The fact that we struggle to think of someone who DOESN’T have a tattoo should speak volumes about tattoo’s arrival as a norm. I reject stating that tattoos are “accepted,” because individuals (even those who are branded with ink themselves) still frequently articulate the stigmas of this body art in mainstream culture.
At the end of the day, tattoos are everywhere. I truly don’t think I’ve seen a girl reach for something WITHOUT revealing an inkling of her dainty “tramp stamp.” And, that’s the truth!
So, why am I talking about tattoos and tramp stamps? Have a little faith in me – I AM going somewhere with this. The way we present ourselves in everyday life is our own attempt at self-marketing:
This is me! This is WHO I am and how I CHOOSE to be understood.
Is it really any different than the way a business markets itself or, even closer to my expertise, a web design?
In my college thesis, I analyzed social media and how we, as individuals, frame ourselves in very specific manners to socially “construct” the “self.” I have shed light previously about this topic, but wish to explore it further in terms of tattoos – juxtaposed to my favorite and yours:
The homepage design!
Skin As Homepage
I often refer to my tattoos as “my second skin.” It’s gotten to the point where I truly don’t see the tattoos while looking in the mirror anymore. That’s not to say that I don’t still possess pride and happiness from their existence on my body, but they are simply an extension of me!
Why do you have to go and mutilate your body like that?
Those words have left my father’s mouth EACH & EVERY time I get a tattoo. Unfortunately, my father is of the “I don’t understand tattoos” persuasion. If he could simply imagine tattoos for their role as art, character, and branding (LITERALLY & FIGURATIVELY), he might not be uttering this question every single time.
It was then that it struck me!!!!!!!!!!
Our skin, or our tattoos, are like the “homepages” of our bodies. We carefully construct an aesthetic that represents our brand, in a unique and desirable (or sometimes not so desirable) fashion.
Since these tattoos are the faces of our brand, we must construct an identity that suits us well. Still not clear about what I mean? Well, there’s a reason that the burly ex-con has a “three tear mark” tattoo on his upper cheek. There’s also a reason that the vapid 16-year old girl has a butterfly on the small of her lower back. Tattoos help create and instill identities based on carved out niches in our culture:
The bad boy vs. the girly girl
We construct our niche identities through clothing, hairstyles, socio-economic statuses, friendships, and a great deal of other factors. Why are tattoos any different?
In the world of web design, designers make a living out of constructing, marketing, and branding a business. Ya know that all-too-familiar website called “Facebook?” Well, that identity didn’t spring from the heavens above. A little seed (a very GENIUS, multi-billion dollar seed) was planted in the head of Mark Zuckerberg (or the Winklevoss’ – your pick!) and became a household name.
The tattoo artists are truly no different than the web designers branding an iconic logo. Consider the likes of celebrities and their respective tattoos. I’m sure you can seemingly conjure up the Arabic text on the back of Angelina Jolie’s bony shoulder or the hideous facial stamp on Mike Tyson.
Case in point.