Why are People Critical About Tattoos?

Francesca Pasto


A question I’ve been asking for a long time is why people are so critical about tattoos?


I watched a video a few days about ex-gang members whose bodies were covered in tattoos.

Some explained that they sometimes got strange looks from strangers while in public, and often others did not choose to sit next to them while on public transit. I wonder why this is. Those who discriminated against them certainly did not know for certain about their gang membership, although them may have assumed it by the tattoos.


Tattoos have always been against the dominant social norms of the time. The stereotype that gang members and criminals are more likely to have tattoos has become very strong within our society. But I think that this has changed somewhat in our generation.


Many now believe that wearing tattoos is a form of individuality and personal expression. I think we have to go beyond simple stereotypes in order to fully appreciate how tattoos can help us with self-expression. Tattoos sometimes remind us of those special times or events in our lives. These could be pleasant or unpleasant, but the tattoos are always there as a reminder that we managed to pull through and are now better for having had the experience.


The summer of my 18th birthday I went out to get myself a tattoo on my left shoulder. At first, I was very self-conscious about this and covered up the tattoo whenever possible. I was particularly careful around my parents as I wasn’t sure how they would react. Eventually I became more comfortable with showing my tattoo and those around me accepted it for what it is, an expression of my own individuality. I’m not a gang member, not a criminal, just a young person looking for my own place in the sun.


Originally Published at www.bandersnatch.ca