ByÂ Mahitha Kasireddi:
Barack Obama and Michelle have known to discipline their daughters in order to keep them away from getting tattoos by warning them that even the couple would get tattoos on their faces and it would go on YouTube. Some have appreciated this as a mark of good parenting and others sympathize with the two girls.
The growing popularity of tattooing has triggered arguments and observations such as judging tattoos verses judging tattooed people. I have no idea about the different designs and what they symbolise, but it is interesting to see how intriguing people get when they come across someone who’s totally draped himself/herself with ink.
On asking why do people get tattoos, the opinions that you come across are of those who bear preconceived notions in mind and are actually confused with the contemporary culture. But, if you ask me, I’d say if it is a culture it has to be respected. Expressing this confusion turns into holding tattooed people in scorn in societal circles.
A stereotype that getting something done externally is for attention will never fade. But, what also remains true is that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Opinionists label tattooed people as shouting personalities, showing off what they are or prejudiced to be suffering an underlying psychological issues (keeping in mind the amount pain involved in the process), doing drugs, unhygienic, hipster, ill-mannered, often engage in nocturnal activities, no steady career etc. Some term it as desperation for making an identity which wasn’t there among the youth about two decades ago. Writing attitude statements and different quotations on the skin is seen like wearing your facebook status. These people are often treated in a hostile manner and mainly face discrimination while looking for job opportunities. Girls face a never ending scrutiny for this, confronting moral judgement and prejudices against character and considered very active sexually. To put it straight, almost treated as second class citizens. These judgments might be true to certain extent but, if someone wants to get a tattoo, it is plainly his/her choice. Everyone is rightfully entitled to make such a personal choice and should be respected for that.
Why do people get tattoos? The answer to this would be several reasons and sometimes there might not be any. It is just the love for art that drives one into getting it done. While scars on your body have a story to tell it’s the same with tattoos. People get them drawn as a memoir of an event or a visited place or as a respect for a lost love. The tattoo shall work as a trigger for people to get back to times and think of a past happening. Religious minded people get a ‘cross’ or an ‘om’ done to express their beliefs. There are exclusive tattoos which tell that a person was in military or navy, sporting one would be such a pride. Some also might get them in a whim. It is more of a conglomeration of art, culture and emotion.
Medical experts lately have been advocated at large about the skin ailments due to the ink and also the cost and pressure in a prolonged procedure to undo a permanent professional tattoo. In the beginning, the side effects were attributed to the practices of tattoo artists but this is just to a negligible extent. After investigation it was found that a bacteria makes way in to the ink during manufacturing it. The ink sinks in to the layers of the skin specially the epidermis which leads to rashes and cancer in serious cases. Though the practitioners sterilized the needles and other equipment after use they use un-sterilized water to dilute the ink, this may also be a reason.
In order get a tattoo removed laser treatment seems the only way which is also costly. For a professional tattoo which has a lot of ink filled in the skin, it would require around 15-20 sessions with each session costing really high. The process requires a lot of patience after which you cannot expect the ink to wash out totally but might just fade away leaving behind a light impression of it. After all the skin is skin, cannot be a canvas.
All this can be avoided by being careful while purchasing the ink, possible natural dyes, and going to only licensed professionals. It requires a great deal of commitment to get a permanent one as it has to worn for a life time. Never get one unless you are sure you want it. Putting aside dealing with criticism, getting a tattoo in a whim will cost a lot if you grow up to regret it later on.