Body art needs to be more respected in today’s society

The stigma around body expression from teens and parents needs to end

Body+art+needs+to+be+more+respected+in+today%27s+society+

Margaret Mellott, JagWire editor-in-chief

What comes to mind when you see a teenager with piercings, tattoos and dyed hair? Usually, that person will be given skeptical looks; and unfortunately for a girl like me that participates in this kind of individuality, I receive these looks constantly. I express myself in many forms of body art; I have triple lobe piercings, two cartilage piercings, dyed hair and many more forms to come.

Just like everyone else with this kind of expressionism, I am constantly being asked the same things. The two most popular questions I am asked are “How could you do something like that to yourself?” and “How do you plan to get a job when you’re older?” Not surprisingly, it is adults who ask me these questions – people who grew up in a completely different time than I did. After a while of being asked these questions, I have formulated the perfect response.

For the question that demands the reasoning for my body alteration, I will express myself however I want, because it is my body and therefore it is my choice. I believe that piercings and tattoos are a wonderful form of expression that allow many people to be who they want to be. Whether that be a colorful tattoo, a simple ear lobe piercing, or dyeing your hair bright purple. Self expression is a beautiful thing and should always be embraced.

As for my future, I am not too terribly worried about finding a career. As time changes, so do people’s opinions. By the time I’m an adult and looking for a career, I doubt that my piercings (and future tattoos) will get in the way of my chosen profession. Before getting a new addition of body art, I do agree that it is always a good idea to think about your future job. When getting a tattoo you must use common sense, the tattoo or piercing chosen has to be in good taste. For example, face tattoos and anything that can’t be covered up aren’t in the best taste.

There are varying excuses parents use to prevent their teens from making permanent choices. From “It is against our religion,” to “You will regret it when your older,” which are both understandable. I get that parents do not want their kids to express themselves in a way that will affect them throughout their lives. However it really is not the parents job to make this type of choice for their teenager,  but it is their job to educate them.

So before you judge that teenager walking down the street, or applaud parents who prohibit their kid from expressing themselves through this manner, remember that it was their choice. It is them that have to live with the permanence of the these body-altercations,  not you. Always remember that feeling you had when you wanted to dye your hair, get a piercing, or a tattoo and the people around you that shot you down, and try to not be one of them. Remember you were once young, so encourage others to embrace their youth while it lasts.

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