Tattoos becoming part of turning 18

By Mallory Stearns/ Eagle Post staff

One thing that newly 18-year-olds look forward to is getting a tattoo. Tattoos are for some a rite of passage, a meaningful remembrance, or a taste of freedom for new young adults.

Wynn Diels, senior, has a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. She got the tattoo in remembrance of her aunt who passed away. Butterflies were her favorite insect and she wanted to keep the presence close. In Wynn’s case, only one of her friends has a tattoo and she also says that she plans on possibly building onto her current tattoo in the future.

The big question is: are parents okay with their children getting tattoos? Diels’s mother was unaware of her tattoo until a month after.

Diels said, “She [her mother] said it was ultimately my decision.”

Emma Wilson, senior, also plans on getting a tattoo. Unlike Diels, Wilson’s her parents had a different opinion on her decision.

Wilson said, “Both my parents say, ‘Sure I don’t care.’”

Other parents are not so supportive with their children’s decision. Abby Hampton, a junior, said, “I would like to get one [a tattoo] right away, but my dad wouldn’t allow it, so I will get one when I leave the house.”

Parental view differs greatly. Some parents want to protect their kids from regretting their decision and others accept the fact that their children are not children anymore, and can do whatever they want to their body. Overall, the views depend on parents’ personal preference, yet people are more open to the idea today, then they were ten years ago.

Wilson wants to get the bass and treble musical clefs in the shape of a heart for her tattoo.

“Yes, I know when I’m 90 years old, I want to look in the mirror and say, ‘Yes I got that when I was 18 years old.’”

Both girls seem to be unaffected by their peers having tattoos, since barely any of their friends have any, and they both have known for a while what they want.

Wilson says that she has known since she was four years old because she said that “it looks cool.” Diels also knew in eighth grade that she wanted a tattoo.

Others get tattoos because they are a tradition in their family. In the Hampton family every cousin gets a four leaf clover tattoo. Hampton says that she will want this when she is older to remember the “glory days” and remain connected to her family.

On the other hand, some teenagers do not want a tattoo at all. Caleb Choate, senior, says that he does not ever plan on getting a tattoo.

“It would be on my body forever and I may not want that,” Choate said. “A tattoo may seem cool now, but in the long run it will only hurt you.”

Some teenagers look beyond the 18-year-old bliss and really weigh the consequences and effects of a tattoo.

Past the first few years of tattoo ecstasy, many people regret their decision later on. Today, many companies do not hire people with visible tattoos. If wanting to become a doctor or nurse, visible tattoos are not allowed. Visible tattoos are also usually not permitted for teachers. Depending on one’s boss and how prestigious one’s company is, people may not be able to have visible tattoos.

Tattoos can also have serious medical side effects. There is always a risk for infection when something is used to puncture the skin. Many tattoo parlors disinfect all their tools, yet there still is a great risk for infection. According to some people have gotten Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and AIDS from the not properly cleaned needles, not the tattoo itself. Ink poisoning is also a possibility when considering getting a tattoo. This can lead to scarring and the change in appearance of the tattoo. However, people who take great care of their tattoos can avoid this problem.

Pain also ties into the decision-making of getting a tattoo. People want to know how bad it hurts and if it is worth it. Diels said that the tattoo did not hurt as bad as she imagined. Wilson also said that it hurt but not unbearable pain. She said that it felt like a bunch of bees were stinging her. Both would agree that the pain was worth it for the end result.

“It makes me feel like I can make my own decisions and people can trust me with my decisions,” Wilson said.


Flickr Photos


January 2012
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