Tattoos’ personal significance is not only attributed to their symbolism but also their emergence as a means of self-expression. According to Sam Walker, “Tattoos are a great way of helping build self-confidence and acceptance toward one’s own body” (Montoya, 2022). Not only do they allow him to express the beauty of his body but also model him to love his skin and parts of his existence that do not conform to the acceptable social standards. This implies that he has used tattoos to express his confidence and queer sexual identity despite his identity being considered a deviant social norm. Furthermore, tattoos are significant means of expression as they allow people to memorialize special events in their lives. This includes allowing them to express and memorialize events such as their birthdays, anniversaries, or days they lost loved ones through body art and symbolic markings. Thus, tattoos have been instrumental in building or expressing self-acceptance and supporting the memorialization of events to shape the wellbeing and self-esteem of individuals (Montoya, 2022). It has also allowed people to use body art to challenge the existing stereotypes and inappropriate social norms that associate tattoos with impurity. As an avenue of self-expression, tattoos have allowed individuals to express their creativity in different contexts (Montoya, 2022). For example, different designs and features are integrated into tattoos and body art depending on the idea and story that one strives to convey. Thus, it has provided a creative way for people to showcase their skills, demonstrate their innovativeness, and express what is meaningful to them to others who understand or challenge the value of body arts.
Furthermore, the symbolic markings used in tattoos’ personal significance are evident in their depiction of one’s personality. Tattoos reveal significant aspects of one’s personality and shape how the individual interacts with others in mainstream society. For example, the type of tattoo designs on a person’s skin demonstrates their sense of self, risk-taking and thrill-seeking attributes, and individuality or openness (Joanne, 2022). This implies that tattoos are significant embodiments of a person’s personality and they have been instrumental in shaping the welfare of individuals. For example, tattoo designs that express individuality convey an extroverted personality as they reveal the person’s history, life journey, and important events to others (Joanne, 2022). This indicates that tattoo designs of individuality are positively correlated with extraversion as they outline the circumstances and events that have shaped a person. On the other hand, openness personality traits are positively correlated with the size of tattooed skin areas (Joanne, 2022). A larger tattooed skin area demonstrates a person’s openness and sense of self as it indicates that their expression and personality are not influenced by prevailing societal norms. It also depicts their commitment to body arts as an integral part of their existence as it supports their identity and aligns with their personal attributes. Thus, their use of tattoos to demonstrate their openness is not undermined by the stereotypes and links between tattoos and deviance. Finally, neurotic people have smaller portions of tattooed skin area than emotionally stable individuals (Joanne, 2022). This indicates that tattoos inform how people’s personality is judged as well as the perceptions that people develop towards them. It is assumed that people with tattoos exhibit negative personality traits, but those with tattoos consider them a visible expression of their personality regardless of the mixed opinions they generate.
Moreover, tattoos’ social significance is evident in their emergence as a form of acceptance. They have depicted women’s liberation as their acceptance has progressed in society and empowered women to take ownership of their bodies, including choosing body arts to express the beauty of their skins and the connection they develop with their bodies (Cory, 2023). For example, the intricate and creative designs of tattoos on women’s bodies demonstrate their commitment to breaking away from the societal norms that have limited their expression and ownership of their bodies. This indicates that tattoos are enhancing women’s confidence in their bodies and utilization of body art to express their perceptions of feminism and other societal norms due to the increasing social acceptance of tattoos. Similarly, tattoos are increasingly gaining acceptance in workplaces as employers view them as embodiments of creativity and individuality (Cory, 2023). Although they are not universally accepted in the workplace, various employers are tolerating tattoos and workplaces are redefining their policies to accommodate people with different forms of body arts. This implies that employers have abolished stereotypes that associated tattooed individuals with unprofessionalism and demonstrated that having visible tattoos does not impact employment chances. The acceptance of tattoos in the workplace demonstrates the transformation that body art has initiated in different contexts. Finally, tattoos are everywhere in contemporary society (Cory, 2023). Social media has supported the growing popularity of tattoos as more people are getting them and sharing them on various platforms. Thus, social media platforms have spearheaded the growing social acceptance of tattoos and inked or tattooed bodies are becoming popular content and images on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Additionally, tattoos are socially significant as they are being used to support various social causes. Tattoos are being used to raise awareness about body shaming and increase the acceptance of different bodies in mainstream societies. Thus, the tattoos on people’s bodies convey social awareness and allow people to challenge negative events that undermine acceptance in different cultures. Tattoos also exhibit the continuing struggle for liberation in many ways. For example, inked bodies or skin arts have emerged as models for encouraging the acceptance of tattooed people in different contexts. They have been used to champion the acknowledgment of tattooed individuals in cultures and different social and formal contexts. This implies that intricate and creative tattoo designs are being used to challenge the negative association between tattoos and impurity. These designs also demonstrate the growing struggle to abolish the stereotypes that link tattoos with social deviance and other negative behaviors in society. Tattoos have also been applied in supporting religious causes. For instance, tattoos, including symbols or quotes from sacred texts, aid meditation, protection, or luck and have been instrumental in conveying people’s spirituality and religious identities (Cory, 2023). This implies that tattoos have shaped the connection that people develop with their bodies and the social causes they support through ink and body art. For example, people are using tattoos to challenge restrictive societal norms and redefine the negative connotations of tattoos, including their association with risky behavior, criminality, or gangs in mainstream culture (Cory, 2023). Thus, tattoos have emerged as a new form of non-violent resistance tailored to promote acceptance of body arts and increase the recognition of tattooed individuals in mainstream culture, including workplaces and religious contexts. This has helped mitigate the stereotypes and ostracism of tattooed bodies.
Cory, E. (2023). Written on the Body: Tattoo Art as Bridgework in the Post-Migration Context. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 1-19.
Joanne, A. (2022). Do Tattoos Affect Personality? Fashion is Psychology. https://fashionispsychology.com/do-tattoos-affect-personality-psychology-behindtattoos/#:~:text=Extraversion%20positively%20correlated%20with%20the,area%20than%20emotionally%20stable%20participants.
Montoya, A. (2022). Two Tattoo Artists on the Importance of Tattoos as Self-Expression. The Daily Utah Chronicle. https://dailyutahchronicle.com/2022/10/18/hailey-malin-sam-walker-tattoos/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CTattoos%20are%20a%20great%20way,with%20societal%20standards%20of%20beauty.%E2%80%9D