The vanishing taboo of tattoos

By The Chronicle Editorial Board

Tattoos and body modifications are making a steady climb from the fringe, outlaw statement to a socially acceptable creative expression, and it is about time.

According to the Pew Research Center, around 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo, and in the age group between 18 and 40, roughly 40 percent have been permanently inked.

It is becoming clear that this is not a trend or a passing fad, and all signs are showing that the number of people deciding to modify their bodies will only increase.

In past decades, tattoos were reserved for freewheel­ing sailors, hardened criminals and outlaw bikers, but today, soccer moms get butterflies on their ankles and youth pastors have “Jesus Rocks” permanently stamped across their chests. These human canvases are everywhere, and a tattoo is no longer the rebel statement it once was.

During the recent tattoo industry boom, modern tat­tooists have taken the old sparrows and anchors and made them into a bona-fide art form, and people everywhere are lining up and spending record amounts of money to get these works of art inscribed on their bodies one pinprick at a time.

The modern age has made tattoos, piercings and other modifications as clean and safe as a trip to the dentist, and as employers are getting used to the change, there are fewer and fewer reasons not to get inked today.

Our society has always celebrated diversity and indi­viduality, and tattoos and body modifications are the new form of self-expression.

Hopefully in the next few decades, anyone with full sleeves or a pierced septum could be a doctor, a lawyer or even the President in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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