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University students embody the trending tattoo culture

No longer the shame of parent, tattoos are becoming more accepted as a form of art and expression. They are a big part of the cultural landscape in cities like New York. Almost 1,400 licensed tattoo artists operate in the New York area and tattoos are probably better and safer now than they have ever been, more creative and varied, applied in many cases by serious, highly skilled body artists.

Pop star Rihanna wears nothing but her many tattoos for the December GQ cover and spread, but this is not anything new or controversial. While society is becoming more liberated and expressive, and piercings and tattoos become part of mainstream culture, the question still lies, when it comes to tattoos, when is it too much? Kristie Dash, junior, says “I feel tattoos become too much when they cannot be hidden under clothes or when they have big names of people who are not direct family members.” However, other students like Tamara Bonet feel it has more to do with the meaning of the tattoo, “It is a superabundance when the meaning isn’t there anymore.”

It’s hard to look authentically rebellious or menacing these days, when even well behaved businessmen, professors and college students are inked. Tattoos have been used for centuries to reflect changes in life status, whether passage into adulthood or induction into a group like the military or a gang. In recent years, tattoos have also become a fashion accessory, a trend fueled by celebrities. Yet, one must not let themselves be so quickly influenced and think of their career path when it comes to tattoos. For someone’s whose career path is that of an athlete or a music artist, then it is something that would be more acceptable.

However, for the future businessmen, lawyers, or possibly even on-air reporters, they might want to give body art a heavy consideration. Jonathan Rivera, junior, states, “I want to work in the business world one day so if I get a tattoo, I want to make sure it can be covered.” He added “Walking into an interview or a meeting with a giant dragon on your arm or a skull on your neck probably isn’t the best idea. Modest tattoos, ones that can be covered up with clothing, are probably the better choice.”

To some companies it is more about what you can bring to the table rather than what is inked on your body. Lawrence Marcus, president of IT sales company, Derive Technologies, states, “I do not judge possible candidates on anything but on what they could bring to the table, it has no bearing on it.” It also brings to question how tattoos are perceived in the classroom. Young people considering tattoos worry whether they will be judged by professionals like their professors.

University Professor Charles Maryan shares his opinion on what he considers too much… “It’s a site specific problem, there is a guy at my gym, who is a yoga teacher with his entire body tattooed and I don’t think it enhances him.”

Even though many have their own opinion, what is agreed on by most of the surveyed Pace students, is that one must think long and hard before walking into a tattoo shop. Aside from putting long thought into the art itself, it is important to research the tattoo shop and artist that you are trusting to put ink on your body, research company guidelines of possible companies you are interested in working for to get a general idea, and to think about how would you feel about the tattoo 10, 20, or 30 years from now.

A report by the Food and Drug Administration found that 17 percent of tattooed Americans regretted it. And a tattoo that cost several hundred dollars could require several thousand dollars and many laser sessions to remove.

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