Up until a few decades ago, the majority of tattooed people were military men. But over the years, tattoos have become much more mainstream and socially acceptable. Television shows like LA Ink and Ink Master have brought more attention to tattooing as an art form, and more and more celebrities are getting inked. Matel even recently released a tattooed Barbie, which elicited no small controversy. At Mills, tattooed people—both students and faculty members—can be found all over campus.
Many of us at The Campanil are supporters of tattoos, and some of our staff members have some of their own ink to show off. Our staff believes that tattoos are more accepted at Mills than they might be elsewhere. Mills is generally accepting of all lifestyles and personal choices, whether you want to keep your skin untouched or if you’d rather use your body as a canvas for all kinds of art. Several of us at The Campanil recall having professors with tattoos. Some of our staff members thought this was cool, while others didn’t care at all because they didn’t feel that the tattoos had anything to do with the professors’ ability to teach. The Campanil staff is all happy that Mills is a place where people can do what they want with their body without facing the same amount of judgment that they might find at other institutions.
Tattoos—just like piercings, hair styles, and clothing—are a personal choice and reflect who a person is or how they feel. Some tattoos are quite beautiful and we believe that if they are true reflections of a person, they should be respected and the person should not be judged for having them. We view tattoos as a way to outwardly express oneself in ways that may not otherwise be visible. Although it may be hard to suspend judgment on tattoos since they are a matter of personal style and taste, each piece of art holds meaning to the person who got it, and that should be respected. We feel that people shouldn’t be judged based on their choice to have or not to have a tattoo.
The Campanil feels that the social stigma surrounding tattoos is slowly dissipating, although it does still carry negative connotations in some respects. In some career paths, tattoos are seen as “inappropriate” or “unprofessional.” While we do feel that people should be free to express themselves and do with their bodies as they please, we recognize that in many parts of society, those with tattoos are still judged. Tattooed people often feel as though they should regret their tattoos, but we feel that if their art is an honest expression of self, they should wear them with pride.