The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Traditional body art becomes mainstream trend

The perception of tattoos is changing as body modification becomes more acceptable to the American standards of the norm. Over the last 20 years, body art has etched its way into American pop culture, foregoing the negative stigmas associated with it.’

Tattoos stretch far back in time as there is a lot of evidence that humans used these markings thousands of years ago. Used as adornments, status symbols or declarations of love, body art can be dated back to ancient Egypt, to its humble Oceanic origins, to early Japanese culture.

It was later adopted by Western culture, where tattooed symbols became significant to sailors, criminals and bikers. Tattoos slowly seeped into mainstream America until it was no longer a blue-collar practice reserved for social deviants, but a more common form of social expression. According to the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, one in every 10 Americans has a tattoo. In addition, U.S. News and World Report said tattooing has become one of America’s fastest growing categories of retail businesses.

College-age students are the second biggest group of Americans getting tattoos, with the 26-40 age bracket taking first place at four percent as opposed to the 18-25 group’s 3 percent according to the Pew Research Center, an opinion research organization that studies attitudes toward politics, the press and public policy issues.

There are more than a few CSUN students who partake in the practice.

Patricia Lopez,’ a 23-year-old management major, has three tattoos. Her name is scripted on her back covered by a pair of dolphins which she admits is her favorite animal. She got them because she ‘likes the ocean.’ Lopez’s third tattoo is her mother’s name which she has written on her ankle.

‘I got my mom’s name because it was special to me,’ Lopez said.

Body art has become more personal as time progresses, allowing people to express themselves through their tattoos. The concept of getting body art varies from individual to individual, making people feel strong, rebellious and sexy.

Augustin Castaneda, a 25-year-old business management major, carefully chose his tattoos making them symbolic portraits of his life.

‘Honestly, I always thought they looked cool,’ Castaneda said. ‘I always wanted a tattoo. I wanted to have something that I could identify with.’

Across Castaneda’s chest are the letters ‘L’ and ‘A’ with the Los Angeles backdrop filling in each letter. It’s his first tattoo and represents the place he was born and raised. His upper arm sports a grinning character called ‘Smiley,’ and a grim reaper figure with the numbers 3-6-2 etched vertically next to it. He says those tattoos are a tribute to a fallen friend.

While Castaneda adorned his body with ink expressions and plans to add more in the future, his twin brother Gabriel Castaneda doesn’t share the same sentiments.’ The English major doesn’t have any tattoos and objects to needing one.

‘I can’t see myself having some design on my body permanently,’ Gabriel said. ‘I appreciate the artwork and I think if it’s done properly it can look good on certain people, but I personally wouldn’t do it.’

Getting inked isn’t for everyone, especially the select few who don’t want the permanent markings on them. There are some students who prefer a modest personal symbol, like Candice Pruitt, a 21-year-old psychology major, who got hers as a birthday gift to herself.

‘I always wanted one,’ Pruitt said. Tiny black stars intertwined at the top of her right foot is her personal interpretation of ‘reaching for the stars.’

Pruitt didn’t want her tattoo on an exposed part of her body for professional reasons. She said certain tattoos wouldn’t be acceptable in the business world.

‘It just depends on what you get or where you get it at,’ Pruitt said.’ ‘

Although tattoos may not be quite office-acceptable, they are a growing trend making its impression on modern America.’

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