It’s time for our generation to ink a new history

For thousands of years, cultures around the world used body art to signify power, beauty, and celebrate spirituality. However, when European cultures first encountered body art, they associated tattoos and piercings as practices of tribal savages, not recognizing the powerful significance they held. 

This standard still affects our generation, placing an unreasonable stigma on tattoos and piercings. It’s time to abolish this standard and all that it stands for. Our society needs to accept that body art is a meaningful way to express identity and individuality.

Body art originated from ancient tribal cultures, emerging in locations such as North America, Asia, Polynesia, Africa, the Amazon, and New Zealand, according to Tribu Tattoo London, a branch of a popular UK tattoo company. To these cultures, tattoos and piercings symbolized power and beauty and served religious, medical, and protection purposes. Rahul Rao, in his studies for Modul Vienna University, stated that “different types of tattoos were used by these tribes to denote royalty, warriors and even slaves. Their practices of tattooing of slaves in a specific way made a big negative impression in the minds of the Europeans.” 

This connection set a standard in place that is still affecting people today. “Savage” morphed to “uncivilized,” to “low class,” to “trashy.” Although the language changed to more modern terms, the idea is the same.

This standard, poisoned by racist stereotypes, needs to go. It is unreasonable that there’s such a stigma behind body art; it’s just another way for people to celebrate their individuality and identity. 

Body art could commemorate an important figure in a person’s life. It could remind them of a nostalgic experience, depict something important to them, or celebrate an aspect of their personality. Tattoos and piercings have more meaning than just being ink or metal. 

The stigma behind tattoos and piercings has overstayed its welcome in society. It’s time for our generation to ink a new tattoo on the arm of history.