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An Overview Of Tattoos And Piercings Sociology Essay

Tattoos and piercings have been used for thousands of years to show personal expression, beliefs, dedication, devotion, regret, and desires. Tattoo is defined by the Webster dictionary as an “indelible mark or figure fixed upon the body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars” and piercing as “a piece of jewelry (as a ring or stud) that is attached to pierced flesh”. Tattoos and piercings have been used for thousands of years dating back to the Bronze Age. According to DIG magazine, “Some of the oldest tattoo marks ever found are on Otzi, the "Iceman," the frozen mummy dating to around 3300 B.C. that was found in the Tyrolean Alps.” Otzi had 58 tattoos and it is generally believed they were for medicinal purposes. These tattoos were simple using dots and lines and places near joints possibly to provide relief associated with arthritis. The history of piercings is not as clearly documented as tattoos but date back to ancient times. Piercings were once reserved for women and cross-gender acceptance began in the early 1900s.

Infections are common with both tattoos and piercings. An individuals should take extreme care when deciding where to get one on their body, which facility to perform the procedure, and post procedure practices to help reduce the risk of infections. Tattoo and piercing facilities should be researched to find the ones that use the best practices. Are the instruments sterilized before each piercing and are new needles used for every tattoo? If a facility says no to any of these items, it may not be a reputable shop, and one should keep looking. Not using sterile equipment and having a clean environment to receive a tattoo or piercing can lead to a number of infections. According to (Hamodat & Hutchinson, 2007), a 17 year old girl died from infection after by getting her nipple pierced by a friend. This young woman developed Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS) after receiving this piercing. Despite receiving medical care for this infection, she died two weeks after the piercing. Despite locating a clean facility to receive a tattoo or piercing, skin infections, bacterial infections, and allergies still occur. Individuals should adhere to the prescribed methods for caring for this new body modification.

Whether deciding to get a tattoo or piercing through a carefully thought-out plan or impulsive decision, one should consider the possible diseases that can be transmitted through the procedure. According to the Center for Disease Control “hepatitis C can be transmitted through contaminated devices used for tattoos, body piercing” (Davies, 2005, p. D.1). One of the most popular examples of a person contracting hepatitis C from a tattoo is Pamela Anderson. Pamela Anderson contracted hepatitis C from sharing a needle used to get a tattoo with her Tommy Lee. Additional blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted through having a tattoo or piercing include hepatitis B, HIV, and tetanus. These diseases can have life-threatening consequences up to and including death. Listed in the chart below are the definitions of each of these diseases according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website (2009).

• Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges in severity from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.

• Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV infection sometimes results in an acute illness, but most often becomes a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person's broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

• Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 in 10 cases.

Beyond the risk of infection and disease, there exists a negative association with tattoos and piercings in society. Future employers tend to look negatively on individuals with visible tattoos and piercings. Companies such as retail and sales want to present a clean image to their potential and existing customers and having visible tattoos and piercings is not what they want from their employees. Companies that require business casual or professional attire from their employees do not want the distractions that come with tattoos and piercings. In the “Your Chatter” section (2005), Crain's Cleveland Business asked several senior executives whether they would hire someone with tattoos and or piercings. Their findings reveal that employers think that people with body modification are less professional, skilled, and intelligent because of partaking in this risky expression of oneself when compared to people without them, regardless of qualifications. While employed, displays of body art can also have undesired results. Job advancement and promotions can be hindered because the majority of managers find it easier to advance employees that have the traditional appearance.

Tattoos and piercings have been used for thousands of years to show personal expression, beliefs, dedication, devotion, regret, and desires. Tattoo is defined by the Webster dictionary as an “indelible mark or figure fixed upon the body by insertion of pigment under the skin or by production of scars” and piercing as “a piece of jewelry (as a ring or stud) that is attached to pierced flesh”. Tattoos and piercings have been used for thousands of years dating back to the Bronze Age. According to DIG magazine, “Some of the oldest tattoo marks ever found are on Otzi, the "Iceman," the frozen mummy dating to around 3300 B.C. that was found in the Tyrolean Alps.” Otzi had 58 tattoos and it is generally believed they were for medicinal purposes. These tattoos were simple using dots and lines and places near joints possibly to provide relief associated with arthritis. The history of piercings is not as clearly documented as tattoos but date back to ancient times. Piercings were once reserved for women and cross- gender acceptance began in the early 1900s. Infections are common with both tattoos and piercings. An individuals should take extreme care when deciding where to get one on their body, which facility to perform the procedure, and post procedure practices to help reduce the risk of infections.

Tattoo and piercing facilities should be researched to find the ones that use the best practices. Are the instruments sterilized before each piercing and are new needles used for every tattoo? If a facility says no to any of these items, it may not be a reputable shop, and one should keep looking. Not using sterile equipment and having a clean environment to receive a tattoo or piercing can lead to a number of infections.

According to (Hamodat & Hutchinson, 2007), a 17 year old girl died from infection after by getting her nipple pierced by a friend. This young woman developed Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS) after receiving this piercing. Despite receiving medical care for this infection, she died two weeks after the piercing. Despite locating a clean facility to receive a tattoo or piercing, skin infections, bacterial infections, and allergies still occur. Individuals should adhere to the prescribed methods for caring for this new body modification. Whether deciding to get a tattoo or piercing through a carefully thought-out plan or impulsive decision, one should consider the possible diseases that can be transmitted through the procedure. According to the Center for Disease Control “hepatitis C can be transmitted through contaminated devices used for tattoos, body piercing” (Davies, 2005, p. D.1).

One of the most popular examples of a person contracting hepatitis C from a tattoo is Pamela Anderson. Pamela Anderson contracted hepatitis C from sharing a needle used to get a tattoo with her Tommy Lee. Additional blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted through having a tattoo or piercing include hepatitis B, HIV, and tetanus. These diseases can have life-threatening consequences up to and including death. Listed in the chart below are the definitions of each of these diseases according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website (2009).

• Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges in severity from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.

• Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV infection sometimes results in an acute illness, but most often becomes a chronic condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person's broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

• Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 in 10 cases. Beyond the risk of infection and disease, there exists a negative association with tattoos and piercings in society. Future employers tend to look negatively on individuals with visible tattoos and piercings. Companies such as retail and sales want to present a clean image to their potential and existing customers and having visible tattoos and piercings is not what they want from their employees. Companies that require business casual or professional attire from their employees do not want the distractions that come with tattoos and piercings. In the “Your Chatter” section (2005), Crain's Cleveland Business asked several senior executives whether they would hire someone with tattoos and or piercings. Their findings reveal that employers think that people with body modification are less professional, skilled, and intelligent because of partaking in this risky expression of oneself when compared to people without them, regardless of qualifications. While employed, displays of body art can also have undesired results. Job advancement and promotions can be hindered because the majority of managers find it easier to advance employees that have the traditional appearance.

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