Tattoos: No Longer Stigmatized

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For the final assignment in my journalism class, I covered a local current events issue in the Los Angeles area. After discussing a few topics with my professor, he introduced me to a news story that struck me as very interesting. 

The coastal city Redondo Beach is gearing up to introduce an amendment to their municipal code. The amendment would give tattoo businesses the zoning rights to operate within the city.

The first thought that popped into my head was, “Redondo Beach doesn’t have any tattoo parlors?” I didn’t think this could be true, and it might be an oversight. However, research on the topic soon informed me there are no legally operating tattoo parlors in the beach town.

While I thought it was an interesting topic to cover, there weren’t many investigative footprints to examine going into the assignment. I guess no one ever thought to question the lack of tattoo shops in Redondo Beach. If you're looking to get a tattoo in the L.A. area, the quaint seaside town isn’t the first place you’d think about visiting to get inked.

My report didn’t dive too much into the cultural influences on the ordinance barring tattoo businesses from Redondo Beach. This was due to the time constraints on completing my assignment. But, I did wonder about them…

Tattoos have a strong stigma within American culture. Often, they are associated with rebels, miscreants and criminals. This would explain the absence of tattoo businesses in an affluent city wishing to align itself with more ethically conservative values. Yet, Redondo Beach’s recent desire to overturn the ordinance is representative of how much tattoos have become less stigmatized within the last two to three decades.

Tattoos are a growing trend among American youth, and this is true to the younger crowd of Hollywood as well. More and more young stars are sporting them. Some are converting to the trend fleetingly, while others are embracing the art of tattooing with full force.

Stars, like soccer stud David Beckham, film siren Angelina Jolie and pop diva Rihanna, are boastful tattoo enthusiasts. Yet, there are others who opt for a more tamed approach to the trend such as former Disney stars Hayden Panettiere and Zac Efron as well as TV's Glee actress Lea Michele.

Apparently, as we forge further into the 21st century, tattoos are beginning to lose a lot of their previously held stigmas. I think it's possible celebrity culture had a significant influence on this ethical shift regarding the perception of tattoos.

What's your take? Are you for or against tattoos? Do you think they've become less stigmatized? Sound off in the comments section below!

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