The time when tattoo was a sign of rebellion and maginality has ended. Your accountant may wear a young virgin riding a red dragon under his suit…you never know! In the begining it was a sign of tribal membership, then a sign of virilty. Nowadays women get tattooed too in the most intimate places of their body. If tattooing is an Art it’s also almost a medical act wich consist in injecting ink 1 millimeter under the skin. A tattoo machine stings 3500 time per minute. some say that ones you’ve taste it you want to do it again. Tattoos are like the cafÈ’s terasses: you see them everywhere in summer!
This seasonal unveiling is almost the only way see the magnitude of the recent expension of tattoo. Some think that 15% of the swiss are tattooed but it’s almost impossible to find reliable statistics because tattoo stay a realy private game between the visble and the hidden. The anthropologist Davis Le Breton explains “today tattoo belongs more to a culture than to a fashion. Tattoo as piercing are a new kind of jewelry. They are ways to beautify one’s body like there are ways to do your hair. In certain schools you can count the kids without piercing nor tattoos.
Tattoo culture moved to the sport culture. In three years a lot of football player, tennis player got their body marked with relatively important design. The young generations have made of piercing the emblem of their class of age. We can say that tattoo dates of the begining of humanity. The adornement of the body for riligious, ritual, aesthetic or others reasons since the origin of human condition.” So the tattoo is an old friend of humanity but it had some probleme with the judeo-christian civilisation even if hte first christians got tattooed with religious symbols. Davis Le Breton:” The Bible for exemple says that it’s unthinkable to change the body which is the object of god’s creation. So there are very precise commandements prohibiting the adornments in the form of a tattoo or other.
The true renewal or tattoo in our western countries was in the middle of the 18th century when Cook’s sailors discovered the pacific aboriginals with hteir splendids body adornment. Sailors will imitate them and stream the culture of tattoo in all the ports of the world. Since then tattoo culture will go into the side of the misfits and criminals later in the workers culture. So for a century will ahve a bad reputation. The true coming back of tattoo in a large scale in the west was in the 60’s and 70’s. First the bikers and the Hell’s Angels, then it was recycled by the hippies, the punks comleted it with piercing and finally almost everyone tryed it. Tattoo is nowadays a statement of individuality mixed with tribalism, it’s a little dream that never leaves us.