A tattoo is a design made under the skin with ink or other pigment. Usually decorative or symbolic. It’s a type of body modification.
Tattoo has an intimate identitary value if it is placed in aquiet place where it is usually hidden by clothes. They are hidden by modesty and are only showed to peole one do trust. But it can be exposed in places of leisure loke swimmingpools, sport activities, beach. In this case it is seen as a seduction tool. The tattooed persons perfectly know the social rites of interaction and they often understand the need not to show their body marks. They learn to adapt constantly to circumstencies, to dress diffenrently, to hidde or show their marks according to their decision and what they chose to show of themselves. Sometimes the negative judgment comes from the other tattooees who think that their friends go to far into provocation. For exemple they think it’s normal that their friends wear lonsleeves when they look for a job. We could think this is a way not to assume their tattoo, but those individuals consider their tattoos as personal elements and so are not suitable to be shown to everyone. Further more the tattooed persons of our modern society respect easily the social normes, so they adapt themselves to them in some places like working places. After they can chose to show them in night clubs or when they go out with friends.
Some rare others rebel against the politically correct of the appearence and refuses to bend because of the others think. It is possible that this attitude provoks a reject from the population not used to see tattooed person in the administration and shops and consider them as marginals. To force the way of body marks into the norm is not usefull as the new generations don’t reject them.
Ttattoos on the face are volountary stigmatas. In the history of tattoo we see that the sailors that pretended they were former hostages tattooed by force always avoided to tattoo their faces so they could keep a social life. Nowadays this type of tattoo that one can see at fisrt sight is a stigmata and a barrier against the interaction with the others. Tattoo mike remembers how his lifes has changed afters it got his face tattooed: “it changed everything, with my hand tatooed i still could do things. With my face tattooed it wasn’t the same. I was definitly a marked man. Most of the time i liked it but it was hard to find a job”. This kind of experience maybe a way to put one’s star toward himself but it enclos the individual in the superficial look of the others. They gonna judge him and the possibility of intreraction are limited. In fact society don’t accept radical changes that prevent the individuals to recognize each other and so get accepted.
The vision of tattoo is still a little scary for the case like the last one. But tattoo is more andmore accepted.
Tattoo as new rite
Does tattoo makes you different only on the appearance side? As every indentitary symbol to mark one skin behold a strong ritual connotation. In a lot of human society the body marks were associated with tribal rites at different moment of life or were linked to precise social meaning. Tattoo got an identitary value that links man and it’s flesh to a social system and the world that surrounds him. in some societies it precises the social and religious status. It can informs on a clan a class of agein the community and the place of the individual that bears it. In ethnological studies nine functions has been defined: symbole of survival in the after life, sign of divine origin, reference to a totem, symbole link to a major step (marriag), memebership to a clan, a tribe, sign of social rank, number of enemy killed, mourning, protection. Most of the time those symboles got a social value of insertion. For exemple at samoa a boy who wasn’t tattooed was considered as minor and couldn’t get married nore speak in public. Here Man get out of it’s animality by an appropriation of it’s body via tattoo. In this societies the mark make symbolically man access to culture. In the 1960’s in california teenagers from mexican origin , pacuchos, used tattooas a sign of membership to a group. The cross surrounded by stars near the thumb is earned after personal tests. Tattoo is made meaning the entry of the new candidant in the gang. The young boy is feared thanks to an alliance with the gang wich portect him.
It’s also to join agroup that Laure would tattoo herself during adolescence “i was 13 and i hanged out with a gang all older than me, they were tattooed by profesional tattooists or would tattoo themselves. I asked them how they did it. They told me it was made with needles and china ink. It’s very long and very painfull and the result is very ugluy!”. Home made tattoos are often an identitary revendication. An analogy can be made with rites of the traditional societies and teh tests that the youngster impose on each other through symbolic games on their skin. But the major diference is that the eldest don’t participate they have nothing to do with the transmission of the culture. Nowadays body modifications are individualizing; they are worn as an affirmation individuality.
In our modern societies body marks are made for themselves, it’s a personal decision that doesn’t change the social status of the person. It is because the modern societies are individualists and says that the body is a personal property that such modification are possible. The use of tattoo is so a rite. The tattoo worn modify the vision of the peole on themselves and their state of mind. The test of the mark gives a concret memory to a feeling, the one of accessing a new “self”. For numerous youngster tattoo is a way to singularize and to sign one’s presence to the world. And this signature is durable it never change, it always wit h one like a symbole of stability. It’s the will for one to chose onself.
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