Tattoos covering more skin

By Aurora Schnorr

DeKALB | There was a time when tattoos were uncommon. Now, a short walk around campus provides hundreds of examples of inked skin art. From dainty foot tattoos to tribal armbands, the times are changing.

The last large-scale tattoo survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2008 found that 14 percent of the U.S. population has a tattoo. But even with the popularity of tattoos, there is still a stigma that comes with making your body a personal canvas. Many businesses have dress codes and company policies that prohibit visible tattoos.

“I wouldn’t like [visible tattoos] on a female; it’s not professional,” said junior pre-nursing major Desirae McCrainey. “On guys it doesn’t look professional, but it really looks trashy on females.”

“It depends on where and how you carry yourself,” said junior special education major Ebonie Johnson. “I see a lot of people in professional environments with tattoos. It just depends on how big and where it is.”

Slowly, tattoos are becoming more accepted in the social and business arena. Even the military changed their policy on tattoos. In 2006 the army began allowing tattoos on the hands and back of the neck, areas previously prohibited. Women in the military are now allowed to have permanent makeup tattooed on, as long as it “compliments the uniform.”

But what is it that attracts millions of people per year to pay to be stabbed repeatedly with a glorified ink pen? According to the Harris Poll, 31 percent of people feel sexier with their tattoo, and 19 percent feel more attractive and stronger.

“When I wear heels it looks really cute with my outfit. It pops out,” said Jacqueline Bujacz, junior media communications major, about her colorful foot piece.

But her tattoo means more than just pepping up an outfit; it includes a five-point star representing her family and a smaller star representing her best friend. “It signifies being able to brighten up your own day,” she said.

NIU students will be able to enjoy tattoo art without the pain by heading over to the Jack Olson Gallery in the Visual Arts Building. Visiting artist Jeff Crisman will be speaking tonight at 5 p.m.