Tattoos As A Form Of Decoration And Communication

1666 WordsOct 29, 20157 Pages
There is a long list of cultures that utilised tattoos as a form of decoration and communication (Swami, 2011). That said, within some western societies, that historical connection to the tattoo is not that strong. However the art of tattooing has seen a steady growth of its popularity and acceptance, and since the early 1990s, that growth has accelerated dramatically (Caplan, 2000; Cash, 2011; DeMello, 2000; Swami, 2011). The current estimated incidence of tattooing amongst the populations of North America and Europe is approximately 25 percent (Laumann & Derick, 2006; Swami, 2011), with one researcher suggesting those rates could continue to increase to as much as 40 percent of the population (Anderson, 2006). Tattoos are no longer…show more content…
However, although tattoos are progressively seen as a prosocial rational method of communicating ones identity to others within their societal group and the wider society (Atkinson, 2003), research (e.g. Mun, Janigo & Johnson, 2012) is consistently highlighting the possibility that obtaining an tattoo can lead to changes in how tattoo wearers view themselves and their behaviour. Individuals with tattoos transform their skin in to a social billboard, expressing both explicit and implicit aspects of their identity (Atkinson, 2003), using or acquiring tattoos to communicate known attributes about themselves (Livesley & Bromley, 1973) or attributes that they do not possess but have a desire (Schouten & McAlexander, 1995). For example, riders of Harley Davidson motorcycles may view that brand’s attributes as consistent with their own (actual self) and therefore an individual may decide to acquire a tattoo which is linked to that brand (Schouten & McAlexander, 1995). On the other hand, an individual may aspire to be a Harley rider or aspire to link oneself to the traits of the Harley brand, and therefore an individual may obtain a Harley based tattoo to communicate an attribute of their ideal self (Schouten & McAlexander, 1995). Mun, Janigo and Johnson (2012) take that idea one step further by suggesting the only reason individuals desire specific tattoos is because
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