New thinking on inking

Cher has a butterfly tattooed on her butt cheek as a sign of freedom. Theodore Roosevelt had his family crest inked on his chest. My uncle, a retired captain, collected tattoos on his body to always remember the places he explored around the world.

Personal inscriptions on the skin is a form of art as old as humanity itself.

In 1992, when the remains of a 5,300-year-old Ötzi, “The Iceman,” was found in the Alps, more than 50 tattoos were discovered on his body.

Through time, different cultures from around the globe have used this method of expression, and still tattoos have long since been considered taboo in modern society.

The prejudices against tattoos still exist. Body ink has constantly been associated with a rough, rebellious crowd by older generations, no matter how mainstream tattoos become.

It would be fair to say that the popularity of tattoos have exploded during the last decade. Prejudices or not, it has never been more socially accepted to decorate the body with ink as it is in our day and age.

Dan Regan, entrepreneur and owner of tattoo shop Black Banditz in Hollywood, said that old beliefs have done a complete turnaround.

“Attitudes have changes over the years,” he said. “Tattoos have become more acceptable. At first I would get looks of disapproval, but over time that has shifted.”

Regan said he receives satisfaction from meeting new people with his sleeves rolled down, body modification on full display, just to see their reactions as they find out both his arms are covered in ink.

“If they change their view or attitude toward me, I know they aren’t my kind of open-minded people,” he said.

Regan said most people who come into his shop do it for the same reason that made him do it.

“It’s a way to express myself — a piece of art that I own, that I carry with me, and no one can take it from me,” he said.

Currently non-inked Santa Monica College student Mogeh Adjoudani said she is in favor of tattoos and their rise in popularity.

“It’s a way of expressing yourself or making a statement, as with any other form of art, except it’s displayed on your body,” she said.

Adjoudani’s said she has been wanting a tattoo for some time, but is too indecisive.

“I want to be 100 percent sure before I do it; once it’s there, it’s there,” she said.

Tattoos are a form of artistic expression and should be considered art.

Although it took some time before the first one was placed on my wrist — a gesture of gratitude and love to both my parents — thoughts about future difficulties like employment did cross my mind.

Depending on the choice of future careers, as with anything in life, different attitudes will apply to different professions.

SMC graduate Martina Lund said she understands why tattoos might be less desirable in some areas.

“I don’t think I have to worry about it where I’m going,” she said. “It might actually be an asset, showing your personality.”

However, no matter where you are going, you should always be smart about your decisions when it comes to tattoos. A workplace — where prejudices and discrimination outweigh personality and skills — simply will not be a workplace of choice.

We live in an individualistic time, and it is becoming increasingly important to create your own identity. This shift in attitude has allowed for a new form of self expression to flourish. People continue to use their bodies to reflect their inner self, personalities, beliefs and political stances.

If you can express yourself through music, a book, fashion, or a canvas, then you can do it on your own body as well.