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Essay “Communication as tattoos”

Not all genuine reasons for tattooing of the ancient times can be traced nowadays, speaking about modern types of tattoos we could for sure point out several of them. The first purpose was already mentioned above, namely as decorative or spiritual application of tattoos. People, living in a society, often want to emphasize their “status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, or use tattoos as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts” (Gilbert, 38). This is evident, that tattoos cannot be seen as simple permanent drawings, they are normally presenting some certain symbols of messages from a person, who has them on his body. This can be also a person’s attitude or feelings expression or something else.
There is a great number of reasons, why people decide to make a tattoo or tattoos, these can be sentimental, religious, magical purposes, or desire to be associated with certain group or clan, ethic groups or even criminal world. Tattoo symbols and their explanations usually vary in different countries and cultures, like for example “Some Māori still choose to wear intricate moko on their faces. In Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, the yantra tattoo is used for protection against evil and to increase luck. In the Philippines certain tribal groups believe that tattoos have magical qualities, and also to their bearers. Most traditional tattooing in the Philippines is related to the bearers Accomplishments in life or rank in the tribe” (Gilbert, 44).
Nowadays, there are still a lot of negative associations with tattoos. Sometimes this is difficult for a person to get the desired job in some certain fields in case he has a tattoo; not all parents are happy, when their children make tattoos and finally there are some medical prohibitions for applying tattoos as well. There are also cultural distinctions, like for example in Japan tattoos are often associated with the yakuza, especially in the cases when tattoos are done all over the body. Some public places in Japan do not allow people with such tattoos even to enter them. In United States most of prisoners identify themselves with some gangs or want to show the details of their criminal behavior and use tattoos for this. Everybody heard, that the tattoo of a tear is a symbol of murder. Here we are not talking about military tattoos, which are usually done as remindings about certain battles or military units.
Such negative associations were changed in a way by the great number of women, having a tattoo. The researches, who studied the data about adolescent risk groups, show, that girls have positive correlations between such changes of the body and their perceptions of the surrounding world and their self-esteem. Sometimes tattoos are also a good way to avoid social alienation for youngsters.


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