We’ve all know that tattoos are a form of self expression but now psychologists are getting more than just skin deep. Assistant psychology professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Jamie Hughes, says the practice “is not demonized like it used to be.”
She further adds, “In my field, social psychology, we tend to look at things in terms of group behavior and social norms,” Hughes said. “If a number of people in your social network have tattoos, the attractiveness of getting one increases. It’s one way to be respected by people they respect or admire.”
Some tattoos are memorials to those who have helped change society. Take for example this piece of MLK and Malcolm X which was done by Las Vegas artist Robert Pho.
Hughes further adds that cable TV shows about tattooing has helped increase its popularity while musicians and athletes have long been influencers in the scene. Those factors have strengthened the phenomenon; however, he does say that the increased popularity may have an affect on the Millenials simply because young people often want to do things differently than their elders.
“Seeing it on TV increases your belief that it is a normative and acceptable thing to do,” Hughes said. “Young people want to form their own identity and be different, distinguish themselves from others, so it is part of their social identity formation.’”
Some tattoos, like this one done by resident artist Fernie Andrade, represent their religious belief as well family members.
In his interview he ask mentions that, “I think the main reasons [for the increased popularity of tattoos] are the symbolism and the amazing talent some of these guys have,” Nixon said. “It’s a change in the culture with social media. You used to see it looked at in a negative way with gangs and prisons, but now it’s more accepted.”