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why do people get tattoos?Author(s): miliann kang and katherine jonesSource: Contexts,Vol. 6, No. 1 (WINTER 2007), pp. 42-47Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the American Sociological AssociationStable URL: Accessed: 24-08-2017 03:07 UTCJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a widerange of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity andfacilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available atSage Publications, Inc., American Sociological Associationare collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to ContextsThis content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Thu, 24 Aug 2017 03:07:10 UTCAll use subject to
J2-Q§CDOtõèOO-cclfeature articlemiliann kang and katherine joneswhy do people get tattoos?As increasingly diverse groups of people get tattoos , popular perceptions are often out of synch with the individual meaningsbehind them.Who fect, "24-year-old, gets thin, tattoos, beautiful insecure and supermodel" female why? A who self-described writes isn't a in per- the"24-year-old, insecure female who isn't a per-fect, thin, beautiful supermodel" writes in theBody Modification e-zine that her Pegasus tattoo hashelped her overcome hatred of her body. "It is rearing upon its hind legs with its wings spread like it's about to takeoff, much like the way I want to break free of my self-doubt and start loving me for me." The same e-zine car-ries an account of an operations manager at a BordersBooks and Café who says about hiring tattooed employ-ees, "We look for it. It makes things more interesting andmore fun." While these individuals give varied and multi-layered meanings to their own and other's tattoos, theirpersonal assertions are sometimes at odds with the perva-sive popular interpretations of tattoos as signs of rebellionor faddishness.The growing number of enthusiasts exhibit a broadarray of tattooing practices, from a discreet flower on thehip to full body and facial tattoos. According to a 2003survey by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio StateUniversity, 1 5 percent of the U.S. adult population has tat-toos, and the figure rises to 28 percent for adults youngerthan 25. In addition, 88 percent of those interviewed saidthey know at least one person who has a tattoo.According to U.S. News and World Report, tattooing wasthe sixth fastest-growing retail business in 1997. Whataccounts for the rising popularity and visibility of tattoos?