It's been decades since having a tattoo meant you were a member of a dangerous prison, biker, or circus gang, and thank goodness. Because if tattoos were still obtained nearly exclusively by filthy sailors or social deviants, that would mean that three-quarters of people between 18 and 40 were inclined to commit crimes and cause general mayhem at the drop of the hat.
New research from Pew shows that not only do three out of every four Amurricans born between 1973 and 1995 have ink, of the tatted youthful-ish masses, 59% of them are women. So it's not just your imagination; almost all the damn youths on the train are inked to within an inch of their lives.
Still, some tattoo enthusiasts say prejudice against the inked masses continues. Like this actual tattooed person spoken with by a local news team in Arkansas.
Hannah Chamness runs a Facebook page called Inked Ladies of the Fort.
"Being tattooed I know that we can be discriminated against, so I really wanted to shed a positive light on the tattoo community," Chamness said.
That Facebook page along with countless websites and TV shows has propelled this industry to a $1.6 billion business. But even with it being more widely accepted, Chamness said there are still misconceptions.
"I think they think we're hoodlums, but we're not," Chamness said. "We're moms. We're fathers. We're families, doctors, lawyers, and I work full time. I'm a single mom, and my kid loves them."
See? Kids love them. You're alright, tattoos!
Discrimination against tattooed people, as serious as it sounds, hasn't stopped hoards of millenials and Gen-X'ers from flocking to tattoo parlors and turning what used to be a sort of niche form of body modification into a $1.6 billion industry. The Jezebel staff is actually less inked than the general population if Pew's data is to be taken at face; exactly half of us have a tattoo located *sOmEwHeRe* and none of us have tattoos that are visible in elbow length sleeves. I got my first tattoo last fall in celebration of what I considered a significant personal accomplishment, and I admit, I feel cooler now, like a Tween with a brand new permanent Rainbow Loom on my inner left arm that I can never wash off.
Whether you find tattoos fascinating or repulsive or boring or sexy or whatever, getting ink is no longer something sailors do on shore leave; it's so mainstream a form of self-expression that in some locales (like my inked-to-the-hilt neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn) it's actually a means of assimilation (unless we're talking, like, an incredibly well-done piece that makes you stop strangers on the street and ask them where they got their work done like a weirdo). Soon the most noteworthy body art a person can have will be nothing at all.
Image via AP