Nairobi News


Stop with the judgement already! End stigma against people with tattoos

By Winnie Mabel November 18th, 2023 2 min read

One’s private decisions to modify their bodies is a personal choice that does not need society’s input. But then, we live in a world where some societies cling on to negative stereotypes about people who have tattoos and often voice those stereotypes despite being neither unsolicited nor unwarranted.

While some people go too far with their tattoos, covering every inch of their bodies- including their eyeballs and ruining it for everyone else, not everyone who decides to have a tattoo is a rebellious person who hates being conformed to society standards. Society as a whole must realize the fact that what worked for older generations may not necessarily work for the younger generations. Just because they were told tattoos were some form of witchcraft and marked one as a rebellious person, it does not mean everyone is of the same sentiment.

Society must also associating people with tattoos with criminal activities. Yes, some people call themselves ‘yung’ thugs’ or ‘lil something or the other’, they may have tattoos that are a bit unpalatable but that does not mean they have a criminal lifestyle simply because prisoners are known to tattoo each other as a means of identifying with gangs. Imagine coming across a beautiful, young woman with a large tattoo on her arm or thigh- a rose flower or even a butterfly- would you immediately think she has a criminal history? We must especially stop this particular stigma against males with tattoos.

Additionally, we must stop the stigma that tattooed people are unprofessional and don’t have any career goals. This is a poor stereotype of equating or reducing someone’s capabilities to a tattoo. Some of the top industry professionals have tattoos but you will not see them being stigmatized as unprofessional. Why, then, should busy bees in lower company ranks be considered unprofessional, impulsive and thoughtless; and expected to dress in a manner that will hide the tattoos?

At the end of the day, we must appreciate that people who get tattoos done on their bodies for being bold to make the decision to have permanent markings. It shows their commitment to something once they make up their minds, their courage to endure pain and their open mindedness in going against societal norms. We must be able to celebrate their self-expression and give them our acceptance and encouragement for diverse identities instead of expecting them to be like everyone else. After all, the above characteristics I just mentioned can be applied to various aspects of their lives including career and love life.

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