March 20, 2006, - 1:08 pm

Tattoos: A Sign of Power?

By Debbie Schlussel

The Boston Globe claims that tattoos are becoming a mark of power, even at the office.

A number of white collar professionals are finding that body art is a helpful tool at the office . . . . In some workplace circles, visible tattoos have become the new power suit.

Uh-huh. If your office is the NBA or an advertising agency.
Try going to a respectable office in a non-creative, non-sports industry, and it’s doubtful your body canvas of assorted snakes, skulls, and “I Heart Tom”/”I Heart Roseanne,” will get you a second interview. As we wrote here, the Coast Guard has updated its rules to keep the overly tattooed out. That wasn’t the case before. Starbucks and Blockbuster don’t allow visible tattoos. For good reason. It’s not very professional-looking.

travisbarker.jpgtattoos2.jpg

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The New Power Suits?

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Most workplaces aren’t the sets of “Meet the Barkers” or “Prison Break.” The fact is that while they’ve become more of a fixture of pop-culture, and less thought of as the attire of sailors, soldiers, carnies, and convicts, tattoos are hardly a sign of power. In fact, at bar-time, on women, they’re usually a sign of “I’m easy.” (Tramp-stamp, anyone?)

Any one with $200 bucks and an ability to stay still while being repeatedly stabbed with a needle can get a tattoo. How is that a “mark of power”? If anything, they’re a sign of impetuousness.

We’d say the person with the real power is the guy holding the needle.

We have a number of friends and, we’re sure, a number of readers who are tattooed. And we don’t hold it against them or look down on them in any way. But we expect that, someday, they’ll be shelling out the big bucks to get it lasered off at the cosmetic surgeon’s office.

Power? Hardly. Just a needle repeatedly stabbing you for permanent demarcation and likely regret. Would you want, say, your President to be covered in tattoo “body art”? If tattoos are a sign of power, what’s next, multiple nose-rings as the new power-tie?

No thanks. Doesn’t exactly whet your appetite at a restaurant to see the waitress sporting those.

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20 Responses

Like any G_d fearing Jew, i’m going back the way I came; tattoo-free! There’s nothing more cliche’ and repulsive than some dumb, twenty-something, instant-grati-whore with that stupid tattoo on her lower back that looks like a bat or a ghoul trying to creep out of her ass!!! I often ask them how old they are, and the response is generally 21 or 22. I then ask if they think they’ll want that stupid tattoo when they’re 31, or even better, 41!?! Then there’s always tat-sleeve boy. The typical “misunderstood” suburban, wannabe urban dumb ass that looks like a circus sideshow freak with all that crap inked over his body. The perfect example of this low-brow, knuckle-dragger is Travis Barker. The Slacker Generation is just about to have the keys to the world handed over to them and this is what we’re going to have, a regression from the mean. To requote my favorite saying: “COMMON SENSE ISN’T COMMON!”

Yiddish Steel on March 20, 2006 at 4:05 pm

That article is utter rubbish unless someone comes up with some facts and figures to back up his claims in the article.
Tattoos are a mark of stupid, trashy, wannabes.
As Vince Vaughan said in “Wedding Crashers” about the woman with the tattoo on the lower back, “Might as well be a bullseye.”
Ladies, might as well tattoo “Skank” across your forehead if you get a tattoo.

The_Man on March 21, 2006 at 12:30 am

One should never judge a book by its cover. However, all men with tats are criminals and all women with tats are whores. :-)

brickabrat on March 21, 2006 at 1:58 am

    You are an abolute ignorant boring arsehole

    jasper on January 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Thanks for making me sick with the all-too-revealing photos Debbie!

DeBodine on March 21, 2006 at 7:21 am

Years ago, someone studied men with tattoos to try determining why they got them. Most then had acquired them while in the military. Most also were bombed out of their skulls when they consented to having them done. Most considered it a macho choice. At least those old timers had some excuse. It would be easier to admit, I think, you were drunk than admit you were in full control of your (alleged) faculties when you voluntarily became a human pin cushion.
I fail to deduce what is ‘kewl’ or ‘sexy’ about a tattoo of any size.
If I had a daughter or son, I’d try to steer either toward a career in plastic surgery or ENT physician. Lots and lots of people are going to be looking for tatoo removals and hearing aides (from listening to loud rap crap) in the near future.

Bachbone on March 21, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Everyone who has posted in this chat are ignorant, dumbass mother fuckers. You comment about tattoos as if they are just art – some are, and i agree that the people who get tats just because they look kool are idiots – however most people that get tats do so because it means something to them. its not just ‘body art’ it shows a lot about the persons personally and what is important. its the same as u white colar lame ass boring pricks who have your comb over hair cuts, i think you guys look like idiots, however i dont judge you based on your brown nose persona.
and for travis barker, that guy has made more people happy just by playing drums that any of you losers would ever dream of. He is an asset to the music industry and inspires people to be better. The obstinate bastard who called travis a slacker should maybe do a bit of research into what it takes to be a virtuosic drummer. there is definately no slacking involved in becoming a professional musician.
so you may judge people by how they look, however think about shit before you speak you morons.

jellynuts on October 21, 2006 at 5:17 am

I think it’s wonderful how negative, cruel, and biased people can actually be. Especially when they get a chance to speak their opinions with the anonymity of the Internet. It’s clear that most of you, author included, don’t really know anything about the culture or history behind the art of tattooing. In fact you’re more or less just pledging your ignorance and showing your lack of awareness to a greater good that you are missing out on completely. Whether out of fear or just plain bias ignorance you will never learn more than what you think

Chris on October 21, 2006 at 10:35 am

I find it amazing how people with no tattoos, can judge people with tattoos, how about you open you eyes and learn about tattoos, tattoos are personal, often deeply meaningful to the person who displays it, and as for the artists, they in them selves are artists who deserve the up most respect in the work and service they offer, i am tattooed and i do not believe in god, yet i am a nice genuine guy who does his best to be a good eprson in a world full of ignorant, self centered, naive, narrowminded stubbord facists such as your selves, as for the jewish perosn, you of all people should be open minded, hasnt history taught nethin to ne1

stayfreestaypunk on January 28, 2007 at 4:30 pm

I find it interesting that the most vile comments are executed by those who boldly proclaim they have junk injected into thier skin. You are not in need of marking your realestate with proclamations of your inner pain, and demons escaping through your flesh, and marking your protest against whatever cause. I say that because your unyielded mouth speaks of what kind of freak you really are. Why not cut your arms off and really make a statement? Go on! Poke your eyes out and see if you can get a rise out of us normal boring followers. Maybe you should try tattooing your eyeball or the inside of your mouth. See, this way you could accentuate that cheep, (made in China with extra lead) tongue piercing you got. You wise little “Mad Hatter”, You! Careful though, I hear there is new Staph member from your local hospital that may just visit your favorite tattoo parlor. Remember, we must wait 6 weeks to donate blood after that inkling of insanity.
cheers!

embassador on January 29, 2008 at 12:45 am

i took some advice and poked out my eye. now i get laughed at everyday and cant go to school. so im off to afgahnistan. they took me in and took care of me.now i look foward to seeing many of you square boring up-tight republicans. seems a little ironic that a site so pissed at imigrants wud have an ad for foreign brides. are u all really that lonely. and before anyone thinks they are gonna be really smart and point how bad my spelling / grammar etc is, too late i just pointed it out and i cudnt giv a fuck.
-something to think about.

twatface on August 21, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Hello. I’ve read the above comments and I thought it was important to comment. I am a 23 year old female. I have full sleeves on both arms. I have a good job, I fully support myself. I am well educated. I am by no means a “skank”. I do not have a tramp stamp, those are quite trashy. I do not drink, I do not smoke, I do not participate in casual sex, I do not do drugs. I rarely cuss. I’m very spiritual. I highly believe that some of you are quite closed minded. My tattoos represent my heritage and my family. Not all tattoos are vile, offensive and tasteless. Most people who get tattoos do not get them for other people. They get them for themselves. It’s a right I have as a human. If you disagree with it fine, but keep in mind that it really doesn’t affect your personal life when you see someone with tattoos now does it? You see the person, and you dislike what’s on their skin, fine, but tell me, what business of it is yours? How does this affect your daily life? You see it, you move on, you forget about it. Most people with tattoos are very smart and artistic, and this is their way of showing it. I’m sure you have a hobby of some sort, and I’m sure that somewhere in this huge world, someone disagrees with you…On another note, my best friend is a tattoo artist. He is very successful. His work is what kept him out of trouble. He had a hard time with drugs, and he found that he liked tattooing and he has been clean because of this business for 7 years now. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine, but I ask of you, how does this affect you on a personal level? Why are you so quick to judge? Only God can judge, and I think some of you need to come to terms with that.

L27 on November 6, 2008 at 11:41 pm

I’m not sure where I fall amongst the commenters I have just read. I am a jew……who has tattoos.

I know for what reasons I got them and I wasn’t inebriated at the time(s).

Mine are not normally visible as they are on the tops of both of my arms.

I think that a good proportion of the people I have known throughout life who have tattoos, (and necessarily they are visible in normal clothing or I would not have seen them) have issues.

The females seem to want to be coveted (tramp stamps/bullseyes) and the males want to appear that they are fierce and are leading a powerful life.

I personally think that when humans alter their bodies so others are forced to reckon with these physical changes, (piercings, especially in the face, and tattoos on the face and or sleeves) that they are trying to shock and create drama. These people almost to a person have need issues.

I’d bet that there is a psychological issue behind these “symptoms”.

Please don’t misunderstand my motivation for posting, I am no more conflicted than any other post baby boom American brats.

I agree that you should do as you wish with your body, but I also think that what you do with it says ALOT about the person inside the skin.

Hal G on December 15, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Tattoo Power!
Ever watched an Add . She has on a red dress! It’s always a red car!

That’s a tattoo.

It’s all about plumage. Creatures advertise their sexuality all the time . Some just over do it!

jack on March 11, 2010 at 4:22 pm

wow i am absolutely speachless…I can not believe how ignorant people can be! I am a tattoo artist who gave up my white collar occupation to do something more rewarding. I have been getting tattoos for more than 15 years of my life and regret none of them. It is an honor to have an individual ask me to represent an idea in an artistic fashion on their bodies. artistic expression is one of the things that make us individuals, so why persecute someone for the way they choose to live. Are they hurting you or affecting your well being by being tattooed? If you do your homework, you will see that tattooing is an ancient art and can have many meanings. Not just “oh I wanted to be cool and impress my peers”. I do agree some people get things for the wrong reasons but life is about making choices and decisions. Would you want someone telling you what clothes to wear or what car to buy? Most religions are based on loving and respecting a person for whom they choose to be. So shame on you for claiming to be of any religious background and judging someone soley on appearance. Some of the most amazing, intelligent, and well rounded people I know are artistically modified. So no we are not all sluts, criminals, druggies, drop outs, or whatever else you hypocrites would like to call us. Oh and guess what, most of the highly successful people in society have been a customer of body modification in some shape or form. So if you attack one form of body modification, you might as well do your homework and attack them all.

pnkr on May 11, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I agree..There is alot of petty ignorance coming from some of these posters surrounding people who choose to have tattoos..Why should it matter to them? They would do themselves and the world a great favour by taking all that anger and hatred and channeling it in the direction of real world problems.

    siobahn on June 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm

oh yeah, one more thought for the “staph” comment. Intelligent people of the body modification community use only the best jewelry, ink, etc. These things are highly tested and looked into before using. I’m more afraid of what is in our local water supply to be honest. And its a million times easier to catch staph at your local hospital than at any well maintained tattoo parlor.

pnkr on May 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm

It’s a matter of personal taste..Live and let live!..People may not be especially fond of YOUR sense of fashion..but it wouldn’t make sense to hate you for it…It seems as if the tatto-less posters on this subject have many more (psychological;emotional) “issues” than those who choose to have tattoos..Why such anger and animosity?..If you don’t like tattoos, don’t get them..simple as that..Move on and find something more important to complain about.

siobahn on June 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

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