Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tatted Up: Could a good story be changing everything?

12:00 AM

By Kathryn Kelman
Social Media Editor

Leviticus 19:28 reads, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.”
Tattoos. The Bible is against them, and as a society, Americans have been unanimously against them for what seems like forever.
However, most people probably do not know President Theodore Roosevelt had a tattoo of his family crest or that our 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, also had a tattoo. Perhaps you knew President Dwight D. Eisenhower also sported some ink.
Tattoos date back to 3,000 BC but here in the States, they are frowned upon. You hear from your elders comments such as, “You won’t get a job with a tattoo!” or “You’re going to get old and it’s going to get ugly.”
It’s no secret that in the past many Americans have associated tattoos with crime, poverty and, of course, stupidity. However, it seems times are changing.
In this year’s Miss USA pageant, Miss Kansas, Sergeant Theresa Vail, became the first contestant to walk across the stage donning her tattoos. The reactions were mixed but were surprisingly positive. While most referred to Vail as a “true American,” a few folks stuck to their traditional values. Neal Boortz was one of them.
The former talk radio personality and the author of “Maybe I Should Shut Up” took to Twitter with his opinion.
“Sorry but those tats on Miss Kansas are ugly, no matter what the reason. Like spray-painted graffiti on a Porsche,” Boortz tweeted.
With America’s track record, it would be expected that most would share Boortz’ views, but the support Vail received showed society’s opinions of tattoos are changing.
Jackie Conway, freshman from Miltonvale, agrees but relents that times are not changing fast enough.
“The stigma is definitely changing with some people but not everyone. There’s still younger kids who don’t agree with tattoos,” she said.
Conway, who does not have any tattoos, went on to say, “They’re not bad, but if you get one across your forehead, you’re a moron. Plus you need to be careful because they can be addictive. My boyfriend’s brother has 20.”
Abby Phillips, freshman from Quenemo, agreed with Conway that tattoos can be addictive.
“I think it just depends because it’s like an art form. It’s how some people express themselves and that’s perfectly fine. Do what you do. Abby don’t hate,” Phillips said.
While the nursing students here at Bethel are required to cover up their ink, it seems most people are no longer phased by the presence of tattoos. When asked what they thought when they saw a person with tattoos, most students shared Phillips’ thoughts.
“I always wonder the reason behind it. Did you go through a personal pain? Was it just something you wanted and you went for it? I’m always interested in the stories behind them,” Phillips said.
Kimberley McLaughlin, freshman from Freemont, Calif., believes tattoos are becoming more acceptable and that a story or moment you want to remember forever is a good enough reason to permanently mark your body.
“It definitely is a factor in it, because people are talking to people with tattoos and finding out, like, that it’s not all about gang affiliation.  They’re more associated with the person and their life and their struggle,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin has a large tattoo on the back of her right shoulder. It’s a memorial tattoo for her father, who was a fallen officer.
For anyone who sees it and asks about it, it would be hard to tell her she shouldn’t have done that to herself.
McLaughlin, who’s first tattooing experience was extremely painful, said not even her mother could talk her out of it, nor could the artist who tried to stop when she nearly passed out from the pain.
Alex Kimmel, sophomore from Wichita, shares a similar significance with her own tattoo.
The quote on Kimmel’s left arm reads, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Her tattoo is a daily reminder of the struggles she’s faced and overcome in her past.
“I really struggled with depression and the quote just reminds me that I’m better than that and that I can keep going,” Kimmel said.
As a collective group, it’s clear that tattoos are trending amongst younger generations and as the older generations fade out, tattoos could quite possibly become a norm. It’s hard to find someone under the age of 30 who is dead set against tattoos.
What this means for the future of our society is we could  potentially start to see lawyers or perhaps even surgeons with their arms covered in tattoos. Or, maybe we will start to see more people like Neal Boortz comparing tattoos to putting “spray-painted graffiti on a Porsche.”



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