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Tattoo stigmas are becoming a thing of the past
Article by: SlingerVille Staff
December 18, 2012

Tattoo stigmas are becoming a thing of the past

Roger Schaffer, 59, ate his patty melt inside Whataburger without anyone noticing him, not one person glanced in his direction.  One may have thought 20 years ago that a man with their arms fully tattooed would draw some attention wherever they went in public, but not today. 

Two decades ago, tattoos were known as a sign of being a rebel. Today, it is not such a shocking thing to have.

“There used to be a stigma,” Schaffer said. “You were either a drunk, bum or sailor.”

As a man with over 100 tattoos on his body, he recalls his very first tattoo. 

“Back in 1972, I remember coming home to my mother’s house and my grandfather being there,” Schaffer said. “He was 72 at the time, and he really liked my eagle on my arm. It was cool to have an older person encourage me and not judge. I hope it becomes less of a stigma in the future.”

According to the Pew Research Center, $1.65 billion is spent annually on Americans who purchase tattoos. Ironically, older Americans outnumber the younger generation when it comes to tattoos as 36 percent of those with body are between the ages of 18 and 25 while 40 percent are between the ages of 26 and 40.

However, even the older generation explores tattooing themselves.

Bob Link, 49 and a retired Marine and the director of MMA Jujitsu in Pace, patiently waited in Bill’s Tattoo Shop to add another military piece to arm. He said it’s not about what people think.

“It’s about getting something that represents who you are as a person,” Link said. “I don’t even think about covering them up when I am going to the store or out with friends.”

Even the U.S. Army will allow certain tattoos.

Kathleen Welker is the public affairs officer for the Army and she said it really just depends on what you have.

“Each tattoo has to be individually examined,” Welker said. “Everyone who has a tattoo has to be evaluated on what the tattoo is and what it means to them.”

Policies on tattoos will always be changing as we grow into the new century. With new technology and the forever American desire for expression, tattooing and other body art will continue to grow in the years to come.


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