Permanent creative and artistic expression on your body. Undying symbolism repping major life events, places traveled, or loved ones passed.
Or just a cool looking old school Heinz ketchup bottle (cough Ed Sheeran, cough).
Either way, you or someone you know is probably rocking some body ink.
According to one recent survey, 3 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo, up 50% in just four years.
That’s over 90 million people just in this country.
This isn’t highlighting some new phenomenon sweeping the world. Tattoos are one of the oldest known art forms, showing up in the archaeological record over 5,000 years ago.
Historical trends of body art are extremely fascinating and vary wildly.
In many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Nubians, Sycthians, and Thracians, tattoos were a sign of nobility, wealth and status.
In Greek and Roman culture, tattoos were seen as a mark of punishment or shame and only found on citizens of the lowest rank.
David McComb, the author of 100 Years of Tattoos, said:
“Tattoos have always gone in and out of fashion throughout history. The best example is that back in the early 1900s there was a craze in high society for tattoos. Famously, Winston Churchill’s mother had a snake tattooed around her wrist. Literally, within about five years it had gone completely out of fashion again.”
There’s a nice bit of trivia for ya.
But where does our society stand on body art these days?
Did your mom tell you not to get inked up because you wouldn’t be able to get a job?
The evidence these days disagrees with mom.
Is our cultural outlook on ink changing because we are becoming a more accepting, creative, and overall expressive species?
That sounds super rad to me.
Maybe our fascination with this particular form of self expression will fade in a few years, maybe not.
Either way, people from all walks of life, from 18 year old punk rockers to doctors and judges, are putting stigma aside and expressing themselves more freely and openly.
And that makes us really freakin’ happy.
Know someone who’s tatted up? Share this with them!