The Identity Crisis Under the Ink

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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Tattooing the skin as a means of personal expression is a ritualized practice that has been around for centuries across many different cultures. Accordingly, the symbolic meaning of tattoos has evolved over time and is highly individualized, from both the internal perspective of the wearer and the external perspective of an observer. Within modern Western societies through the s, tattoos represented a cultural taboo, typically associated with those outside of the mainstream such as soldiers, incarcerated criminals, gang members, and others belonging to marginalized and counter-cultural groups. This paper aims to review the more recent epidemiology of tattoos in Western culture in order to establish that tattooing has become a mainstream phenomenon. We then review psychological and psychiatric aspects of tattoos, with a goal of revising outmoded stigmas about tattooing and helping clinicians working with tattooed patients to facilitate an exploration of the personal meaning of skin art and self-identity.

Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. These enduring designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of castigation. In terms of tattoos on authentic bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian after that were present on several female mummies dated to c. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed ago a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5, years old. Following discussions with my assistant Professor Don Brothwell of the Academe of York, one of the specialists who examined him, the distribution of the tattooed dots and small crosses on his lower spine and absolute knee and ankle joints correspond en route for areas of strain-induced degeneration, with the suggestion that they may have been applied to alleviate joint pain after that were therefore essentially therapeutic. This would also explain their somewhat 'random' allocation in areas of the body which would not have been that at ease to display had they been functional as a form of status indication. There's certainly evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from figurines c. Also small bust implements identified as tattooing tools were discovered at the town site of Gurob in northern Egypt and dated to c.

Aim out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. Altogether relevant data are within the article and its Supporting Information files. Around are no restrictions. Available evidence a propos the reasons for people to attain body markers such as tattoos is contradictory.