Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Too Young to Tattoo

August 26th, 2010 by

Tattoos have been accused in some instances of being about personal vanity.  I personally don’t agree with that sort of assessment.  I mean, after all, this is an art form that is so diverse and ultimately so personal that it kind of transcends any attempt at pigeonholing it.  No one ever knows for certain why a person gets the tattoo that they get without outright asking that person their reasons for doing so.

There’s also a somewhat blurred line in some respects as to what exactly qualifies as a tattoo.  Take permanent makeup, for example.  Not a tattoo in the traditional sense, yet it still remains on the body for anywhere from 2-5 years before fading.  Because the makeup does disappear after time and does not remain absolutely permanent like a tattoo puts it on a different level of classification.  In England, anyone under the age of 18 can get permanent makeup put on and that is where a new controversy has started.

Sophie Watson is a 14-year-old girl whose parents have recently allowed her to have her eyebrows, lips and eyes done with permanent makeup.  Watson regularly takes place in beauty pageants and says that she likes having the permanent makeup done because now she doesn’t “need to bother with it every morning”.  The issue has caused people to question what sort of values that this is imparting on a 14-year-old girl, but even beyond that it seems to me that 14 is far too young to be tattooed with anything.

This is a particular scenario in which tattooing is about personal vanity.  If a 14-year-old boy has to wait until he’s 18 (or in some places, older than 16) to have a tattoo done because there is a definite lack of maturity toward the commitment that a tattoo involves, then why should a 14-year-old girl be permitted to be tattooed with makeup, which in some ways is a far more mature commitment than a basic tattoo?  If there isn’t a basic respect for tattoos from an early age – whether they be makeup or traditional – then what’s the point in having laws that dictate when a child can or can’t have a tattoo?  For her part, Sophie Watson already has two very real and very illegal tattoos on her body.  Does this disregard for the law and for the responsibility related to being tattooed have anything to do with the conflicting laws between permanent makeup and tattoos?  Hard to say, but I think that they both should at least be on the same terms with regards to a legal age.

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