Throughout history, the use of tattoos has been an important part of many cultures. From Polynesia to Ancient Egypt tattoos have been used as symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, good luck charms and commonly as promises of eternal love. They have also been used to aid identification of the oppressed during the Holocaust and slavery.
This increasingly popular form of body art is widely regarded as the ultimate form of self-expression. Whether intentional or not, a tattoo says something about its owner – and I dare say it is supposed to. However, symbols are subject to individual interpretation, and for this reason, tattoo art continues to be largely misunderstood.
But how many of you would agree that where misuse occurs misunderstanding becomes reason? As the ageless proverb reads, â€˜too much of anything is good for nothingâ€™.
An adultâ€™s desire for body art should be respected. However a misinformed obsession for tattoos, especially among Dominican and other Caribbean teenage girls- many of whom are below the legal age of consent, should be a cause for deep concern, for health officials as well as ordinary citizens.
Increasingly Caribbean society is being infused with a culture of tattoos. It is definitely a new craze- just think of how many women in you knew with tattoos 10 years ago.
Internationally, Caribbean women have been stereotyped as uneducated and lacking in direction and family values, but best at dancing and parading in Carnival bands. Adding to these baseless views are increasing numbers of West Indian drug mules who are labeled as immoral women. These are some of major issues which should persuade us to be careful not make ourselves appear as a group of women who are easily influenced by foreign cultures. Some of us seem, perhaps by no fault of ours, to be unable to siphon the good from the bad. But in our decisions to imitate celebrities such as Rihanna, Beyonce, 50 cent and Britney Spears we must remember that they are fallible humans too.
If youâ€™re going to wear a tattoo for the rest of your life, it should be located in such a way that it does not give persons the opportunity to judge you unfairly. It should also represent something meaningful or special, and not just be a copy of a friendâ€™s or a Hollywood actressâ€™s.
Caribbean women have always been proud to be different, exotic and unique. We should keep it that way!