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Prison Break

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The well-known drama, “Prison Break”, has a fabulous story line and images. Individuals can remember impressive scenes of  Wentworth Miller’s body. Most individuals would agree that huge tattoos were shown and that they were unforgettable.  The beautiful tattoos in the drama did not represent a criminal act as gang members; in fact they represented  Miller’s determination. His tattoos also create an undeniable connection between his expression and viewers today. Individuals also want to express emotions or memories of connections between us, and they may choose one of best ways for explaining themselves by drawing pictures, writing words, or recording.  These are fundamental expression methods as well. These days, personal expression has become a very important skill in certain areas such as job interviews and self-introduction. As personal expression becomes a unique method in describing personality, there are also various ways to reinforce personal expression. For instance, wearing adaptable clothes, taking speech class, and wearing makeup are all forms of unique personal expression. Ironically, individuals may not choose tattoos to describe their personality as their first choice. Tattoos are still considered bad and cause people to horribly judge those who are tattooed. We are scared of people who have tattoos on their body, and we quickly judge them from our perspective. However, if we go back to our ancient histories, tattooing was considered divine and used by many cultures to describe religious beliefs, declarations of love, and adornments. Moreover, in modern days the tattoo still has been used by individuals to express their personality or fashion. Tattooing is not dirty or fearful; it has become the new mainstream in our society.

Although we often see tattoos these days, individuals claim that tattooing is still dirty and dangerous. There is always an argument why tattooing is not safe. The lack of understanding in tattooing is one of the reasons people have the argument. Many uneducated individuals believe that all tattoo shops are not clean, and shops always use the same needles for performing tattoos repeatedly. Individuals also believe that all tattoo artists use uncertified materials. However, tattoo artists typically show the new needle package and approved inks to the customer before starting the tattoo. Although tattoo artists provide all safety materials for tattoos, anything containing chemical material has risks. For instance, blood- borne diseases, skin infections and disorders, allergic and MRI complications are all potential results of getting a tattoo. However, as  the demand for tattoos increases, the U.S. FDA bans harmful materials and provides relevant information for the individual who wants a tattoo such as confirming banned materials, and listing the best steps for receiving tattoos.  Tattoo shops also provide the customer with the comfort of knowing their facilities are clean. Tattoos are not only given in dirty prisons or sidestreets, but also in safe environments. Certified tattoo studios follow a strict procedure in administering tattoos. The strict procedures are provided by the government to keep the recipient safe. For instance, before receiving tattoos, the recipient must complete paperwork that includes the recipient’s name, age and address. Tattoo artists explain the possible side effects of the tattoo to the recipient. By pre-drawing the design before beginning the tattoo, the artist can minimize the dissatisfaction of the tattoos. Tattoo studios follow the applicable state and local regulations and laws. Tattoo studios have a license that qualifies them under state requirement to perform tattoos. When certifying a license the studio takes into account the customer’s safety.

American flags, religious images, and tattoos of names are common types of tattoos these days. It is not difficult to find these tattoos from one person to the next.  We also can easily see visible tattoos on TV shows or celebrities. Well- known English soccer player, David Beckham, has multiple visible tattoos on his body. Individuals say that David’s tattoos are very beautiful, and it makes him very sexy. Many tattoo artists say that since individuals have seen David’s tattoos, they want to have the same tattoos. According to a fall 2006 survey by the Pew Research Center, thirty-six percent of people ages 18 to 25, and 40 percent of people ages 26 to 40, have at least one tattoo.  Although, as the number of people with tattoos has been increasing, visible tattoos are still a social issue these days. One thing is certian-- there will always be people who stereotype against those who have tattoos. They insist that having tattoos means that person has a bad reputation and it is a bad visual influence too. This, of course, could be true, but they should take the time to fully understand the meaning of the tattoo, and they should know that people with tattoos are hurt by impersonal judgment. It seems that there is no shelter for people with tattoos.

The work place is no exception. According to CNN News author, Michelle Goodman, there still have been unacceptable issues in the work place in regard to tattoos. Sara Champion used to be a project engineer for one of the country’s top construction firms. She was fired because her visible tattoos were against company policy. In general, tattoos and body piercings are not recommended attire in the workplace. According to Washington Post writer, Jennifer Harper, “Body art can lead to stereotyping, stigmatization and prejudices in the workplace.” They surveyed 150 people, some with body art, some not, and the vast majority was put off by body art. It’s wise to conceal body art when at work.”By having a dress code, strict company policy prevents people from receiving tattoos, even for their religious practice, or freedom of expression. This is definitely discrimination. As some companies make the statement of policy for maintaining their legal movement, their statement should be confronted with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standard (EEOC). According to EEOC, “the law forbids retaliation when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term of condition of employment.” There was a remarkable lawsuit case in 2005. EEOC claimed a new restaurant manager refused Edward Rangel, a server employed at the restaurant, to keep working. Edward has tattoos for this religion. Since he began working at the restaurant there were no complaints from customers or another employees. Once new manager, Red Robin, came to the restaurant, Rangel was fired because he had tattoos for religious reason. Rangel was rewarded with $150,000 in damages, according to HR-BLR.com (2005).  The unequal compromise in the work place and stereotyping has biased individuals against getting tattoos in our society. However, the popularity of tattoos has been continuously increasing with little interruption. Individuals must know that tattooing is not illegal. It is a fashion code as well as company dress code.

Although, there are huge rumors of the tattoo being dangerous, dirty, and creating a bad image, one thing everyone agrees on is that for thousands of years, humans have marked their bodies with tattoos, for many reasons. Many cultures use tattoos to express religious belief, adornments, and declarations of love. According to Smithsonian.com, JoAnn Fletcher, researcher in the department of archaeology at the University of York in England, describes “ the history of tattoo and cultural significance from the iceman, a mummified human body dating back to 3300 B.C, to today’s Maori, who are the indigenous people of New Zealand, they are Polynesian and make up at least 14 percent of the country’s population. Tattooing was a traditional affair  and was a part of a cultural metaphor for leadership. When a young chief got a tattoo, it was a meaningful moment. The pain and risk of death in tattooing gave the young chief controllable power by the tribal.

As ancient people used tattooing for different purposes, modern people also ascribe meaning into a tattoo such as memory, decoration, and self- expression. A tattoo is not a holy terror of something surprising popping up in our society. It has already existed in human life as history. As self – expression has become an essential part of modern society, the tattoo is truly just an old-fashioned means of expression rising in popularity again. Moreover, individuals have already used the tattoo to remind them of a valuable memory. For instance, my grandfather got a tattoo when he was in army during the Korean War. When I was young, I really hated to go swimming with my grandfather. People looked at me and his big tattoo. I felt separated from society. But everything has changed. I still remember a saying my grandfather told me before he pased away: “To record makes memories.” I have no idea about the Korean War, but I am able to feel a part of what my grandfather felt and learned from the War. One of the best things of human existence would be a memorial of one’s life or experience. Now, I am really proud of my grandfather because he gave me a memorable image. As I have experienced, if someone left a message, men and women could learn valuable information or life lessons. It also passes down through generations. For example, for a person who lost a family member or friend, a tattoo can represent a memorial and remind them of valuable lessons that person taught them. The memorial and valuable lesson is not only meaningful for people who have them, but it is also educational to others forever. It really does not matter what type of tattoos individual have because all types tattoos are able to represent meaningful questions and answers. By tattooing we are able to begin our own journey, like Columbus.


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