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CAMPUS LIFE
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To tattoo or not to tattoo, FAU students, faculty and staff answer the question
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By NATALIE SAWZAK and JULIE De STEFANO
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Previous generations generally frowned on tattoos.

Robert Bailyn, visiting distinguished professor of journalism, was among that group.

“In my generation, looking down our long, middle-class noses, tattoos were something reserved for sailors, bikers, freaks and persons dwelling on the lower and outer edges of respectable society,” he said.

Many of today’s Florida Atlantic University students have a far different view toward tattoos.

“In a survey of 100 students, 33 said they had tattoos and 67 said they didn’t. Out of the 67 not inked, 58 percent said they would consider getting one.

When asked if tattoos are cool, 69 percent said yes. Eighty-six students believed tattoos are rising in popularity and acceptance.

Students offered varied opinions about getting tattoos.

“Tattoos are emblematic of American conspicuous consumer culture like brand-name brand clothing,” said Erick Verran, a junior. He said many young people who get tattoos are “falsely promoting the idea of individuality.”

A number of students called tattoos are “immature,” and even questioned their appeal. Professor Bailyn was even more critical.

“Personally, I see no need to mutilate the human body,” Bailyn said. “We are all subject to enough cuts and bruises in our lives without gratuitously self-inflicting more. A well-toned human body is a thing of art in itself, as witness the sculpture of Michelangelo, for example.

Students who believe tattoos are cool listed numerous reasons.

“Tattoos are used to signify milestones in one’s life--something a person has accomplished. The also serve as memorials or tributes to loved ones or symbols of an individual and how he or she has grown or changed as a person,” said Andreanna DiBenedetto, a junior.

Most students said tattoos were a form of self-expression or symbolic of life in some way.

Sophomore Daniel Austin said the flag of Ireland tattoo on his back is a tribute to his heritage.

“My origins are a part of who I am, why can’t I get them tattooed on me permanently?”

Nicole Lopez, a tattoo artist at Rock-A-Billy tattoo parlor located in Sunrise, says she views tattoos as a milestone marker or a rite of passage.

“I think older people automatically judge people with tattoos because they are different. They are not used to evolving as humans and do not understand the art behind it.”

Tattoos are not reserved for the young and reckless. FAU faculty members also take advantage of this wider acceptance.

Tattoos are about expressing yourself, what makes you an individual. It expresses what tribe you believe yourself to be a part of,” assistant professor of sociology Ryan Moore said.

Then he revealed his tattoo, a punk rock Buddha.

“This is an expression of legions to punk rock and Buddha. It represents what I believe myself to be.”

Vada Taylor, the secretary and advisor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, is proud of her body art.

“I have five tattoos,” Taylor said. “The first one I got was Tweety Bird on my left ankle. Really, it was my husband who got me into this whole addiction. He is completely covered with them.”

Taylor agrees tattoos are more common these days.

“I work part-time at Wal-Mart, and I was helping an extremely old couple. They actually complimented me on the tattoo I have on my arm. I was shocked because older people are usually more conservative and tend to feel it isn’t right to destroy what the Lord gave you.”

Taylor said this is a perfect example of the change in attitudes toward tattoos in today’s society--proving they are not reserved for bikers and sailors anymore.

“It’s just something normal to do nowadays, I guess,” Taylor said.

 
 

 
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