Inkluded’s guest blogger, Australian lifestyle writer Emma Lawson, wants to talk about the motivations behind why we get tattoos, with a focus on the culture’s status Down Under…
Even though almost everyone believed it to be a momentary trend that would pass in the span of a few years, tattoos have shown their dominance is expanding with no intent of fading away (pun intended) any time soon.
Although we’re mostly linking tattoo obsession with the hipster industry (yes, we may as well call it that as it has long transformed from a semi-rebellious movement to a highly profitable commerce), the truth is – tattoos have been embraced even by those who are less involved in the ‘rebellious mainstream’.
The fact that people from various milieus are considering getting inked (or have been inked already) – and we are talking doctors, lawyers, teachers, writers, businessmen, economists, etc. demographics – is telling us one thing… for most, tattoos have gone from a passing, decorative body art to meaningful, personal statements, and we can’t say we don’t like that side of the coin.
What is more, as far as the statistics claim, tattoos are now getting more popular than ever. Apparently, 1 in 5 (19%) Australians has one or more tattoos done while the number increases to almost 1 in 4 (24%) when it comes to tattooed women. Hell, even freckles are being tattooed on as a part of the new beauty trend in Australia. Yauza!
Why get inked?
Moving away from the hipster trend and taking tattoo discussion into a more serious domain, tattoos are known to serve as a form of a personal expression of a feeling, ideal, memory, idea, belief or anything that a person considers close and meaningful. Although tattooing has certainly been popularised by celebrities like Beckham, tattoos have always been around, more or less.
What has changed about tattooing is the approach. While the generation of our parents would consider tattoos rude, ignorant and low-profile, millennials have given it a very ‘pedestal-ish’ significance. To a modern individual, getting a tattoo is for sure one of the finest forms of art statement you can get, which is why tattoo parlours are growing quickly. Furthermore, tattoo art has extended from one-word marks to elaborate walls of drawings, pictures, writings and symbols that do indeed require a very skilful hand and an artsy eye (and vision).
Truthfully speaking, it’s not fair to discuss personal reasons behind getting a tattoo. What may be a very significant statement to some, may easily be a caprice to others. That’s why it’s best to understand (and accept) tattooing for what it, in essence, is – a very beautiful form of permanent body art that holds artistic or sentimental significance. As simple as that.
Who gets tattooed in Australia?
Tattoos are by no means confined to a specific demographic group in the Land Down Under, as they are nowhere else in the world. Still, it is no surprise that some groups are more likely to get tattooed than others. According to NHMRC funded study, “almost one in four Aussie men in the 30 to 39 age range surveyed reported having a tattoo. Those below 20 and those above 40 were much less likely to sport a tattoo. Tradesmen (23.1%) and unskilled workers (18.1%) were more likely to have tattoos compared to associate professionals (15%) or professionals (9.4%)”.
Australian women were also associated with tattoo trend, with tattoos being “more prevalent among women in the 30 to 39 age range compared with women who were less than 20 and those above 40 years of age”.
Additionally, “women with postsecondary education were also less likely to have been tattooed. Among women, unskilled workers (17.3%), tradespersons (14.9%) and associate professionals (15.9%) were equally likely to have tattoos compared to professional women (9.8%)”.
As tattoos are still considered by some a ‘dangerous’ form of art, they are also associated with bad habits like cannabis use, smoking, drug use and promiscuity. With that in mind, both women and men who enjoy the art of tattooing are often linked to the above-mentioned types of behaviour.
Also, it is important to mention that some people get tattoos as an impulsive action (usually when they are young) while others decide on their art only after giving it a careful thought.
Regrets behind the ink…
It is fair to say that Aussies have a love-hate relationship with their tattoos, the same as other nations. The reasons behind regretting a tattoo in the first place are plenty and multifaceted.
For some, certain tattoos may have played a (significant) role for a while, but with their lives and beliefs changing over time, so did their viewpoints on the inked art. To others, things that make them lean towards tattoo removal are more practical – new jobs, religious conversion, marrying into a more conservative family, or changing careers.
Whatever the reasons are, it is not unusual for the tattooed to passionately want their tattoos removed, almost as passionately as they wanted them inked in the first place. In such a climate, it is safe to say that laser tattoo removal in Sydney is as popular as inking itself is – although with a different spin. It is also true that costs of tattoo removal can be significantly higher than the cost of getting a tattoo in the first place. Still, when the need for removal strikes – no cost is too much.