Tattoos – Body Art or Defilement?
Tattoos are one of the oldest art forms and their practice can be found in modern or historical practice nearly anywhere in the world. But in many cultures they also carry a stigma of defiance or a criminal past. Our authors share their experience with the often Judged art form, while trying not to be Judgey in return.
I personally do not have a tattoo. So many of the people I know and love do have tattoos – my sister, my cousins, my cousins’ children, my friends, people I have dated and the list goes on. I really never thought anything of it. In my mind it was a personal decision. I even find them quite appealing on the right people.
I have personally never gotten one just because I do not like the thought of willfully inflicting pain on myself. I do have a strong pain threshold, but I have this aversion to going in and paying to feel pain (although I am not sure I would even find it all that painful or uncomfortable). Then the thought of getting older and fatter and having a distorted tattoo does not appeal to me all that much. It can even go the other way – I could lose muscle mass and have a flabby, saggy tattoo. Then there is the issue with the colors fading if the tattoo is full color. So many things to think about and maintain. I have a hard enough time keeping the gray hairs away…I can only imagine the added stress I would have from having a tattoo. Still I say more power to those that get them and love them.
I have spoken to others who always quote the disease factor – you know the dirty needle and all that jazz. Still, I have known a lot of people who have gotten tattoos and have yet to hear of one of them who has gotten sick from it. But why take the risk – if you just do not get one, no chance of catching anything from a dirty needle. I have also heard of the horror stories of people getting the name of their wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend tattooed somewhere on their body only to divorce or break up with that person years later…and then they are forever stuck with a name on their body of an X. In this instance there are a couple of options - decide to only date others with that name, name your children the same names as your tattoo, or go through more money and more pain to get the name removed. Bottom line – tattoos can just be a pain (literally and figuratively). Still, I have always been of the opinion, live and let live.
So when my son went to Israel and wrote me that he wanted to get a tattoo while he was there, I was like if you want to go ahead. Of course, I was a little shocked that one would want to get a tattoo in Israel….I mean a person cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery if they have a tattoo on their body so I wondered how popular and skilled a tattoo artist in Israel could be. Turns out they are quite good at the art of tattooing. So I went to facebook and reached out to my family and friends and asked them what they thought about my son getting a tattoo and what kind of tattoo should he get. Well it caused a debate like none other. I got:
Tattoos are forbidden in the bible read the old testament
The Bible states that God has engraved your name on the palms of his hands (a form of tattoo)
Be careful – dirty needles can cause problems.
It is very rare to catch something from a tattoo needle…just make sure you go to a reputable tattoo parlor.
It can keep you from getting a job.
Tattoos are now so commonplace that employers no longer pay attention to that.
I have no issues when it comes to tattoos. I believe that tattoos are a great form of art and expression. I know that this can be a very touchy subject, but I think that if a person wants to have a permanent piece of art on their body then they should have to right to put it there. I know one main argument when it comes to tattoos is, "It will be hard to get a job." I, personally, have three tattoos and have never had any trouble getting a job...although all of mine are hidden when fully clothed. Another example though, most tattoo artists have tattoos that show and they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. There are plenty of professions these days that overlook the tattoos. Heck, some professions even encourage the tattooed look. As long as the artwork is in good taste I am all for tattoos. Yes, there can be some really bad ones out there. I've even thought to myself, "Now why would someone put that on their body", but that's the thing, it's their body. If they turn out to regret it down the road then that's on them, not you. Another argument I hear a lot about is infection. All I have to say about this is, if you go to a reputable tattoo shop, you should have no problem...there is always a slight chance that you may have some sort of a reaction, but if you follow the care instructions that they give you, you should be fine. I think I know more people with tattoos then without, and none of them have ever had an infection from getting a tattoo...I know that there are people out there that have, but I, personally, do not know any of them. So I'm going to say it's pretty rare.
When it comes down to it, tattoos can be beautiful pieces of artwork and your body can be the canvas...only you can make that decision. I think that if you do decide to go under that needle though, you make sure you are fully committed to have that piece of work on you for the rest of your life. Make it something meaningful; something that expresses who you are as a person. When someone looks at the permanent marking on your body make them say "Yes, that is so you!"