The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School

Tattoo Stigma Transformed

Dorian Vance displays his tattoo. "Spes" means "hope" in Latin.

Anna-Maya Hachmeister

Anna-Maya Hachmeister

Dorian Vance displays his tattoo. "Spes" means "hope" in Latin.

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Holding a needle over a flame to sterilize it, freshman Beatrice VonHolten prepares to give herself a stick and poke tattoo. As a seventh grader, she received opposition from her father, but VonHolten decided to do it anyway.

“I’m really into trying new art forms as much as possible,” VonHolten said. “It’s a great way to express yourself.”

VonHolten’s first tattoo was a reference to one of her art inspirations, Jean-Michel Basquiat and she is proud that her opinions on that artist have not changed.

 

Junior Dorian Vance got a tattoo done by a professional last year. He did not receive direct opposition from his mom, but his dad did not approve. He recalls his dad being annoyed, but not completely disapproving. Vance believes tattoos would not affect anyone’s chances at getting a job.

“At this point, so many people have tattoos that it’s really difficult for employers to not hire you or not give you the same opportunities just because you have a tattoo,” Vance said. “Because basically everyone that I know either has a tattoo, or is planning on getting one in their lifetime.”

Vance said that tattoos should not affect your ability to get a professional job unless it is vulgar or easily viewable.

Social studies teacher Phil Mitchell has three tattoos. He says that his parents were not supportive when he told them that he got tattoos. He thinks that the perception of tattoos has changed overtime.

On my left shoulder I have a memorial to my father, who passed away about four years ago,”

— Phil Mitchell

“I think it’s more acceptable [to get a tattoo these days],” Mitchell said. “I’m not sure why, I think in just more elements of our pop culture you see people with ink, whether it be athletes or musicians or things like that. One of my tattoos is fairly visible, and I still feel in certain situations, be it a job interview or at parent-teacher night, I’m gonna wear long sleeves.”

Mitchell said that what he chose to adorn his skin with affects the outlook his parents have.

“My tattoos represent family members themselves, so in that I think that makes it a little bit more approachable or palatable for my mom,” Mitchell said.

According to StatisticBrain, 14% of all Americans have tattoos. Brandishing your skin can not only give a sense of self expression, but a sense of family.

“On my left shoulder I have a memorial to my father, who passed away about four years ago,” Mitchell said. “That is an occasion where you do want that daily reminder. So that you don’t forget. Sometimes life moves fast and you move on, but when I see that piece, it does keep him near.”

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
Tattoo Stigma Transformed