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SheWasAll_'s avatar

Do you think tattoos should have a meaning behind them?

Asked by SheWasAll_ (2033points) August 21st, 2009

I have several tattoos, but only a few have a story or personal meaning to them. I’ve always wondered if people appreciate tattoos not having a meaning, or if they absolutely should.

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23 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Everything has some kind of meaning.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I prefer them with some kind of meaning.

Strauss's avatar

I don’t have any ink, but I don’t have anything against it; as a matter of fact, I find certain tats interesting. I think any permanent marking should have some meaning.

sjmc1989's avatar

I won’t get a tattoo unless It means something to me. I wanted music notes for a long time and instead of just getting random music notes I did the first notes of a song that means a lot to me. I think that the tattoos that have meaning behind it will make you least likely to regret it over time.

live_rose's avatar

I think people just like hearing a story attached to the image. hearing ‘I just really like butterflies’ isn’t captivating I guess. It doesn’t make them any more or less beautiful. And judging them by an art stand point they should be equally appreciated. Im have no tats (Im too indecisive) but thats my view on it

kyanblue's avatar

Well, “I just felt like writing ‘dim sum’ on my bicep” is acceptable, but it’s always more interesting if you can segue into a long story about how you met your significant other in a dim sum restaurant and you were both so engrossed in talking to each other you ended up not eating at all, et cetera, et cetera.

Tattoos are essentially forever, so in twenty years you might like to have some emotional significance in that inky blob that’s been stretched and distorted by wrinkles and sagging skin. You’d want to have something that wasn’t just decorative, but had a little message about who you are & what you want to express about yourself.

SheWasAll_'s avatar

I agree with everything said here. But I do have “just decorative” tattoos because my artist and I have this philosophy: “If there’s a specific story behind that tattoo, awesome. If not? That’s cool too. Because in 20 years when you look down and see that panther, you’ll be able to instantly remember a moment in time that may be a better time than the moment you’re living in.”

kyanblue's avatar

@SheWasAll_ In that case, I need a tattoo right now. I have a horrible memory, but there are events I literally want to engrave in my skin to remember forever.

I guess in that case it’s not a meaning that you decide on when you get the tattoo, but some kind of meaning that just happens by looking back on the decision to get that tattoo.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

They should at least have some meaning to the person getting it, otherwise it’s empty symbolism, well at least that’s why I don’t have any. I’ve never gotten a tattoo because there’s no image I want on my body for the rest of my life.

If someone wants a tattoo, cool. I’m not going to judge.
Well, not unless it’s a gang tattoo symbolizing you murdered someone.

EmilieErratic's avatar

I don’t think it matters really, aslong as the person having the tattoo likes it, its up to them, but i think if it has a meaning behind it, it means alot more to the person, and can make it more interesting for people to hear about it.

DarkScribe's avatar

I think that as long as they have skin behind them it will be ok.

dee1313's avatar

Here’s my tattoo. Yes, that is Fable 2 in the background.

My tattoo doesn’t have much of a meaning, and yet it does. Its difficult to explain. I’m not much of a symbolic person anyway, so it makes it that much more fitting for me.

My father-in-law has the batman symbol filled in with an american flag. He says it has three meanings: 1) he fought for his country, 2) he is now a crime fighter like batman, and 3) batman is a bad ass.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it almost makes it feel like less of something to me. I mean, I have never been able to put words to art very well, because I feel that our language is simply inadequate to express such things. That’s why I don’t like when people feel all tattoos should have such a clear meaning behind them.

That’s not to say I’m against such tattoos. I’m actually thinking about getting a Weighted Companion Cube on my hip or something. Which, although it would clearly represent Portal, it would also represent my own weakness to obsessions. I’m not kidding you, my first crush was a video game character (which sounds weird, but to me its like people crushing on a celebrity). I was obsessed with the freaking game.

My point is that there are different reasons to get tattoos. Some express who you are through clear meanings or stories. Some are more for yourself… just an image you like, with no meaning or no clear meaning. Most people think that tattoos are forms of expression, and that isn’t always true. I didn’t get my tattoo to express myself to anyone. Its for me. A lot of people don’t even know I have it because it is often hidden by clothes. I put it on Facebook because, well, my life goes on Facebook, and I was excited about it.

The only thing I don’t like to see on people is words. I feel that words in any language are so limiting. I really don’t like when people put things like “truth” in another language on their bodies. People change. Its difficult to explain why, and I end up sounding hypocritical. I think its just that I don’t really like to use words to describe things, it just is not how I think.

Haha, all my comments lately have been long. See? Words suck. I have to use so many of them to express one freaking thought. :P

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

My tattoos all have deep meaning behind them. A tattoo that is simply Taz or Mickey Mouse, or a naked broad riding a 500 lb. bomb seems dumb. But hey, some people like Taz or Mickey Mouse, or big titted broads on phallic shaped weapons of mass destruction.

Life is about choices, your results may vary.

jaketheripper's avatar

I think it just looks shallow if you go to all the trouble to get a tattoo (especially if its large or many) and they are both not unique and have no meaning. To me that says you are mostly just trying to achieve an image and thats it which is pretty lame

Eshayes_brahhz's avatar

I think they do for example for us islanders cultural tattooing have meaning behind it. You should watch the tattooist by the way it’s a horror film based on Samoan tattooing,

bennihan's avatar

Tattooing is a spiritual thing for a lot of people. I have two pieces of work done and they both have relative meaning to me. But, I eventually want to get a quarter sleeve and not sure at all what its going to look like.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have one tattoo that is quite big for a first tattoo. The image itself holds no meaning for me but the process of getting the tattoo made the tattoo significant. I met a lot of great people, had some wonderful conversations and found out a lot about myself in getting the tattoo. It could have been an image of anything @evelyns_pet_zebra described and these things still would have happened. As it happens, I do think the image is beautiful and wouldn’t mind carrying it around with me for a while.

Allibaby808's avatar

All of my tattoos have special meaning to me or have represented a period of time in my life. Whether it was a period of hardship or joy, it helps to look at them and remember what you’ve been through. I would say to a certain extent a tattoo should be symbolic to the person, but I could see rare instances that a design with no meaning could be cool enough to have done. My issue is people who are random with their tattoos and then hate them in a year. I’ve consciously thought all of mine out for months before getting them done. I never want to regret one.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. I have 2 tattoos that have “special” meaning: 1 is my wedding tattoo (the same one as mt wife) and I have a fire dancer tattoo. My 6 other tattoos are more for aesthetic purposes: my first tattoo I designed myself, but the sun around my belly button has no real meaning; I have a half-sleeve of flowers, leaves and vines; 2 souvenirs from Hawaii, from 2 different trips—a butterfly with a hidden cat face on my upper arm and a trio of pertroglyph turtles swimming across my foot; my most recent one is a beautiful bird on my ribs.

I’m annoyed by the idea that people with no religious or cultural ties to their tattoos (because some people do, like the Polynesian, feel the need to make tattoos into something more than they have to be. Having meaning is fine, but it’s not necessary.

InkyAnn's avatar

this always pisses me off! first of all you should get tattoos for you to make you happy not other ppl! abouut 65% of my body is covered and some have meanings some don’t, as long as it makes you happy fuck what other ppl think its your body and your mind and views NOT THEIRS!

tiffyandthewall's avatar

well if it’s not on my body, it doesn’t matter much to me, but i personally wouldn’t want something permanently inked on my body just because it’s ‘pretty’. if it makes the wearer happy, good for them – it’s really none of my concern – but i find it silly in my own mind.

but i think any tattoo kind of attaches meaning to it to some extent, doesn’t it? at least over time. you’ll most likely remember what was going on in your life around the time you got the tattoo.

i think of tattoos as scars we choose to show, in a way. it doesn’t have to be negative, but i prefer tattoos that have some sort of meaning.

DarkScribe's avatar

I like tattoos that have got boobs behind them. Saw a nice one today.

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