Tattoos or piercings?

By Staff Writer
November 18, 2005

Body art has become increasingly common since the punk rock culture of the 80s up until today. Almost everywhere, there is someone that has an interesting piercing or a colorful tattoo that is visible for the world to see, but which of these acts of self expression is more popular?
Charles McCormick, dean of academic affairs, who has taught and is currently teaching classes dealing with tattoos, has a lot of knowledge on the topic. His class looked at over 200 examples of modern tattoos and then partook in research pertaining to the meaning of the tattoo and its significance.
According to McCormick, tattoos have been around for centuries. They date back to early periods of time during slavery and were also commonly seen on sailors. McCormick believes that today there is a slight decrease in tattoos mainly because the eagerness to be different has taken diverse paths.
In his studies he has found that tattoos are a result of a rebellious leap in the life of a middle class adolescent. “They [adolescents] are trying to tell themselves, I’m maturing, I’m developing and I’m not like everybody else.” McCormick said, “Ironically, by attempting to be different, they are all doing the same thing, which has lessened the trend over the years.”
He also mentioned that recently many have turned to getting tattoos for the symbolically- charged aspect than the rebellious leap, which also has led to a decline. Amanda Arnold, a freshman secondary education major, said, “I believe tattoos are more popular today. The two tattoos I have, a butterfly and a Chinese symbol meaning strength, mean very much to me. My butterfly means I am growing or that I have grown and my symbol of strength reminds me to keep going and that I can fight through anything if I think I can.”
Although tattoos seem to receive a greater amount of popularity, there are still those who believe piercing is more practical and has become more popular in recent years. Piercing, like tattoos, has an ancient background as well. states that piercing was used by the Romans on a certain body part to exemplify bravery. Also Native Americans participated in body piercing for many of the same significant purposes. According to the website, its popularity flourished because of the exposure to rock stars, fashion models and many celebrities who sport piercing as a fashion statement.
Bill Elder, a junior history and political science major, said, “Piercing seems to be more popular lately because it is not permanent. You can get rid of them or take them out when you’re tired of them. If you get a tattoo, you’re stuck with it.”
If a change of mind occurs, the piercing is removable, where as a tattoo stays forever and is unable to be removed, except with expensive surgery. The option that enables a person to remove it if you have a change of heart has heightened the popularity of piercing lately and has made it more appealing to the younger generations.
“I think piercing is more popular because it can always be removed if you don’t like it anymore,” Danielle Finnigan, a freshman elementary education major, said. She also agrees with the popular idea that piercing seems to be more practical.
Despite the opposing views on tattoos and piercing, they both continue to have an impact on many, serving as a way to express our individuality and ourselves. It is difficult to imagine a time when they won’t be around unless generations to come discover another method to diversify themselves.
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Posted to the web by Matt Schill

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