Students and tattoos: Is the ink worth it?

A weekend of booze, drugs and bad decisions could lead to something a little more permanent than the high.

More and more young individuals are getting tattoos now than ever before. A Pew Research Center study said that about 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

Many college students fall into that age range, yet, thinking about how a tattoo might affect their future may not be their top priority.

Not all students have one-night benders that end in waking up to a new tattoo. Some plan out and keep in mind placement of a potential tattoo—which is pivotal for their future.

An article in Global Journal of Human Resource Management said tattoos have been traced back to the time of Egyptian mummies. From 400 B.C. and on, tattoos have been used for religious purposes, self- expression and a sense of belonging.

Many individuals throughout time who got tattoos were often stereotyped as deviant or criminal.

Joshua Moye is the owner of Fink Ink in Whitewater, Wis. He has been tattooing for 14 years and both of his parents are tattoo artists.

He said about 75 percent of his clientele are college students (ages 18-22), with the reaming 25 percent as locals. This comes as no surprise because the city is home to the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater.

Moye recognized that college towns are filled with students’ impulsive decisions and often guides clients to a less damaging future in regards to getting inked.

He will reject anyone who wants gang related, vulgar or questionable pieces. As well as anyone who wants a tattoo on their hand, face or neck unless they are already heavily tattooed.

Moye, more often than not, will go over the permanency and risks of getting a tattoo. He will advocate for a better placement on the body if the client wants something in a highly visible area.

“We are not just here to kick people in the ass and rob their wallet, we do have morals,” Moye said.

Many of his clients have been getting floral designs and written text as of lately.

Much of the younger generations’ communication has been through texting on their phones, so Moye thinks that is why much of his student clientele wants written text on their bodies.

Communication Professor at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, Tammy French, considers tattoos a form of communication.

French would not advise students to run out a get a tattoo. She thinks living in the here and now is okay, but you cannot ignore the future.

“There are not a lot of things that are cool when you are 20 that are also cool when you are 50,” French said.

Although self-expression is really important, most of us will have to work for someone else in the future and opinions about your appearance will eventually matter, French said.

Philosophy professor, Chris Calvert-Minor at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, has visible tattoos covering his arm that make an appearance every now and again.

He said it is not his place to advise students whether to get a tattoo or not.

Minor said “we all expire”, so anyone should be able to express themselves as they please.

Most of the time his tattoos are covered up with long sleeves while he is teaching unless the weather is too hot for that apparel.  

He got his first tattoo around the late 90s and kept on getting them since. His tattoos have never hindered him from getting a job.

Tattoos are becoming more accepted and less stereotyped over the years.

Just remember— the ink is permanent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *