Tattoo or Taboo? College students change the tattoo stigma

College students change the tattoo stigma


Aubrie Selsmeyer / The Advance Titan – Aubrie Selsmeyer gets a tattoo of heart-shaped balloons by artist Raesha Nordwig, owner of Blush LLC tattoo and piercing shop.

Aubrie Selsmeyer, Opinion Editor

College is a new taste of freedom for everyone, whether that freedom is exercised by eating Kraft Mac & Cheese cups at 2 in the morning or getting a tattoo. Tattoos have always been a way to express yourself, but the stigma is changing. In earlier generations, tattoos were associated with drugs, sex and crime, but now it seems they’re becoming appreciated for what they truly are – art. 

This isn’t to say that everyone has hopped on the bandwagon. There will always be sticklers with strong opinions of what people choose to have inked on their skin. But for the most part, tattoos are becoming universal. It has become normal to see people walk around flaunting their arms decorated with ink.

Tattoos are no longer linked with deviance, and many workplaces don’t taboo their employees having tattoos as much as they once did. A lot of the progress surrounding the de-stigmatization of tattoos can be accredited to the media.

The media fosters an environment more accepting of people with tattoos thanks to celebrities and influencers who break down these barriers for others to follow.

 In a study reported by YPulse, “nearly half (46%) of young people older than 18 have tattoos.” 

Not only have tattoos become more accepted among young people, different styles of tattoos have emerged that don’t follow the traditional image of crazy, colorful ink that many associate tattoos with. Fine line tattoos, or “micro tattoos,” are extremely popular and “as inconsequential as dyeing hair.” Fine line tattoos are often created using a single needle,  allowing the artist to tattoo smaller, more intricate designs than what a normal tattoo gun is capable of. 

These fine line tattoos are a lot of the time associated with what is called a “patchwork sleeve.” A patchwork sleeve is when the tattoos appear to be puzzle-pieced on in a random, yet orderly fashion. One of the best examples of a patchwork sleeve is Emma Chamberlain, a social media influencer who started on YouTube and has expanded beyond just that singular platform. 

I think that I may be biased seeing as I have a handful of tattoos of my own, but it has become clear to me since attending college that tattoos are breaking the mold they’ve been in for years. Tattoos are no longer frowned upon; they’re trendy and they’re art.