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Are Tattoos Becoming Cliche?

Q) Hi Jinxi, I have started making plans to get my first tattoo and am really excited about it. My sister is opposed to my decision because she thinks that so many people have tattoos now that they have become cliché. What are your feelings about this? - Jenna
A) Thanks for the great question, Jenna. A few weeks ago, I wrote about getting tattooed when your loved ones disapprove, so you might want to read this post at some point too; but that aside, I will address the cliché topic here.
As with all things, I know that different people will have different viewpoints on this topic, but here goes mine. It is true that tattoos are becoming more widespread, more (dare we say) "normal," and more visible. The number of tattoo collectors continues to rise each year. Does that mean that they are becoming cliché? Does it mean that they lose their "special" factor just because more of those among us wear them? I don't think it does.
I look at the increase in the amount of skin being inked as a positive thing and I don't feel like it takes away from my collection, or the reasons that I get tattooed, in the slightest. I get tattooed for me. I love adorning my skin with artwork. I love the whole process that it entails. I love the permanent reminder that each piece carries with me. If others around me are doing the same thing, then I see that as a good thing.
Maybe some people get tattoos as a fashion accessory. Maybe some get them as a tribute to someone or something that meant a lot to them. Maybe some people get them just to garner the tattoo experience. I don't see why it really matters. As long as each collector is thoughtful about the process, takes safety into consideration, is prepared to always wear their artwork, and feels ready to enter the "World of The Inked," who are we to tell them that it is trite?

I once heard someone say that, "Once something becomes cool, it becomes ubiquitous, which kills the cool." I guess that can be true in many facets of pop culture, but I just don't see it that way in regards to tattoos. Making the commitment of wearing ink is not like buying a purse that is hot now, but will be old-hat before you know it. It's not like getting your hair cut a certain style, that will soon enough seem passé; it's a permanent measure and not a fad. For this reason, I tend to be really big on reminding people to take their time before leaping in. Do research, be educated, and trust your inner self.

When I see the way that my kids and many of their friends view tattoos nowadays, without the prejudice that some generations carry, I see it as such a positive step in the right direction. I hope when their generation is my age that tattoos are commonplace enough that they can be visible in more career settings and appreciated more for their beauty, than vilified because they are misunderstood. I know this will take time, but I see that day becoming more and more plausible. So the fact that more people are inked in today's world, just means that we are inching closer to this possibility.
I guess the concept of "cliché-ness" is all in the eye of the beholder. I've always been one to just go with what I like, no matter what others around me think. If I dig a band when they are obscure and unknown, then I still dig them if they make it big (though it is a bummer when ticket prices go up). If my style is out of whack with the fashion magazines (which it usually is), then come what may; I'm wearing what I like. If my hairstyle is outdated (oh, wait, that example won't work) ...

My point is, get tattooed for the right reasons. Do it for you and none of the notions that others might have will matter.
Happy Inkin'!

Last updated on January 16, 2012 by Jinxi Boo