to not take the opportunity to decorate that canvas would be silly,” she explains.
But most believe there is a line in body modification between the acceptable and the obscene, even within the body mod fanbase. There’s no real division. Compare it to how much a person talks: There are quiet pushovers, and then there are the outgoing jabberers who will yak your ear off if you listen long enough. Such is the case with tattoos. Some people have a little design; hushed up and hidden, but it’s there. Others have grand, in-your-face designs; and while they’re annoying, we can’t help that these tattoos are an expression of who these people are.
The same can be said for piercings. How many people do we know with piercings? It’s common for people to have a little stud in their ear, as it’s become a staple of fashion over decades. Some people go for a little ball in their tongue or a ring in their nose or bellybutton. While it’s unconventional by social standards, it’s not enough to be totally startling. Only when someone slinks through the hall with their stretched ears jangling from all the hoops hanging from it does that person’s body make a powerful anti-social statement; whatever that statement may be.
Although many civilians will be self-righteous in denouncing tattoos and piercings for “making eyesores out of bodies,” we grow up in a society where body modification is quite prevalent. Botox and liposuction are body mods, but in a different way. People unnaturally “fix up” their bodies by having surgeons remove fat or wrinkles and make themselves look exactly the way they want to look until they come out looking brand new. These are the same people who see a kid with an eagle tattoo on his arm, and they cry, “Golly, what a disgrace! How could someone destroy their God-given frame with such a horrible thing as a tattoo?”
To conclude, tattoos and piercings can be interesting on a person. They provide other angles to one’s personality – angles that cannot be expressed in words. It’s best to grin and bear the pierced-up gal on the Metro instead of trying to call her wrong.
And if you want to express yourself but don’t want to go under the needle, don’t worry. Just go by a child’s birthday party and steal all of the goodie bags. Chances are you’ll find some temporary My Little Pony or Spiderman tattoos. They’re not the same, but at least they’re accepted by society. So they’ll do.