It's possible that my high school girlfriend feels a sliver of vindication for her Honors Psychology diagnosis of a sixteen-year-old Pat Sullivan: low self-esteem.
Yesterday, Becky "I Really, Really Regret Getting a Tattoo" Pugh of the Telegraph UK, reported on a study
by psychologists at Liverpool Hope University that links tattoos with self-esteem, quoting that "tattoos are not just fashion accessories, but are driven by a wide range of factors associated with self-esteem."
The odd little article doesn't give much more information than that. And Pugh's assertion that tattoos are a sign of low self-esteem isn't quoted from the study, so maybe it didn't actually link tattoos with feeling blue.
That said, the more I think about it, tattoos + self-esteem is kind of a no-brainer. Obviously getting tattoos and having tattoos gives something to the owner/wearer. If it didn't, no one would get tattooed. And the same goes for tattoo artists. What I've often found, though, is that the heavily tattooed (not just some sorority girl that got a little "tat" on spring break) tend to have backgrounds with little patches (or long spans) of instability or an upbringing that was less like Leave it Beaver and more like Roseanne -- which isn't to support Pugh's snarky tattoo regret, only to "report" my own findings. (And it doesn't mean that plenty of inked-up individuals didn't have the happiest and best of childhoods!)
But to suggest that people who get tattoos do so simply because of low self-esteem boils down the proverbial tattoo melting pot, with its thousands of years of art, history and craft, to a diluted, watery mess. Kind of a bummer, but if people want to go ahead and diagnose my tattoos, then that means they probably won't ask me "the story" behind them. And that means a better ride on the subway for everyone.