Tattoos: breaking the stereotype starting with Barbie dolls

Thomas Reilly

Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

Last month, U.S. toy maker Mattel, Inc. released a new Barbie doll to the collectors market. This “edgy” Barbie sports a pink bob haircut, leopard-print leggings and tattoos that cover her neck and shoulders.

Parents were outraged with this new look, claiming that Barbie should be a good role model for their children and that tattoos send the wrong message. Because Barbie’s current blonde, skinny, perfectly-proportioned self is a good role model for kids who have become increasingly obsessed with body-image.

If Barbie’s flawless image influences children that much, then what makes parents think they won’t go out and get liposuction, breast implants and other cosmetic surgeries that the doll clearly promotes?

I recently stumbled across a questionable statement released by CNN about tattoos. They said a study showed that people with four or more tattoos are “more likely to use marijuana and other drugs, are 10 times more likely to be arrested, and are likely to be sexually promiscuous.”

Many people go out and get meaningless, mindless, insignificant tattoos that give tattoo wearers bad reputations. However, not all of these people are trashy and uneducated like the stereotype portrays. Very few of them are, actually.

A Pew Research Center study said that “60 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds think that the increase in people being tattooed has caused no discernible impact on their behavior.” 15 percent of tattoo wearers said getting a tattoo had a positive impact on them.

How does getting ink’ed suddenly give you the stereotype of a druggie, criminal, or a prostitute?  Tattoos these days are more about creativity and art than their previous association to teenage rebellion.

Nowadays, having tattoos is becoming less rare. A survey from the American Academy of Dermatology said that 36 percent of people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

People can have different reasons for getting a tattoo. Whether it is in memory of a loved one, a dedication to their heritage, an original artwork, a way of expressing faith, or just something they enjoy looking at, each tattoo has a story to tell.

It really all depends on what you get, where you get it, and where you plan on working.

I personally am not a fan of large, obvious tattoos but if I am in need of surgery and the doctor has a sleeve tattoo and a Ph.D, then by all means operate.  Body art should never overshadow a person’s abilities.

What message are we really giving our children when we take away the quality of uniqueness and self-expression? People judge you by the way you look. Doesn’t matter if you are smart and qualified, you will not get a job because your skin isn’t pure. What’s on the outside matters more than what’s on the inside.

The tattooed generation might be on to something here.