Many people are choosing to express themselves through body art, and parents’ body art is creating new opportunities for teachable moments about being unique. A recent Huff Post piece reported that: “more people are getting inked, and the generation leading the pack is millennials–the 18-to-29 year olds–in a trend that is keeping tattoo shops busy across North America. As many as one third of millennials have a tattoo, according to the Pew Research Center. In a similar survey done by The Harris Poll, nine percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 32 percent of 25-to-29-year-olds have at least one tattoo.” As the iconic actor Johnny Depp so poetically puts it: “My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story.” So maybe if we can begin to see the old taboos of body art through more optimistic lenses, we can perhaps recast the perception of such art in a new and positive way—underscored by the power of individuality, as opposed to the outdated notion that tattoos are for people who are “trying to be cool.”
1. Because it Celebrates Uniqueness
If peoples’ tattoos and piercings are indeed symbols of their stories, then each form of body art can become an individualized testament to a personal value, experience, or relationship that is not only meaningful—but also solely unique to them. And it’s no secret that having a deep sense of uniqueness is a great way to bolster character and self-esteem.
2. Because it Encourages Creativity
Since body art is often somewhat of a commitment (at least where tattoos are concerned), people tend to dig deep creatively when it comes to choosing one that’s just right. Some people even hand-draw sketches of their tattoo ideas before taking the plunge, which inevitably gets them thinking creatively about what might work—and what they would really like to express.
3. Because it Helps People Reflect on Identity
Body art choices are visible emblems of who people want to be, so when someone makes a decision about a tattoo or a piercing, he or she is stating to the world—and perhaps to themselves—that a part of their personality and identity is expressed in that small (or not so small) piece of art.
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4. Because it is an Exercise in Commitment
Making the choice to use body art as self-expression also comes with a sense of commitment, as tattoos are (for the most part) permanent, and piercings tend to leave holes. By taking it on one’s self to get inked or pierced, one is essentially making a commitment to a very enduring sense of personal flair.
5. Because it Pushes the Envelope
Part of living in an ever-changing world includes riding the waves of change with grace. By getting behind the prospect of body art as a positive practice, we show our kids that life’s rules are somewhat fluid, that said rules often get modified, and that pushing the envelope can be a very interesting thing.
6. Because it can Help Quell the Rebel
Sometimes the act of getting a tattoo or a piercing is the one thing a closet-rebel can do to quell his or her naughty impulses. If parents’ body art is the “worst” of their crimes and helps them somehow tap into a bad-boy/bad-girl part of themselves that doesn’t really hurt anyone, it can become the perfect outlet.
7. Because it Shows Progress
Given the fact that so many people now have tattoos and/or piercings, it makes little sense to stay stuck in the past. By seeing the culture of body art as an aesthetic way to have ownership of one’s body and express personality, maybe we are moving in the direction of progress as a society.
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by HoneyMaid, and their efforts to showcase the many facets of modern American family life.