Piercings, tatoos a college craze

By Christine Blom
March 11, 2005

Chris Gentile

Italian Princesses, tribal bands, nose rings and navel rings. These are some of the most frequent body piercing and tattoos students at Cabrini College campus get on their body.

When Lauren Smart, sophomore biology major, was 15 years old she was strolling along the Ocean City boardwalk and realized she wanted to make the first of several permanent beautifications or changes to her body. She decided to randomly get her belly button pierced in the company of her mother.

When Smart turned 16, she got the most permanent thing done that one human could do to their body, a tattoo.

“My mom took me,” Smart said. “She has a little rose on her shoulder so when I said I wanted one it wasn’t really that big of a deal.”

According to a study done by the University of Massachusetts, approximately 16 percent of adults have at least one tattoo.

Smart has three tattoos: a tribal band along her lower back, a rose on her right ankle and the boot of Italy on her right shoulder that reads “Italian Princess.”

“I think my tattoo on my shoulder is my favorite because it describes me perfectly; I am Italian and I am a princess,” Smart said.

Dr. Charlie McCormick, dean of academic affairs, and his Seminar 100 classes have investigated in this crazy phenomenon for the last two years. In their study, students interviewed their peers who had tattoos. They were asked why they got them, where and what their tattoos meant.

“Many young teens and young adults, between the ages of 13 and 22, tend to get tattoos for a sense of control over their own body,” McCormick said. “They get the tattoos done to affirm their identity or show the importance and beauty of their own body.”

According to McCormick, many also get tattoos and piercings to be considered rebellious, when in reality they are just conforming to society.

“Because there is this conformity to get the tattoos, predictability is established,” McCormick said. “It is easy to predict the size, color, location and whether or not the tattoo will have text, just based on certain demographics of the middle class.”

“I was never so nervous in my life. I sweated so much and I had the worst butterflies in my stomach,” Smart said. “I have to say the tattoo on my lower back hurt the most because it was right along the bottom of my spine.”

Tattoos can cause a great deal of pain, more so than piercings, because of the direct contact with skin, muscle and tissue. Many do not even try to be rebellious, just brave.

Posted to the web by Chris Gentile

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Christine Blom

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