The Tattoo Subculture

One of the most interesting trends in today's culture is tattooing. Tattooing is an ancient art form that was prevalent as long ago as 7300 B.C. in Europe, where it was practiced regularly (Maloney). Today, people get tattoos for a variety of reasons from gender enhancement to identification with groups, gangs, or ideologies (Maloney). Moreover, because "The body is a vessel which contains the essence of self and expresses it," tattooing becomes "one of the most intimate, personal and profoundly serious forms of esthetic expression practiced" (Maloney). Unlike clothing, which can readily be put on, taken off, and changed with passing moods, tattoos are for all intents and purposes a permanent modification to one's body that must weather future whims of fashion.

In modern America, tattoos were most common, prior to the current rage, in the context of the military-particularly the Navy. Maloney cites Webb's Tattootime 1988 article #3, explaining that, "When you had gone 5,000 miles at sea, you got a bluebird on your chest, When you'd gone 10,000, you got the second bird on the other side. When you made your second crui



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