People are often shocked to know that as a person in the progress of a sleeve, with ink on my fingers (like a gangster), on my neck and new one coming soon on my leg, that I’m not rough, mean or a rebel. And as tattoos become more and more apart of our culture, and people appreciating the art and meaning behind tattoos, has the way tattoos are viewed changed, or do people still think- ‘ergh!’ about tattoos?
I remember when I came back from the studio after getting my first tattoo (a sentimental one in honour of my uncle who died of Leukaemia in 2004) and I showed it to my mum- who was unaware I was getting one and she, a non tatted woman, thought it was beautiful. No one in my family has a tattoo, but the act of me getting a tattoo, spurred on a debate in my house for weeks on end. My mum, a creative and artistic person, thought it was beautiful and wasn’t mad, my mum’s partner and my Nan on the other hand, freaked out!
“You’ve ruined your life!”
“You’ve ruined your skin!”
“You’ll never get a decent job”were some of the dramatic declarations that resounded from the Walton household.
But its that latter one that gets me every time, because how can a piece of art on your skin determine whether or not you get a job? Okay if you had ‘fuck bitches get money’ across your forehead or some obscure head tattoos, yeah. But having a tattoo doesn’t equate to being rough, dangerous, untrustworthy and unsuitable for a job. Tattoos reflect you, you interests, your history, your story, your personality, and someone rejecting you from a job, even though you have all the right qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience, because of a tattoo is ridiculous.
I feel that there is now a big split divide. The people who love and admire tattoos, with or without tattoos and the ones that associate them with rebels. Back in the day, yeah it was a sure sign of rebellion, but so were Dr Martens, and nearly everyone has a least a pair of them- you need them in the UK, I can tell you that or you’d have permanently wet feet! We no longer need to rebel, to the extent people did in the past, because society has become much more accepting and welcoming of people from all walks of life.
There will always be things to rally and campaign against, but being able to be yourself is a privilege, we are all slowly being able to rejoice in.