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BOUCHER: Tattoo stigma shifting

As a kid growing up in the early 2000s, the stigma associated with tattooed people always seemed to ring true. In011_BOUCHER_NOAH pop culture and cartoons, tattoos represented the tough, deviant and sometimes villainous.

Even when my class watched The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in grade school, the antagonist “Injun Joe”, was replaced with “Tattoo Joe”.

My parents never forbade me from getting a tattoo when I got older; however, they were always quick to point out the downsides of getting one. “You’ll be less likely to get hired,” they said. “You’ll regret them when you get older.”

So what happened? Today, tattoos can be found on the young, the old, male, female, and all economic backgrounds and professions, even if not always visible.

About 73 percent of people get their first tattoo between 18 and 22 years of age, and an estimated 40 percent of Millennials have a tattoo, according to a Pew Research Center report.

While many companies in the past have banned employees from having visible tattoos, and making workers wear long sleeves and conveniently placed bandages to cover them, (who are they fooling, anyway?) companies such as Starbucks and many local government agencies have lifted such bans.

Despite many young people being raised thinking tattoos were reserved for bikers and sailors, it has now become a cultural norm, to the point where a number of Rockhurst teachers have them.

 

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