I'm 27 now, so I grew up in the 90s. While that doesn't seem like that long ago, a lot actually has changed since then. It's not like tattoos were super uncommon back then, but they were still largely the provenance of alternative types, and that's a side of myself that I've always tried to express, even when I was too poor for anything but Kmart style. Even now, when something like 40% of my age group has at least one tattoo, I still feel like they're a marker of individuality, a way to display your personality without having to say a word.
Some people without them (and probably some with them as well) tend to think that people with tattoos are just trying to show the world that they're special snowflakes, just like everyone else. I don't like to think of myself as a type - who does, really? - but I have to admit that I fit pretty neatly into the "retro tattooed pin-up" niche. There are hundreds of girls just in my city who have tattoos, wear vintage, consider themselves creative types, and date guys who are really into record collecting and horn rim glasses. Having visible tattoos used to be a fairly subversive thing, but 20 years from now, when all the tattooed folks my age have teenagers, tattoos (along with flamboyantly bright hair and facial piercings) are probably going to be seen as deeply uncool, the formerly trendy relic of a bygone era.
Of course, tattoos have gone in and out of fashion for more than a century, and even in the "repressed" Victorian era, it wasn't uncommon for a society woman to sport a discreet tattoo or two. It's largely the visibility and public preception of it that's changed. Tattooed women used to be the sort of thing you'd see at a circus; these days, they're on every street, in every office, at every Starbucks. Many, if not most, of the vintage bloggers that I follow are liberally sprinkled with them, if not covered, and sleeve or half-sleeve tattoos are more popular with pin-up models than sleeves on actual articles of clothing.
I used to feel like my tattoos should have a really deep meaning for me, and most of the ones that I have or am considering getting do. However, maybe it's seeing so many other women with tattoos, or maybe I just realized that I like getting them and there are only so many meaningful images I can come up with, but the last couple of pieces that I've gotten were chosen at the spur of the moment, and are interesting, but not all that deep. After seeing the Cross of Lorraine at a WWII museum, I ended up having it put on my bicep later the same day; the sparrow that I just got was a piece of flash, and I mostly got it because it was cute and cheap. I have an appointment to get another one next month, and it's another one that, frankly, I just like.
I wonder if tattoos would be as popular if tattoo removal technology hadn't had some significant advances in the past 10 years. While I have no desire to have my tattoos removed, it is kind of nice knowing that if I ever decided that I just really hated them and had to have them off my body, I could do it.
What are your thoughts on tattoos? I'm sure most of the people reading this have a few (or a lot) - do all of them have a particular meaning for you, or are they purely aesthetic? What made you want them, and do you ever think about getting them removed?
In other news, I created a Facebook page for the blog, and it would make me deeply happy if you like it. I mean, it's great that I've gotten 30 people off of my friends list to like it, but it's also a little depressing that they're the only ones that have, you know? Kind of like if my mom was the only one to comment here or something. Check it out at http://facebook.com/cakesandcakesvintage. (Also, if someone knows how I get a badge for Facebook that looks like my IG badge, I will love you forever.)