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Body Piercing and Tattoos in America

Daylinda Smith Dr. Mc Williams Exp. Writing 3200 October 28, 2009 Body Piercings and Tattoos in America For many people, body piercings and tattoos are on the fringe of society. People do this as an act of rebellion against the social standards. In many cultures, these body modifications have negative or positive acceptance, but in American’s society, body modification, for many decades, has received a very negative response. Nevertheless, body piercings and tattoos have become more mainstream. In many movies, advertisements, music videos, and television programs, people have flaunted their body piercings and tattoos.

When did body modification become more acceptable in America’s society, and is it a passing trend in society? The answer is no. It was not until the middle 1990’s that body piercing came into style because of musicians and celebrities. Body modification appeared in the mid to late 1990’s and started gaining acceptance with performers like Brittany Spears and Christine Aguilera showing off their body piercings in music videos. The Craft, Fairuza Balk plays a character that has a nose piercing. This movie was produced in1996 and is one of the first movies where a main actress has a visible body piercing.

This actress portrayed a teenage girl in high school who would reach out to the younger generation of the mid 1990’s who needed a new way to distinguish themselves. However, this movie is one of the first media genres that would have body piercings and tattoos on a visible part of the body. In television show Charmed from the television season from 1998 to 2007 casted Holly Combs, Rose McGowan, and Alyssa Milano, all three of which had visible tattoos. Alyssa Milano did not only have tattoos but also a nose piercing on the television show.

This television show ran for eight seasons beginning with the main characters all having some type of body modification in plain sight of the audience. Charmed was directed towards the younger generation in high school and young adult audience from 18 to 25 years old. With body piercing and tattoos in such obvious places on the actresses, the audience would gain the perception that body modification had become more acceptable. These young adults would move from the body modification as an act of rebellion to more of a fashion trend.

Movies and television shows are not the only media that display performers with body piercings and tattoos. According to Sally Kubetin, “By the 1950’s and 1960’s, tattooing had become a mark of the marginalized among Americans, becoming a more common sight on prisoners, motorcycle bikers, and gang members—and rarely, if ever seen on Wall Street broker” (Kubetin). The media genre of music has been known for decades to have musicians with tattoos. The musicians of rock were best known for these tattoos. Musicians in bands such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Poison, and many others have tattoos.

Nevertheless, tattoos still received a negative response from conservative Americans. Singers in their 20’s and 30’s like Christina Aguilera and Brittany Spears were some of the first musicians that had body piercings. Singers were the pivoting point for young adults and people of their early twenties, proving that body piercings and tattoos were acceptable in society. Those in their twenties and thirties that are interested in body modification; aid the trend to imitate singers, but it has become acceptable within society to have body piercings and tattoos.

Jenn Horne, on the College Student Journal states, 4“Today, tattoos and piercings have become more mainstream. This study reports the survey of 400 undergraduates at a large southeastern university. Regarding tattoos, 27% (women more than men) reported having a tattoo” (Horne and Knox). Tattoos and body piercings are very popular with growing population getting more of them every year. The different entertainment genres have drawn a new interest in tattoos and body piercings. Since the people in their twenties and thirties have embraced the idea of body modification the interest of these has gained popularity in society.

According to Horne and Knox, “While no national data are available, numerous smaller studies suggest that about 20 percent of young age 18-25 have a tattoo; one third have a piercing “ (Horne). This is due to so many celebrities getting more and more tattoos and body piercings. The response is that tattoos and body piercings have moved from being an unacceptable act of rebellion to a social normal. Body piercings and tattoos will remain acceptable in society as long as celebrities have them and desire these body modifications. Works Cited Charmed. Brad Kern. Paramount Pictures. 998-2007 Horne, Jenn and David Knox. “Tattoos And Piercings: Attitudes,Behaviors, And Interpretations Of College Students”. College Student Journal (2007): 1011-1020. Academic Search Premier. Ebsco. Austin Peay State University. Oct. 23 2009: http://web. ebscohost. com/ehost/ detail Kubetin, Sally Koch. “Researchers Seek To Quantify Prevalence Of Piercings, Tattoos: Are Tattoos, Piercings Mainstream?. Family Practice News. 34. 7 (2004): General Onefile. Gale. Oct 23. 2009: http://find. galegroup. com/gtx/start. do The Craft. Andrew Fleming. Columbia Pictures. 1996

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