Tattoos Linked to Self-Esteem
09:17 AM
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.

nice job pat

i love it when a large group of people can so easily be put in a box!
psychologists suck.

The conventional can never understand unconventional ways of being. They fear that which they can not understand, seeking ways to damn it, exploiting the ignorance of the uninitiated to gain control of the masses.

low self-esteem,...mother didn't hug you enough...outwardly antisocial...or, some of us just like tattoos.

low self-esteem? i always thought it was the opposite for me.
i am comfortable enough in my own skin to actually change that skin. i am what i am (i learned that one at a young age from popeye) and awfully proud of it.
plus i like purdy pictures.
maybe that's just me though.

jdL, well said.

Marisa did a short piece on Laura Satana in an issue of Inked and the way Satana talked about tattoos really crystalized it for me.. (ok I just found the issue): "Life reveals your tattoos to you through experience, but you were born with them." The idea of always carrying around your tattoos inside until they're manifested on the skin makes a lot of sense to me.

I think I got off topic...... in conclusion, the "study" sounds lame.

That study may have some foundation, but I think it does completely generalize the reasoning behind getting tattooed.

"...then that means they probably won't ask me "the story" behind them. And that means a better ride on the subway for everyone."

Couldn't agree more! In addition to that, maybe they will keep their thoughts to themselves and won't try to "fix" me with some sort of why-would-you-do-that speech.


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