More Than A Fashion Choice: The Everyday Aesthetics Of Tattooing

People say that everything happens for a reason. Indeed, every incident or trend has a backdrop unknown to many people. There may be a conventional, cultural, weird, or any sort of root cause associated with it.

Therefore, history has provided people with every incident of the past to arrive at its significance in the modern world. The early signs of this curiosity about different things start at the school level, where students are taught about arts, revolutions & processes.

One such fashion-cum-art is tattoos. People wear tattoos not merely to expose their fashion level, but there are many cultural aspects attached to it. The history of tattooing and its relationship with the evolving world has made people mistake tattoos as another fashion choice.

People have both temporary and permanent interests in tattooing. For the former use, they use tattoo removal creams mentioned in or similar products & techniques. People opting for the latter use are most probably the ones who have a cultural understanding of tattoo art. The following section depicts how tattooing is more than a fashion choice with some historical viewpoints.


Why Tattoos Have More Significance Than Mere A Fad Choice?

The following points describe how tattooing was a part of various traditions. They will adequately understand how the art form is culturally linked with the past.

Traditional Tracing Of The Art

The art form came into the limelight after the European explorers used them to depict the signs of scarring, piercing, painting, and markings of the body. They were inspired by different cultures, especially the Polynesian cultures. A person can trace back its existence in the Before Christ period between 3370 and 3100 BC.

Coming from the Samoan word ‘tatau’, it has been a prominent art form relevant in Japanese and Indian cultures. It was a helpful way of conveying messages. In Indian history, people wore tattoos to highlight their gender, caste, and race. They also used them as an alternative to jewelry.


Showcased In Old Books & Novels

As mentioned earlier, tattooing art was a major custom in Polynesian culture. Many literarians from the culture have highlighted tattooing in their books. One such piece can be seen in the book ‘Moby Dick’ written by Herman Melville.

In the book published in 1851, the author showed a character called Queequeg with many tattoos on his whole body. He is shown as an upper-class rich person who has many friends. He shares stories of cannibalism with them. The writer uses words like ‘twisted’ for his tattoos.

This book held a significant part in the cultural inference of tattoos. In many cultures, the human body is considered the location of all sins. Tattoos convey this ideology of the body consisting of sins by dropping ink and printed patterns on the body.

Coming Into Life & Trend

In the points mentioned above, it can be concluded that people saw tattoos more as a cultural means than a fashion sense. However, there was not a great awareness level of tattoos traditionally. Its trend and usage came in the 20th century.

In the early 20th century, low-class people like sailors, army men/ military personnel, and prisoners. These people had great similarities in their attitudes, beliefs, and norms. But, they lacked individuality and self-esteem traditionally.


Utilization Of Body As Aesthetic Presentation Medium

People in the 20th century believed it was essential to tick mark two things to make tattooing a successful mainstream choice. The first thing meant that the people in the society would have to understand body adornment and its significance. They should take an interest in decorating or valuing their body.

The second condition for success meant that the people should be involved more in the social events and activities. They should actively participate and cheer for the glamor sector of the society. It had to make an impression in people’s minds that tattoos are the new aesthetic value-adding means to the body.

These things were also more challenging due to social acceptance of body adornment. At that time, a body was used for beauty-change only for ear-piercing. This form was only applicable to women of a specific age.

Community Depiction

Apart from the societal viewpoints towards tattooing, tattoos also came to the mainstream market for showing a class or community. People from the mining community wore jeans to set them apart from other communities. This is how jeans came into existence.

Likewise, tattoos also came into existence to define communities. Apart from its application in community differentiation, the art form was used to differentiate teenagers and young adults from the older generation.


Inclination Towards Fashion Statement

Tattoos became a mainstream form of depicting various ideas, community identity, social status, etc. The most critical thought came that tattoos reflect the way of living or the living standard. Over time, trends & fashions have replaced the different cultural implications and inferences of tattoos. The evolution of the human race has erased the cultural root system of tattoos among many modern generation people.

Traditionally, tattoos were a sign of showing collectivism and a group or community. Today, the scenario has changed drastically. Teenagers wear tattoos for their individuality. They show how special or unique they are. Most of them combine tattoos and body piercings. Click here to know more about Jacob’s ladder piercing. It has reached beyond a fashion choice or community identity.

Combination Of Culture & Fashion

The circumstances have changed for tattooing when the art usage is compared with its history. But today also, people wear tattoos to indicate their rituals and social existence. There is an aesthetic value attached to it.


On the other hand, this body art is irreversible in many cases where tattoos are inscribed deeply covering most of the body. Tattoos have become more than aesthetic decisions. The inking decision revolves around various factors from fashion & aesthetics to cultural diversity. Apart from these, it is a mode of communicating a faced mental trauma.