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Thursday, June 1, 2023


MOTS: What do your tattoos mean to you?

For some, it’s a form of expression, for others it’s art, but regardless of where you go in America the chances of running into a tattooed individual are high. 

Roughly 46 percent of Americans are tattooed, according to a survey from Dalia Research, which places the U.S. in third for most tattooed country behind Italy at 48 percent and Sweden at 47 percent.  

“I enjoy that, even though in the workplace it’s not always condoned,” said communication sciences and disorders sophomore Katrina Rymer, who has three tattoos. “As a general populace we are very supportive of getting a bunch of tattoos and expressing ourselves through art on our body.”

Additionally, the Dalia survey said that U.S. and Sweden both ranked No. 1 for most tattoos per person, with the median number of tattoos per individual being four. 

Psychology junior Jason Hankins has 14 tattoos alone. 

“I like to see tattoos becoming more normalized and just becoming more accepted,” Hankins said. “I work in the hospital and still get side-eyes, looks and comments from some people, but for the most part people are more accepting and it’s pretty cool.”

Hankins got his first tattoo in Las Vegas when he was only 14 and chose to get the Psalms 23:4 scripture on his inner arm.

“I feel that we need more tattooed people to show that we’re just normal people,” Hankins said. “We’re just normal.”

Rymer also plans to enter the medical field, and with that come problems for having tattoos. 

“I’m going to school to be a doctor,” Rymer said. “When I work in a hospital setting, I’m going to have to wear long sleeves for the rest of my life, because I have a tattoo on my wrist. And I’d like for that not to be a thing, but there’s a stigma.”

Despite the controversy surrounding tattoos in the workplace, Charles Harrell who is an Army veteran and a supply chain and logistics technology senior, said that not many employers complain about tattoos anymore. 

Harrell got his first tattoo in 2006 while he was stationed in Korea and has gotten two more tattoos since then. 

Like many other tattooed individuals, Eric Lopez,  a mechanical engineering senior who already has five tattoos, has plans to get even more. He said he has three designs lined up for when he has the time and money to get them done. 

“For me they’re pretty addicting,” Lopez said. “I don’t know why people would stop.”

While it may be addictive for some, for Tyler Henderson who has 11 tattoos, they are simply a form of visual expression. Henderson said tattoos are more like body art

“Before, it used to be something that was seen as something like, you were gangster or trashy,” said the strategic communications sophomore. “Now it’s just being seen as more of a way of expression, to add to your life something that’s meaningful to you and keep it around for the rest of your life.”

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