Essay on Body Modifications: Tattoos

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Body modifications, with the focus of tattoos, have existed in our society for centuries and the way in which it is perceived has changed somewhat over the years, yet certain dishonors still remain our modern day. Like most body modifications, tattoos are an often misunderstood form of body modification. Despite the stigmas, tattoos have become a unique object of desire to endless diverse groups of people. But are the popular assumptions of tattoos out of sync with the true meaning behind them? Further explanation and exploration of the history will reveal the social and cultural practices of tattooing and the causal connection between the mind and the tattooed body, in addition to providing answers as to why tattoos stimulate uneasiness …show more content…

Their marked bodies would then serve as an agent of the state, expressing their social role and plays as a reminder of the state’s power over the public (Caplan, 2000). Criminals would have their crime or the name of their ruler permanently engraved into their skin, while slaves would have either their master’s name or the title ‘slave’ etched into their skin. These markings would serve as permanent imprisonment, for their bodies would always act as their second prison, establishing their place in the world and their future relations with others. The tattooing of criminals sustained through the Middle Ages and spread across Europe, making the social practice of marking bodies go hand-in-hand with delinquency, deviance and social outcasts. The practice of marking bodies was later used during the colonization projects in Africa and Asia, and like the branding of criminals, it was used as a means to exert ownership and power over the locals (Fisher, 2002). With such a dark history, how then did the act of tattooing become intended and commoditized? The trend of tattooing was first observed in the late 1700’s - sailors during that time returned home sporting tattoos from overseas to celebrate their expeditions (Fisher, 2002). However, this act of voluntary tattooing was more prominently recognized in the American Civil War, where soldiers gradually began tattooing their allegiances and military symbols on their bodies (Caplan, 2000).

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