Tattoos. Form of expression or form of deviance?

Tattoos have been a form of expression throughout history. Society has associated tattoos with deviant behavior and with the gang culture. However, the tattoo culture did not form from gang members. As found in the website of Michigan State university, some state that tattoos have been found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dated from about 2000 B.C ( This illustrates that tattoos are ideas of groups that are permanently tattooed on the body. This can represent differential association, where members of this culture interact with one another, share ideas, and express their emotions and beliefs through the art of tattooing. People with tattoos have also fallen into the labeling theory, where some employers view tattoos as unprofessional and negative, thus stereotyping that those with tattoos may be gang related. Although some gang members do possess tattoos, at the end tattoos serve the purpose to express one’s beliefs, whether they are love, a gang, or family member names. The tattoo culture has begun to have members who are celebrities like Travis Barker and soccer player David Beckham, thus emphasizing that tattooing is simply a form of art.

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One thought on “Tattoos. Form of expression or form of deviance?

  1. It is unfortunate how something seen as a form of art by some, is seen by others as something negative. My grandma and other family members her age occasionally remind me that growing up in the 60’s in Mexico, tattoos were only for rebels and criminals. Now however, times have changed and you see people with tattoos everywhere. Fortunately, it is seemingly becoming more and more normalized as new generations grow. Just like tattoos can be used for bad symbols or ideas, it can be used for good and is seen as like you said, a way of sharing ideas or cultures. An individual having something on their skin should not influence the probability of them being hired or not. Tattoos not only show ones artistic decisions, but also show how something that was used a long time ago can be still be used today, but with a twist.

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