December 19, 2018 in Research
Attitudes toward Tattoos and Body Piercings Essay


At the present time, tattoos and body piercing will not surprise anybody as many people position them as something routine alongside with make-up or buying new clothes. However, the attitude to tattoos and body piercing remain ambiguous. The paper investigates the attitudes of people toward tattoos and body piercing. It reveals the differences of opinions according to gender, age, safety. Moreover, current paper shows the categories of tattoos popular among people and attitudes of people without tattoos and piercing to such body art. Current essay consists of introduction, methodology, results and discussions.

Keywords: piercing, tattoo, gender, age, body art 

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Attitudes toward Tattoos and Body Piercings


Body modifications like piercing and tattoos are increasingly popular practices. According to statistics, 38% of adults born in 1981-1991 have body modifications. However, only 1% of people older than 45 have piercings and tattoos (Dean, 2010). It means that the younger generation is keener on body modifications than mature that are sceptical about it. Young people believe that tattoos and piercing are highly acceptable. However, all adults suppose that there are potential health risks of body modifications. They also think that body art is not esthetical and less socially acceptable (Martino &Lester, 2011). Without doubt, the attitudes to piercing and tattoos are not similar in all people. The opinions can depend on gender, safety level, aesthetic look and age. Current essay intends to explore the attitudes of people toward tattoos and piercing. It studies the factors that influence the choice of the body modifications. Current paper presents the results of the survey about the attitudes to piercing and tattoos (Dean, 2010). 


Current research consists of three main stages, such as exploratory, descriptive and explanatory. At the exploratory level, the paper reveals the meaning of tattoos and piercing among young people and adults. Moreover, it explores the factors that influence the attitudes to the body modifications. At this stage, it also represents an interview to reveal the attitudes to the body art. The qualitative method is leading in current research paper, and one uses it for the analysis of the results. However, in order to show the entity of the problem deeper and more concrete the quantitative method is also used for the interview.

The research strategy is to answer such questions as:

  1. What is the attitude of men and women to tattoos and piercing?
  2. How does the age influence the attitude to the body modifications?
  3. Is it safe to have tattoos and piercing?
  4. Which type of tattoos is your favourite?
  5. What is your attitude to people that have tattoos and body piercing?

The research uses such sources of evidence as statistics of doing tattoos and piercing. The interviews of people that have their opinions about the body modifications define the scope of the research. Secondary data help us understand the entity of the problem and see how other researchers position it. 


Having analyzed the results of the interview one came it may be concluded that gender is one of the factors that influence the attitudes to the body modifications. From the answers, it becomes evident that women prefer the body art more than men (Look Figure 1). 22% of men and women have at least one tattoo. 61% of women and 39% of men have at least one piercing (Dean, 2010). 

Women suppose that piercing and tattoo make them more attractive. Men believe that the body modifications make them more brutal and brave. Attraction is the main reason for making tattoo and piercing by women; therefore, they are more often exposed to such actions than men. 

Figure 1.

Taking into consideration the age factor, one can say that the youth under 18 is not so exposed to the body art like that people between 18-25 and 26-30. At the age of 18-25, people tend to decorate themselves with piercing and tattoo (Look Figure 2). People under 18 do body modifications to differ from others and rebel against the stereotypical vision of life. In some states of the USA, there are laws that regulate the age for tattoos and piercing and allow performing body modifications only by the specialists. It means that even at the present time body modification is a behavioural violation (Degelman & Price, 2002). 

Figure 2.

The level of safety is also crucial for the development of an opinion about tattoo and piercing. The figure shows that it is not safe to have body piercing and tattoo. For example, body modifications can cause skin cancer and allergy. People are conscious about it, but they do not refuse from the body art as they suppose them attractive and interesting. All facilities should be clean as the risk to become sick is too high here. Infections, hepatitis, scars and allergic reactions are the leading factors for their lives (Martino, Lester, 2011). 

Figure 3

It is difficult to outline the most favourite type of tattoos among people. They can be in form of names, slogans, religious phrases, random patterns. The kind of such body art depends on the sphere of activity. Tattoos are like the ways of revealing of the personality (Koziel & Sitek, 2013). 

Picture 4.

From the analyzed interviews it has become evident that people can be stereotypically about piercings and tattoos, therefore their opinions can vary from person to person. Some people suppose them strange, not aesthetic and anti-social (Dean, 2011). Some people believe that body modifications fashionable, artistic and up-to-date. Others think that they are rough. However, in most cases body piercing and tattoo can be artistic and the way of reflecting the creativity and peculiarity. Following diagrams and statistics prove that there are differences not only in the attitude to piercing. However, they are related to the generational gaps. Young people believe that tattoos and piercing are highly acceptable. However, all adults suppose that there are potential health risks caused by body modifications (Degelman & Price, 2002).

Figure 5.


From the analysed results, the factors that influence the opinions about those who have piercing and tattoos were revealed. They are gender differences, age peculiarities and risks. The main reasons to make body modifications are genes, the tense lifestyle, strong moral and mental stresses, life problems and desire to be different or refer to the sub-culture. Body art is like the way of rebelling against stereotypical thinking that exists in the society. Even at the present time, people with many piercing and tattoos are regarded as strange and dissocialized. Moreover, such people always feel isolated from others as they are different. 

Indeed, the interviewing helped reveal only the factors crucial for piecing making and tattoos. However, with the help of statistics it is easy to understand the level of the body modifications problem. The communication with the real people gives the opportunity to imagine a situation in the whole. The leading issue is that not all people wanted to confess about their attitude to piercing and tattoo. Some of them were indifferent to those who make tattoos and piercing. Others were too passionate opponents of the body art supposing it antisocial and ugly decorations. Some people refused from interviewing and that was also a problem. The research was being done for revealing the place of the body modifications in the society. From the interviewing it is clear that it is impossible to make people love or hate piercing and tattoo. 

The results showed that teenagers do not have so many body modifications as the young adults and it is related to their parents’ struggle against their not aesthetic and antisocial look. The choice of the tattoo depends on the interests and hobbies of a person. If it is a female, it can be flowers, animals, names and love phrases. Men want to look rough and brutal; therefore, they can depict the horror pictures.  

Males do tattoos and piercing not so often as females as they do not pay too much attention to their appearance. Moreover, women are more emotional and sensitive and that is why their body modifications can be related to the feelings of love, suffering or rebellion. It means that the attitude to the body art depends on the character and mood of the personality and his/her way of the self-expression and self-realization. Men are more sensitive to pain; therefore, it is one of the reasons why they are afraid of doing piercing and tattoo. Women prefer body modifications because they suppose that it is a way of becoming more sexually attractive. Moreover, men are more precocious about the health complications after tattoos and piercing. Medical complications scare people, therefore, they refuse from body art for the sake of their health. 

With the maturity people are becoming more hostile and negative to piercing and tattoos supposing them antisocial ways of decorations that associates with criminals and other antisocial groups. Young people are more careless and easy-going, therefore, they can regret about their body modifications when they have health complications and abused attitude from other people. Moreover, tattoos and piercing always associate with referring to the special sub-groups. 

In conclusion, it can be stated that the attitudes toward piercing and tattoos are positive and negative. As to people of the young generation, they use body modifications as a way of self-expression, especially female. As to people of the older generation they are more categorical considering body modifications as anti-social decorations. Women like tattoos and piercing more than men because they want to show their sexual attraction. Men like body art because they suppose it to add brutality and brevity to their image. 

Many people refuse from body modifications because it is harmful to their health. They can cause cancer, allergy and other medical complications. People with piercing and tattoos may be regarded as anti-social, deviant and criminal. Such stereotypes in the community refer to the origin of the body modifications and not aesthetic look. People like to make the tattoos of names of their loving people, phrases about the life entity, animalistic pictures and geometric figures. The choice of tattoos depends on the personal interests. People have piercing on ears, genital organs, nipple, navel, tongue, lip, nose and eyebrow. 

In general, it can be stated that people have categorically negative attitudes to piercing and tattoos. However, physical and psychosocial risks prevent people from such body modifications. The potential fear refers to the procedure of body art making and professionalism of specialists in piercing and tattoo. Moreover, in some states in the USA, there are laws that forbid body modifications as illegal operations. In such cases they can be done only by a licensed technician and physician. 


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