You would be hard pressed to find someone on campus who didn’t have at least one tattoo or didn’t know someone who did. We have more tattoos than any other generation before us, a trend only expected to continue. There has been a lot of research and numerous studies done on why our generation feels the need to decorate our skin, and it all comes down to trying to establish our identity in all of the chaos we see day to day. We have shifted the idea of a tattoo as a sign of a rebellion into an external symbol of our identity. For our parents’ generation, it was just a picture on your skin, but our generation wants more. It has become a way for us to express ourselves just the same as the clothes we wear or the music we listen to.
Over 40 percent of our generation has at least one tattoo (Pew Research Center), and most of that 40 percent has more than one. But just because we have tattoos doesn’t make us radicals, in fact, our generation puts a lot of thought into our tattoos. Flash tattoos just on the wall of the tattoo parlor used to be the popular road to take, but not for us. Our generation has even changed the level of art we expect in our tattoos. We want planned, detailed works of art to a degree that past generations never did. Even just small quotes have more thought and meaning behind them than ever before.
Our generation’s interest in tattoos has led to a shift in the idea that tattoos are a taboo, even in the workplace. With so many of us having tattoos and with that number increasing every day, it is hard for our tattoos to be held against us when competing for jobs. Seventy percent of those with ink get tattoos are small enough to hide from the boss and most of us think of our future employment when we are thinking of where to get our tattoos.
The idea of tattoos being permanent has been drilled into our heads by our parents, and for many of us we plan to look back at our tattoos as we age as reminders of the things we have been through in our lives. But if you do grow to regret your decision, the ability to remove tattoos has become easier for our generation compared to the past. While it is more costly than before (because of the increase in the number of people getting tattoos), and reportedly more painful than getting inked, it is almost instant and you can act like nothing ever happened.