Why do college-aged women get tattoos?

Why do college-aged women get tattoos?

College-aged women who have multiple tattoos have higher levels of self-esteem, according to a new study.

They also were more likely to have past attempts suicide attempts, according to the study conducted by Jerome Koch, a sociology professor at Texas Tech University. However, there was no correlation between more body art and depression or thoughts of suicide.

“What we may be seeing is women translating that awareness into empowerment,” Koch said in a news release. “We know women sometimes replace a surgically removed breast, for example, with elegant body art.”

Some women who have gone through a mastectomy wear their scars like a badge of honor, while other women may choose to get a tattoo of a pink ribbon, according to the study. Each of the choices reflect a tough time they might have gone through and more women chose to remember that part of their journey with body ink.

In the study, Koch recognized that women who have gone through depression may also be signing up for tattoos as an empowering reminder or as part of the process to begin coping with the struggles of depression.

“Our interpretation is maybe it’s a parallel, emotionally, of what we see with breast cancer survivors,” Koch said. “We can only speculate what these findings might mean, and more research needs to be done. But I think the logic holds when linking suicide survivors and breast cancer survivors who might use tattoos when reclaiming an emotional or physical loss.”

Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., urges caution before jumping to conclusions based on this one study.

“I think we have to be little bit more cautious in drawing wild, lofty conclusions from a single study,” says Dr. Vedak. “People get tattoos for variety of different reasons – some to express themselves while others to express their spirituality, many do it as a part of organizational obligation while some others register their rebellion via body art.”

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Comments

13 Comments

  1. I just don’t understand why beautiful young women want multiple tattoos, especially when they start to overtake their body. I was sitting in a resort restaurant when a young woman, probably under 30, walked in. She had a fork on one arm that extended to her elbow and a knife on the other arms extending to that elbow, plus 3/4 sleeves and multiple tattoos over her body. I can see one or two or even a few, but I don’t understand why women or men want to cover their natural skin with ink.

  2. Call me old-fashioned, one or two, or even a few, but why do beautiful young women want to cover their bodies in tattoos? I was at a resort restaurant and a woman, probably 30, walked in. She had a fork on one arm extending to her elbow and a knife on the other arm to her elbow. Three-quarter sleeves on each arm, her neck and back were covered in tattoos. I can’t imagine why men or women want to cover themselves in something as permanent as tattoos.

  3. The Lord commands us not to write on our body, at all. There was a time in America when tattoos were frowned upon and seen as a sign of rebellion. There was also a time in America where there was a general fear of the Lord among the population and we held certain moral standards. That was a LONG time ago, practically ancient history.
    As time has passed, America has become increasingly ungodly and there are many signs of rebellion that accentuate our current state. One of the saddest is the manner with which women now conduct themselves.
    The woman was once the refined, antithesis of the man and referred to as the “fair sex” or “better half”. Today, women are louder, more vulgar and foul-mouthed than men. They lack class, restraint, moderation and have lost their femininity.
    In an odd twist, they consider their increasingly boorish behavior as a badge of honor in their never-ending quest for ‘equality’. Tattoos corrupt the God-given beauty of the female body. However, they are the outward sign of their inner mind and heart.

    • Originally Fred’s response started with:
      “…Those kids these days don’t respect nothin! They play with their Jacks and Marbles on those side walk things causing all sorts of trouble with their noise and commotion! Every time you yell at them, “GET OFF MY LAWN YOU WHIPERSNNAPERS!” they look at me like I’m crazy old man! I’M NOT CRAZY I TELL YA!!!! NOT CRAZY AT ALL MR. BUTTERSWORTH….not crazy at all………… Oh, and don’t get me started with the women…and tattoos!….”
      Then we got to read the delectable tid-bit which is above. I don’t know why he edited it down. I’m just glad I found the first part of his rant, so we could place it in proper context.

  4. Sorry, but I have to play English teacher here…the title of the article is misleading. There are only two paragraphs specifically about college age women and tattoos. A better title would have been “Why Do Women Get Tattoos”. BTW, as an aside, most college age women I know who have tattoos were seriously under the influence when getting them, but that’s a story for a different day.

  5. Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., urges caution before jumping to conclusions based on this one study.

    “I think we have to be little bit more cautious in drawing wild, lofty conclusions from a single study,” says Dr. Vedak. “People get tattoos for variety of different reasons – some to express themselves while others to express their spirituality, many do it as a part of organizational obligation while some others register their rebellion via body art.”

    It is about time that a doctor from Advocate take the time to question the finding from yet another unneeded study. I am please to see this type of critical thinking.

  6. Why ruin a naturally, beautiful piece of art known as the human body? I can understand and appreciate the notion of coping and a sense of empowerment, but surely there are better methods. Additionally, what does this say about our society where we have young women who will permanently scar their bodies (and cutting is a whole other issue) because of their culturally-inflicted depression?

  7. I concur with what Paula, Fred, Jefferson and Joe have said , plus I have one more reason to not be on the tattoo bandwagon–the historical reality of the Holocaust in WWII. Virtually all who went to the gas chambers were tattooed as a mark of death and hatred. What the victims of the gas chambers can’t show the survivors do show–deep wounds that are a reminder of the death and destruction of an ideology that nearly overtook the world. Today’s tattoo use may be a deliberate choice to color the body in an attempt to find meaning and demonstrate empowerment, but the fading colors will indicate a misplaced investment that may resemble the marks of those that experienced the death camps–and most likely do little if anything to heal wounds in those wanting a better life. How ironic that the very thing that was forced upon millions in death camps is so willingly embraced today by a society that is ignorant and unconcerned with history. True healing and meaning won’t happen by trying to decorate our outsides, but rather in turning to the only one who can truly heal us from the inside–God.

  8. I am 30 years old with several tattoos. None on my neck or above but I have several. It has nothing to do with self – empowerment, depression, suicide or any type of drama. I like many other women feel tattoos are beautiful and wonderful pieces of art that you can wear on you forever. I have also read the comments above and the majority mention God but most people with tattoos are Christians. One sin is no bigger than the other. You may not have tattoos but what about pre-marital sex, drugs, getting drunk, same sex relationships, etc. None of these out weigh the others. Maybe some of you should just read the article and if it doesn’t apply let it fly. The article is already off base obviously not tested within a large variety of women so don’t add injury to insult with your pushy and fake religious posts that you write before you go commit your own daily sin!!

  9. In response to Joe:
    I smiled as I read your comment. The twists and turns that you took to link an increase in tattoos in the 21st century on the fact that a small percentage of the 20 million people who died during WWII were tattooed is astounding. Many of the people who went to the gas chamber were brought by train. Why aren’t you using that fact as a precautionary tale about trains as a symbol of death and destruction? For that matter, many of the people who were delivered to the gas chambers had been forced to wear yellow symbols on their clothes. This symbol was instituted by the catholic church more than a century prior to Hitler. Why aren’t you warning our citizens about the danger of wearing symbols on their clothing? Starting with our politicians on down, we see that many people in our society today wear symbols on their clothes. Why aren’t you reminding them of the “deep wounds that are a reminder of the death and destruction of an ideology that nearly overtook the world”?
    I could go on. Just because you somehow convince yourself that your specious comments have validity does not make them true.
    You have a right to your own opinions, you do not have a right to your own facts!
    In parting, I would suggest that you look up “critical thinking”. It is more work than just spouting opinions, but in the end, it is very comforting to have a grasp on reality. Btw, thinking is that he best defense against history repeating itself. Good luck!

  10. I agree with Alan concerning the body and the spirit. Often times we find ourselves lost in life because we are alone. We are communal by nature and require recognition of self. The decay of family is one area that use to give identity to us. Today we find ourselves occupied with toys and widgets taking us from who we really are, lonely people
    The family not only recognized us but gave us the example of love. This example was also demonstrated with a belief is God. The decrease in people who believe in God has changed to people who are their own god.
    Tattoos are a byprodict of being alone internally.
    Jefferson is correct in what Dr. Vedak has expressed because it come from a Doctor who understands the psyche. Peace

  11. health enews editor December 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm · Reply

    Thank you everyone for your comments and conversation on this topic. It’s important to remember health enews is a source of information sharing the latest news and research.

    Read the full study here: http://drjkoch.org/Research/Tatts%20Gender%20Final.pdf

    And for more information on our comment policy, view it here: http://www.ahchealthenews.com/privacy-policy/

    health enews editor

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health enews Staff

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