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Why Do People Get Tattoos?

There are countless reasons why people would go in for tattoos. First of all, let’s go back to its origins. Tattooing takes its name from the Polynesian word “tatau” [Marquesan tatu meaning “to mark the skin” or Tahitian ta tau, from “ta” meaning “to incise”]. Originally, it was a mark of social status with a precise meaning (prowess in combat, rank in relation to the concept of mana, family lineage or even profession). Although tattoos have existed in all four corners of the globe, they were only preserved as a practice in certain parts of the world in the 19th century, the era of European exploration and colonization, which explains their fascination: a source of both fear and contempt on the part of Westerners (who equated them with savagery, while at the same time dreading their wearers). In fact, tattoos were banned in an effort to promote “civilization”.

Why The Current Craze?

If tattooing is popular today, it’s because a number of barriers have been broken down. In the past, it was associated with the underworld and people of ill repute. Nor was hygiene guaranteed, so there was a real risk. Recently, tattooing has become more widespread, as it is unconsciously associated with a tough, rebellious world. Tattooing remains a visible marker of anti-conformism at a time when it is becoming almost the norm for certain age groups. Health problems have been erased, and tattoos give people a darker image at lower cost.

Buying Street Credibility

As mentioned above, a tattoo is both an honorific and the fruit of a feat or merit, rather like a medal. In fact, it’s still seen as such in gangs from South America to Russia. Every narco-trafficker’s tattoo has often been earned through sweat, blood and tears. As a result, the tattoo loses any sense of honor or darkness it may once have had.

The Surface To Avoid Working The Bottom

What’s easier? Buying a flag or learning a nation’s culture and language to express nationalism? Of course, the act of buying is always easier. The massification of tattooing is simply symptomatic of a commodification that doesn’t speak its name, just as the sale of national soccer shirts can hide people’s ignorance of their history, language and culture. The tattoo is supposed to be the medal of courage and rebellion, not a substitute for it. Yet today, people want shortcuts: to avoid enduring the efforts, suffering and struggles of transformation. They think that by buying a tattoo, they can directly achieve this change. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it will only serve to discredit this mode of dermal expression. Commercializing the sacred or prestige (e.g., allowing the bourgeoisie to dress like nobles, or buying God’s favor through indulgences, etc.) ultimately leads only to its own destruction.

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