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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Tatted Up

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College is often a land of opportunity for students. No longer under their parents’ roof, they have the freedom to enter a plethora of previously padlocked doors. One opened entryway that college kids are increasingly walking into is the tattoo palor. According to a 2006 Pew Research Center survey, 36 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds have a tattoo. As the number of tattooed persons grows, so should our acceptance of them.
There was a time in my childish youth a few weeks ago when I entirely opposed tattoos, not just for myself but for everyone. I nodded my head in vigorous approval every time I heard the argument that people will always regret getting inked. It seemed pointless to be pricked for something permanent.
Since I’ve been in college though, two of my siblings have received multiple tats. At first, I thought they were dumb. I still do, just not because of their ink anymore. In fact, the more people I talk to who have tattoos, the more I’ve realized they don’t get them for the stereotypical stupid reasons we often assume — like they had a few too many adult beverages one night on the town, only to wake up the next morning with a stinging gluteus maximus. You’d even be hard pressed to find someone with an “I Love Mom” tattoo.
While there are instances when people get tattoos because they “just wanted one,” the majority choose a tattoo for various reasons such as self-expression, in memory of someone, in tribute of something or to show solidarity with a group.
Kendall Villarreal, a sophomore at Blinn College, believes her four tattoos outline important events in her life.
“My tattoos are like a timeline. They show how I’ve progressed from my first one to my second one to my third one to my fourth one,” Villarreal said. “They all tie in together.”
Students also express their religious beliefs through their body art. Kyle Higgins, sophomore general studies major, has three Chinese characters aligned down his left tricep. The middle one, which means “humble” reflects his Christian faith.
“It’s based off of Philippians 2:3. ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves,'” Higgins said. “It’s what I need to be reminded of every single second of my life.”
Despite a long history of being viewed negatively as a rebellious and countercultural subject, tattoos are becoming increasingly accepted in society. An article published in January in the Social Science Journal by a group of Texas Tech scholars addressed the deviance associated with tattoos.
“Individuals who take an interest in and subsequently obtain, tattoos and body piercings are now seemingly part of mainstream American society,” the scholars found. “Once regarded as stigmatized members of marginalized or deviant sub-cultures, individuals with tattoos are now commonly found among professional women, college students, professional athletes and actors.”
Prejudices against tattoo enthusiasts are fading even in bastions of opposition like the workplace. Corporate America still largely remains a stronghold against body art, but we shouldn’t embrace the same attitude. Having not yet given in to the peer pressure of my siblings, I don’t sport any ink myself, but I don’t think less of tattooed peers.
Getting a tattoo is ultimately a personal preference. For those of us who choose not to have body art, we need to respect those who do. Maybe the “Brave Little Toaster” tattooed on someone’s forearm seems immature and ugly, but that doesn’t make them a worse person.
If we go past the surface of the matter, we’ll realize that tattoos shouldn’t be viewed as stains of shame. When you actually take the time to talk to an enthusiast, you’ll learn that their ink tells a story that books cannot. Even if we don’t like them, as a society we’re beginning to understand that tattoos are much more than skin deep.

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