Social Question

john65pennington's avatar

Are tattoos on the way out?

Asked by john65pennington (29182points) February 15th, 2010

Tonight, i noticed a nice young girl with tattoos from her head to her toes. her tattoos had tattoos. are tattoos on the way out? is this fad about to end? if so, what happens to all the tattos that people will not want, 30 years from now? will they look in the mirror and say, “what was i thinking”? i do not have nor do i want a tattoo. i know its a personal choice and i understand this. i smoke and thats my personal choice. when a tattooed person is 70 years old, will “I LOVE BOB” sag to look like” I LOVE BOOBS”?. then what?

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55 Answers

asmonet's avatar

No, I don’t think it is. It’s been around for thousands of years, I would hardly call it a fad.
But less people are getting them it seems to be ‘seen’. It seems as though the original reason for tattooing is coming back to the foreground.

As for changes over time, it’s rarely more about the look than about the reason behind the piece. At least for those who get the tattoos for a purpose. Those that get it because they like the design or think it looks cool with little thought put behind it, probably will regret it at some point.

KhiaKarma's avatar

It’s definitely not the fad it was when I got mine, and yes, I hate mine.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m anticipating my 9th tattoo. In other words, no.

casheroo's avatar

I’m going to get my 9th as soon as this baby gets here. It’s never been a fad for me.
Tattoos are what you make it. Some people it’s a hobby, or addiction, to some it’s art. Just depends on how you look at it.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Hopefully bad tattoos are on the way out.
I like seeing original work.

Honestly, the tribal armbands, belly button designs and lower back tattoos are all played out.

Tattoos are supposed to be about personal expression, not pointing at a stock design on the parlor wall in a drunken state.

AstroChuck's avatar

I got a tattoo of a sprig of parsley on my manhood. Because presentation is everything.

asmonet's avatar

@AstroChuck: You’re my favorite.

judochop's avatar

John, you’ve made it quite apparent that you dislike tattoos and you are stereotyping those who do as making bad choices.
I am one who collects tattoos. My tattoos have tattoos. And I hope that when I am 70 I am not “saggy” like you say.
Tattoos are not on the way out at all, in fact they are the up. Tattooing has been around since the age of man and is not going anywhere. The inks have gotten much better and the needles and guns have gotten much better and with that it is pretty safe to say they will not bleed or sag as you get older.
You are just not a collector, please do not label us that are as making bad choices. Tattoos are beautiful and tell a story, from the bad ones to the good ones they speak out loud sometimes for people who do not wish to speak verbally.
I can’t stand the stereotype yet I know it exists and I am well aware of it. Having held a corporate job for many years I understand that it offends some people and all I have to say to them is sorry, it’s just not your thing. If anything is on the way out my friend it is smoking. I’d much rather hangout in a tattoo shop all day long getting “bad” tattoos then sit in a room full of people smoking.
By the way, I will probably be out of room by the time I reach 50. As of now I have both arms, chest, both legs and my stomach done. Some of which I already don’t like as much as I did when I first got them but you know what? I love that about them to.

Grisaille's avatar

Tattoos have been around 11,000 years. I think calling it a “fad” is a bit of a stretch.

Also, I’m with @judochop. I have tattoos. I’ve held a corporate job for years. They are beautiful pieces of art. Quit the generalizations; some people aren’t nearly as fickle and self-conscious as you, looking at their bodies – their choices – and feeling disgust, regret or remorse.

Facade's avatar

Not at all.
I just got my second– placed boldly on the back of my neck. More to come.

AstroChuck's avatar

@asmonet- Aw, shucks. Thanks.
I was thinking of getting a metal stud put through it too but then took lightening into account and decided against it.

john65pennington's avatar

Judochop, i respect your answer. one day, my police motorcycle had a breakdown. the chain broke. i was on a public highway waiting for a tow truck to tow my motor in. as i was waiting, a man with long hair stopped, got out of his car, and asked me if there was anything he could do for me. i must admit, up until that time, that i did not have much use for men with long hair. this person completely changed my mind about stereotyping people.i feel the same way about peope and tattoos. my question was not about stereotyping people, it was about people making bad choices with tattoos now and how they will look in later life. john

Facade's avatar

@john65pennington “did not have much use for men with long hair.”??
Makes me wonder who else is “useless” to you.

casheroo's avatar

@john65pennington What were your misconceptions/stereotypes about men with long hair?? You really think people with one physical attribute in common must all be the same? So glad that guy showed you the light

john65pennington's avatar

Casheroo, you are correct. i had a very bad attitude, concerning this subject, for years. this man was helpful and i will remember that day forever, because my whole attitude was completely turned around. you can’t judge a book by looking at its cover.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

So police DO stereotype!

judochop's avatar

@john65pennington
Oh I hear you and I do not fault you for anything at all. I will admit to not really being fond of men with long hair yet I have some male friends who choose to wear it long anyway. I am a bit of a conservative yet I am covered in tattoos. I think that I get so worked about it because I wish the stereotype would just vanish. My great grandfather, both grandfathers and my father all have tattoos. So looking up to them my whole life I could not wait to have them as well. I got my first with my brother and my next few in the Army. I’ve since covered my military tattoos up with the exception of one. Covering a small tattoo means you need a bigger tattoo to go over it. I was careful about what I put over top of the Military tatt’s. It all has a meaning to me and tells a story. It makes for long cup of tea. Of course there will always be those out there that will want to have them removed or wish they had not been so stupid in the first place. Tattoos are not for everyone and I like that about them. Your body is your temple, I just choose to decorate mine. By the way John, my father was a cop and ex-special forces trainer and at one time protected Ronald Reagen. His arms are covered.

dr34m3r's avatar

i want a tattoo when i get older… 23 years of age! ;o

then i’m going all out.

im going to get </love> over my heart

i’m going to keep thinking about it until that day, so i dont feel so :( about it and regret it later on

dr34m3r's avatar

tattoos are very cool.

john65pennington's avatar

Judochop, i just gave you a great answer. to be honest, being in my profession for so many years, i have always associated tattoos with convicts. no intent meant here. but, if you can recall, most convicts have tattoos on all their fingers that state: love and hate. it was and is a fad for them. some of the ex-convicts i talked to, say they wish they had never had this tattooed on their fingers.

KhiaKarma's avatar

they are/were a fad for a certain group who view tatoos not in the historical way but in the “I’m gonna show that I’m old enough to do what I wanna do” Same kind of fad as piercing your nose or belly button. Sure there are some people who do it because it is part of their culture and/or because they feel strongly about it spiritually. However, we all know how some just do it because they think it is cool, then they move on after all the excitement of it is over.

I mainly just hate that I got the thing I got. It has this cheesy little rose that goes through it, that I just went along with last minute. I am so glad that most of the decisions I made when I was 19 are not still on my body!

judochop's avatar

@john65pennington
You should check out the Russian convicts tattoo stories. Very interesting tale. I agree with you John, many convicts or “bad apples” have tattoos. Many have traditional tattoos that say things like Love and Hate across the knuckles. There are also many, many gangs (as you know) that use tattoos to show rank and symbol. There are also many tribes (even modern day) in other countries that use tattoos to show age and tell a story of their path. The Maoris use tribal tattooing still to this day. Some of which goes on to the face and neck. There are also tribes in Thailand and Brazil that are modern day and many of the men and women are paying homage to their roots by getting traditional tattoos placed in unconventional areas like the face, neck and hands. I know you get it. If anyone is interested in hearing more about the history of tattooing and what certain traditional tattoos actually mean (you see them all the time but probably don’t know the story behind their history) feel free to ask me. I love to talk about tattooing.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not so much ‘out’ as too expensive in the current economy. In our local area, l out of every six business has closed, and a larger proportion of the tattoo parlors are among them.

borderline_blonde's avatar

Nah, I don’t think so. I think there are tattoo “trends” (like the… what do they call those? Tramp Stamps? Those ones on the lower backs of 18-year-old girls nationwide), just like getting a naval piercing was trendy a few years ago and has since faded out. However, that doesn’t mean that piercing is on its way out, and I really don’t think tattooing is, either. If anything, as more people of the middle-class get tattoos, they’re becoming more accepted.

Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part… I really like mine ;)

john65pennington's avatar

Judochop, thank you, sir. i have learned a great deal about tattoos from you. at least, i know more about tattoos, than i did twenty minutes ago. again, thanks. john

ridicawu's avatar

I think tattoos can be wonderful permanent art. I think impulse or “thoughtless” tattoos are possibly on their way out. I think a lot of highly respected tattoo artists tend to avoid tramp stamps, tribal and the like (some places won’t do flash tattoos).
There are certain tattoo designs that will fade out (oh how I remember the dolphins and hummingbirds of the 90s), but tattoos in general aren’t going to fade away.

Grisaille's avatar

I’d like to publicly apologize for my idiotic response up above. Totally not cool of me; sorry @john65pennington.

Ron_C's avatar

Tattoos, when I was younger, were the result of too much alcohol and friends with a sick sense of humor. I still think tattoos are stupid. The more tattoos you have, the dumber you are. People don’t think that the cute little butterfly you got when you were twenty, turns into a shriveled fly at age 50. I rally can’t understand why people with beautiful skin would deface themselves with ridiculous cartoons.

asmonet's avatar

@Ron_C: I know someone with a ‘cute little butterfly’. It’s a memorial tattoo for her dead sister.

judochop's avatar

@Ron_C
I’m going to assume that it is safe to say a few things here judging by your reply to the question and hey, not to judge but birds of a feather right?
Do you know many people with tattoos over the age of 50? I don’t think that you do and if you do then what you know is some crappy trailer park style tattoo because at the age of 50 everything should still be pretty tight and yes a butterfly should still look like a butterfly unless you are at least 50lbs. over weight and even then it should still look like a butterfly. Judging peoples intellect based on the size or number of tattoos makes you look and sound pretty stupid.

thriftymaid's avatar

That would be great.

Ron_C's avatar

@judochop I know many people with tattoos. I was in the Navy and many of the guys got sucked in. Everyone, I’ll say again everyone of the old tattoos fade and wash out to a crappy green. The colors, what little there are fade to a dirty looking pastel. Some of the guys even have their teen girlfriends name which is embarassing to their wife.

Actually, when a person gains weight, the tattoo looks better. The problem is that in advanced age most people lose weight and skin tone. What once was an eagle is now a wrinkled crow. Maybe tattoos aren’t a an indication of intellect but they certainly reflect poor judgement and an inability to plan for the future.

Again, this is only my opinion but, to me, the more tattoos a person has the more grotesque they look. I don’t care if they’re 20 or 80.

Ron_C's avatar

@asmonet I think that is a grotesque way to memorialize someone. To each his or her own. If someone was to memorialize me, I would prefer that it was done as a donation to St. Jude’s hospital for children, not defacing their body.

ridicawu's avatar

@Ron_C
-Most tattoo parlors do either free or very cheap touch ups for tattoos. So faded tattoos can be fixed.
-Name tattoos, in my opinion, is an idiotic thing to do in the first place. Though most can get covered with another tattoo (a pretty frequent thing to get covered) or can be removed if it’s really that much of an inconvenience. Also I think name tattoos curse the relationship.
-I want to know how an eagle turns into a crow. Where is this image? Have you honestly seen this happen?
-Saying that someone is more idiotic if they have more tattoos is the most asinine thing I’ve heard. IQ and tattooed skin has nothing to do with one another.
-It’s not always an “inability to plan for the future”. I am fully aware of the fact a tattoo is permanent. I realize it will be on my flesh for life. That’s why I try and put a good amount of thought into what I want on my skin. I’d love to be old and be able to tell stories of the various tattoos I have to those that are curious. Wrinkled or not, I’ll love it.
-How is it grotesque to memorialize someone through a tattoo? I think it’s a beautiful way that’s not harming the person. They’re not drinking or killing themselves with some sort of substance. My cousin has a beautiful portrait of my grandpa on his arm in honor of him. I plan on getting one in honor of my grandpa as well.

I don’t mean to seem like I’m attacking you or anything, I just hate to have those with tattoos to be stereotyped. It’s ridiculous and rude to do so.

Ron_C's avatar

@ridicawu I know that I am stereotyping people with tattoos but I never have seen the point of having an indelible drawing placed on my skin in addition to an aversion to unnecessary pain and blood. I have age spots, I don’t like them either. I, personally would not be honored by someone putting my likeness on their body.

I also believe that adults have the right to make their own decisions and live with the consequences. I don’t believe that most people have your “enlightened attitude” towards tattooing. My younger brother has many of them. The tattoos are, in my opinion, why his potential employers failed to take him seriously for any job but menial labor. I also think that people with tattoos have an exulted opinion of the who is impressed by the process of marking their body.

I am happy you enjoy them but you can NEVER convince me that they enhance your life in any way.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ron_C you can NEVER convince me that they enhance your life in any way. I agree with this part, but I try not to let my prejudice against tattoos influence the way I feel about people who don’t agree with me.

tinyfaery's avatar

Okay. How about a woman who had a double mastectomy and decided to tattoo over her chest to make herself feel beautiful again? Huh? Judgmental ass.

YARNLADY's avatar

My cousin had a double mastectomy, and does not need a tattoo to make herself beautiful. No one does, beauty come from within.

P.S. did you just judge me and find me wanting? Is it OK for you, but not for me?

ridicawu's avatar

@Ron_C I can see your point and dislike with tattoos. I guess it’s difficult for me because I view it as a type of art (and with art there is bad and there is good) and art is the core of my life. I guess for me it makes me feel like a human canvas and I’m just adding art to it. Slowly, but surely. It’s my life’s canvas. I think it can be such a beautiful way to show major landmarks in my life. I have a scar on my elbow from when I got stitches, it’s the same to me. I’ll remember that moment in life due to that mark. I’m sure there will be some that I’m not as happy with, but just like the scar on my elbow, it’s a lesson. It just shows progress and experiences in life. I have the Wu-Tang W behind my ear which some people may think is ridiculous and possibly even idiotic. I look at it as a point in my life when I loved Wu-Tang Clan. They made an impact in my life at that time. I’ll always treasure that.
Sorry if that got a bit ramble like. I have a tendency to do that.

tinyfaery's avatar

@YARNLADY Good for cousin. Some people do need something after such a loss. And I wasn’t referring to you. But for some reason you always think I am.

YARNLADY's avatar

@tinyfaery I understand people needing something to make them feel beautiful, I make lacy, satin teddies for them, which they can take off, or change the color, or design any time they want.

judochop's avatar

@Ron_C Just so we are clear and I am understanding you, may I ask this?

If you do not approve of it or understand it then it is “stupid?” Well at your age this does not surprise me however it still makes me a little sad for those around you.
It makes me glad that people like you do not have tattoos. It can be one less thing we have in common.
And just for the record, your Navy tattoos…I am willing to bet the majority of them were much like sideshow tattoos. Fat ink lines, crappy placement, not an artist but just some dude that owns a gun. Like I said before, in the 60’s Ron, the inks were not as good, the guns were not as good thus creating a stigmata surrounding tattooing and giving it a bad name.

asmonet's avatar

@YARNLADY: Not everyone likes lacy teddies, some of us get more hot and bothered by a beautiful corset. And not that @tinyfaery can’t make her own points, she’s perfectly capable, but you’d be surprised with how happy some women are with their tattoos following a double mastectomy.

asmonet's avatar

@Ron_C: Just because you feel the need to continue to call something grotesque, doesn’t make it so. A gesture born of love and grief over the death of a family member is never grotesque, no matter what your opinion. On that point, you are wrong. And I won’t accept you saying it’s your opinion. There are better less offensive ways of explaining your views.

YARNLADY's avatar

@asmonet As I stated, I do not like tattoos, but I try not to let that prejudice interfere with my feelings about other people. I do not like when my opinion is called “Judgmental ass” because it sounds very much like a personal attack. I don’t like tattoos and I don’t think they look beautiful. That is my personal opinion. It is very obvious to me that some people do, but that still doesn’t make them look any better to me.

ridicawu's avatar

@YARNLADY I thought the judgemental ass was meant for @Ron_C

Ron_C's avatar

@ridicawu @judochop O.K., one last statement. One of the primary reasons that I think tattoos are grotesque and an abomination is that my youngest brother has hepatitis caused by a contaminated tattoo needle and he still doesn’t see anything wrong with tattoos. My brother is going to die because he bought into this crap that tattoos are art!

If you want to deface yourself, go ahead. I hope you live through it and don’t end up with my brother. Young people are buying into this crap and will ultimately pay the price. I feel sorry for the victims of this herd instinct.

Facade's avatar

@Ron_C That is like saying driving is idiotic because people sometime get killed. There’s nothing he could have done about a contaminated needle…

judochop's avatar

@Ron_C
This is what I mean about side show tattoo parlors. Walk in to a side show tattoo parlor and walk out with a crappy tattoo and Hep C.
I am sorry for your brothers poor choice assuming he went to a shop that accepted walk in’s.

ridicawu's avatar

@Ron_C , people end up with Hepatitis C through other things than JUST tattoos.
I was fine with your position on the topic before, but you went to far with the “herd instinct”. Where the hell do you get the idea that tattoos are a “herd instinct”?! There’s a damn difference between personal preference and being a lemming. I don’t like tattoos because others like tattoos. I like tattoos because I like tattoos. Simple as that. And getting a tattoo doesn’t make me a victim. It doesn’t make anyone with a tattoo a victim. Something out of someone’s control that results negatively makes them a victim. Tattoos should never be in the same sort of thought line of rape or murder.
I feel like others have been somewhat kind to your viewpoint, even when disagreeing. At least I tried to. You have been a complete judgmental, ignorant asshole who insults those that partake in the art of tattoos and tattooing the majority of the time. I don’t attack the Navy or military for what I find wrong with it, why do you attack me and others for what you find wrong in tattoos? It’s simply rude.

Ron_C's avatar

@ridicawu my herd instinct comment speaks to what others would call fashion. Twenty years ago almost everyone that got a tattoo was drunk first. Now is is a fashion statement and ironically a statement of individuality even though vast numbers of people do it. Call it what you will but is is the old instinct of following a leader. It reminds me of what our parents would ask, “if all your friends jumped off a bridge would you jump too?” Tattoos are just as final as jumping off a bridge, they can be removed with a laser or scalpel but there is still a scare.

By the way, I’m a 12 year, tattoo free veteran of the Navy. I didn’t attack the military, I attacked bad choices made to fit in with the crowd.

I expect people like tattoos and piercing because their peers suggested that they should. Even my brother justifies them as some sort of an artistic diary. Regardless, it would never have occurred for him to like tattoos if his peers didn’t have them.

Like I said, adults should make their own decisions but don’t blame me if advancement or having your views taken seriously are inhibited by your “body art”. I personally would never ever do it, I would also discourage my children (who are not tattooed) from getting them. This fashion will soon pass the way of leisure suits and only be used by primitive tribes and drunken sailors.

ridicawu's avatar

I’m not saying YOU attacked the military. The military can be seen as a herd instinct type of situation. I don’t sit here calling the military bullshit and attacking that, saying that it’s nothing but grotesque and an abomination and that if you join it you’re nothing but a lemming. Tattoos aren’t always bad choices. Tattoos aren’t always something “to fit in with the crowd”.
Basically everything in life is a damn herd instinct in your eyes then. Everyone that owns a television and those that don’t. Anyone that’s ever picked up a musical instrument. Anyone that’s purchased makeup. Women who shave their legs, women who don’t. Anyone that has listened to a record.
There’s no single person that is so individual that no one else has done that one thing before.
And I don’t view tattooing as a “no one else has any tattoos I’m so original” I view it as a form of expression, just as choosing a shirt or a pair of shoes one wears for the day.
People do things other people do, it’s life. It’s your own personal choices, not those around you, to act on certain actions.
I just feel like you attacked tattoos in such a rude manner and eventually I got offended.

Ron_C's avatar

@ridicawu look, I am not attacking you and believe that your are right when you say that people that perform certain acts like shaving legs or playing instrument are doing so, in part, because of the social setting. The point is that you can put down the instrument, you can let your hair grow, but when you get a tattoo, especially large ones, it’s permanent. It doesn’t matter how high the ink quality, or the skill of the operator, the marks are permanent. There is no difference between getting a tattoo and using a knife for ritual scars to join a group. The marks are permanent, they are indelible, and they will degrade over time, I would never do that to myself and would discourage young people from the fashion. To me it shows a lack of self respect and it is an obstacle to gaining the respect of others. You can be an individual or follow the self mutilation fashion, you can’t do both and I am not here to tell you how to choose. That’s it, I have no more to say on this subject.

STEDEFANO's avatar

I am a tattoo artist in the Metro Detroit Area, and I can say that tattoos are most definitely not on their way out, ten years ago, there was a much larger amount of people getting tattooed than now, but over the past two years, business has been gradually picking up. Tattoos to some people are a way to remember their past, lost loved ones, or tell a story, some people use them for a conversation piece, or it represents something that once meant something to you, or to others like me it’s about the art, but Im not saying that every tattoo that i have was chosen for the art, I have plenty of tattoos that represent my past, my family, storys, or important things that i just want to constantly be reminded of, each and every tattoo of mine means something to me in some way or another. I don’t express my feelings in words, i express them in art, so in other words “I WEAR MY HEART ON MY SLEEVE.”

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