10 Irrational Arguments Against Tattoos and my Responses to Them

Note to readers: If you have anything else to add to this list, please contact me. I want to hear your reasons for disliking tattoos since these are apparently just weak arguments from “the lowest common denominator” of people with negative opinions of tattoos.

I see a lot of arguments, questions or statements used against tattoos that really don’t make any sense at all. I am going to highlight 10 that I hear over and over again and explain why they are irrational.

  1. Would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?
  2. Another variation is “Why put a bumper sticker on a Bentley?”

    My reaction to this question used to be something along the lines of, “It’s my Ferrari, and I’ll put a bumper sticker on it if I want to.” But, the more I think about the analogy, the less sense it actually makes.

    The Ferrari is obviously supposed to represent the human body. Every person on the planet has a body, and skin with space for tattoos. A Ferrari is an exotic sports car that a very, very small percentage of people on this earth can actually afford. How can the two even be compared? I am not a car, I am a living, breathing, thinking being.

    If a bumper sticker on a Ferrari is bad, how about a tattooed Ferrari?

    Or a Ferrari tattoo?

  3. What will happen when you get older?
  4. People use this argument from 2 general angles. First, they attack the way tattoos will age as your skin ages and wrinkles.

    My skin will sag and wrinkle in the same way regardless of whether I have tattoos or not. Fine details in a tattoo may become obscured and colors may fade, but tattoos do not run like wet paint and can always be touched up if necessary.

    With advances in ink, the days of black tattoos turning into unidentifiable green blobs are long gone and modern tattoos generally age very well if taken care of properly.

    The other thing I often hear is, “You are going to be embarrassed by your tattoos when you are old and in a nursing home.”

    Considering the fact that close to 40% of people in my age group have tattoos, if I do end up in a nursing home when I’m older, I expect to be in good company, surrounded by others with tattoos. We can sit around sharing stories about our ink and reminiscing about our youth. Some may even continue getting tattooed, no matter how old they are.

  5. People with tattoos are all just sheep, following the herd.
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Tattooed job-seekers may have tough time getting hired

Ariel Rivera, back home from college, thought she’d landed the perfect summer job — until the topic of conversation turned to tattoos.

The 20-year-old Bethlehem resident with a big smile and a wholesome demeanor had made it to her second interview to be a ride operator at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom but was suddenly dismissed after mentioning that she had a tattoo on the back of her neck.

And while U.S. law bars discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, age and disability, tattoos don’t fit into any of those categories.

“No judge is going to buy that,” Sigmon said. “They don’t have a right to a discrimination claim [either].”

The only recourse, for some, is laser ink removal — a potentially expensive and time-consuming procedure.

This is the reality of being tattooed. Employers have the right to not hire you because you have tattoos. You may think it is discrimination, but it is essentially the same as enforcing a dress code. You were not born with tattoos and in most cases nobody forced you to go get them.

No matter how widely accepted tattoos become there will still be people who look at them in a negative way. A business owner needs to understand their customer base and if they determine that tattoos would be bad for business, they can make a policy banning all visible tattoos. Just like they can require employees to wear a uniform, or come to work in a suit and tie every day.

Can these policies be frustrating and prevent certain people from getting jobs? Yes.

Is it discrimination? No.

I think people, especially younger people, don’t always grasp the concept of permanent and we are seeing the consequences as more and more are experiencing this type of trouble while out job hunting. A tattoo is a serious commitment and an appropriate amount of thought must be put into that decision.


Another Article Spreading False Statistics on Tattoo Regret

I stumbled across an article on the Durango Herald the other day titled ‘When Ink Stinks’. As if the title wasn’t bad enough, the tagline, or subtitle, of the article is ’60 percent of people with tattoos have regrets’.

This figure is over 4 times higher than the latest data that I am aware of, so of course I wanted to know where it came from. Reading the first paragraph, it was immediately obvious that the author did a bit of research on the history of tattoos based on her mention of Ötzi the Iceman. Score 1 for Wikipedia. Next up was some statistical data taken from the recent Harris Poll on tattoos. Conspicuously missing from this data was the stat showing that only 14% of people with tattoos had any regret.

Reading further, I finally found it. A quote from Patty Purcell, licensed Esthetician and Managing partner at Four Corners Laser & Aesthetics.

“Durango is pretty tattoo-friendly, but 60 percent of people with tattoos have regrets. I haven’t even started really marketing yet, but I already have a waiting list,” said Purcell.

This is something that I have seen over and over again. People in the tattoo removal business always grossly overestimate the number of people who want tattoos removed and isn’t hard to figure out why. The target audience of the tattoo removal business is obviously going to be people with tattoo regrets. I would expect to see a similarly inflated number if a tattoo artist was asked about the percentage of people wanting tattoos, based on the people visiting a tattoo shop.

The worst part is that the author is obviously aware of the Harris Poll which directly contradicts the figure published in the article, so there really is no excuse.

Publishing figures like this only helps to perpetuate the stereotypes commonly associated with tattooed people. While not a truly negative stereotype, the idea that a majority of people will eventually grow to regret their tattoos is frequently used as ammo against tattoos in general and paints a very inaccurate picture of people with tattoos. Some anti-tattoo people see it as a huge “I told you so” and in their minds it validates the idea that tattoos are a bad decision.

Another important, but often overlooked, fact about tattoo removal is that just because a person has a tattoo removed, doesn’t mean they regret all of their tattoos. It simply means they no longer want that particular tattoo. Whether it is removing the name of an ex boyfriend or girlfriend, or just making space for a newer and bigger tattoo, removal is not an admission that you now hate tattoos. Can you claim someone regrets their tattoos if they have a single piece removed, even though they are otherwise covered in ink?

Until someone can show me new data to prove otherwise, the fact remains that an overwhelming majority (86%) of people with tattoos do not regret them.


Newsflash: Tattoo Removal Hurts, Even for Celebrities

Mark Wahlberg and Megan Fox have been stealing the spotlight when it comes to tattoo related new stories over the last few weeks all because they are having tattoos removed. Here are just a few of the headlines.

‘Ouch! Mark Wahlberg talks tattoo removal’
‘Wahlberg takes children to see tattoo removal’
‘Megan Fox admits removing Marilyn Monroe tattoo has been “traumatic”’
‘Tattoo removal hurts really bad: Megan Fox’
‘Megan Fox: ‘Tattoo removal hurts really bad”

Not surprisingly, the stories of Megan Fox don’t seem to have much substance at all. She was recently interviewed on Jay Leno and spoke about her tattoo removal. Dozens of media sources have taken the two or three sentences about how painful the process is and ran with them. She said that when the laser hit her skin,

it sort of exploded and looked like little kernels of popcorn popping up. It’s traumatic and it’s incredibly painful. They can’t numb it enough to make the pain go away.

It hurts really bad. It’s really painful.

Did we really need Megan Fox to inform the nation that tattoo removal is painful? Or is it that we hold celebrities to such high standards that we forget that they are still human beings who are capable of feeling the same pain as the rest of us?
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