Simpson Ink


by Matt Bower

Painting or decorating the body in the form of tattoos has often been seen as controversial, but it’s becoming a popular means of self-expression for more and more young people these days.

“[Tattoos] used to be a rarity, but lots of people our age are getting them,” junior Jen Chambers said.

Chambers and her mom had recently planned to get the same tattoo over spring break, but at the last minute her mom backed out.

“My mom didn’t want one because most people her age don’t have them,” Chambers said. “She sees them as irresponsible, but I don’t consider myself to be irresponsible.”

Chambers currently has two tattoos and is planning on getting at least one more.

She has a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for friend with a light-blue, dark-blue flower representing Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her friend also has the same tattoo.

Chamber’s second tattoo is a butterfly with the letters “AUS” underneath it, that stands for Australia.

“[The butterfly] was the first one I got,” Chambers said. “I travel a lot and initially I wanted to get one in each country I visited, but then I decided I didn’t want to be covered in tattoos.”

Chambers said she likes the butterfly the most because she can cover it up easier and won’t regret it when she’s older.

“[Tattoos] make people unique for sure,” Chambers said. “It’s a good form of self-expression.”

Career Specialist Jennifer Crow, who has eight tattoos herself, said self-expression is one of the many reasons people choose to get tattoos.

“I know some [people] get them as a form of remembrance of somebody or as a form of self-expression,” Crow said. “And I’m sure somewhere along the line there is rebellion for some folks.”

Getting a tattoo as a form of remembrance of somebody may not be as popular as self-expression or rebellion, but that’s exactly what sophomore Danny Heggen did when he got his tattoo.

“My friend Zach died of brain cancer and I got it in memory of him,” Heggen said. “It’s his initials, ‘ZR,’ with angel wings, a checkered design like you see on Vans shoes, and the years 1985-2004.”

Heggen said it’s nice to have the tattoo there to remind him.

“It makes me realize each day is worth living because anything can be taken from you,” Heggen said.

Heggen said, even though getting the tattoo was painful, it was worth it.

“It was fairly painful because the back of the arm is a tender spot, but it was worth it,” Heggen said. “It wasn’t a major aspect of it though; it’s one hour of pain versus one year of pain my friend went through.”

Crow said more sensitive areas tend to be more painful, but overall it’s more of an annoyance rather than anything else.

“It’s not that bad,” Crow said.

Chambers described it as an addictive pain.

“It hurts, but it’s not unbearable,” Chambers said.

Crow said she got her first tattoo because she always wanted one and it seemed like the right time to do it.

“The most important one is the tattoo of two intertwined hearts because I had that done just before my husband shipped off to Iraq,” Crow said. “[But] my favorite is the one of two dolphins because they were hand-drawn by a friend of mine and they remind me of where I grew up.”

The other six tattoos Crow has are: a butterfly, an iris, a star, a rose, a lizard and the Chinese symbol for big sister.

“I definitely plan on getting at least one more,” Crow said. “I’m thinking an anklet. I want to work a shamrock in there somehow, it’s in development.”

Heggen said going through the process of getting the first tattoo motivated him to get more.

“Usually it’s the first real thing you can do, away from mom and dad, on your own,” Heggen said. “It’s a decision you have to make to want something that will be permanent.”

Heggen said at first his mom wasn’t too sure about it, but she understood and accepted it.

“I did it for me, not for everyone else as something everyone can see and look at,” Heggen said.

Crow said her parents were cool with it and she even took her sister to get her first tattoo.

“My mom expected it from me,” Crow said.

However, not everyone is cool with tattoos. There are those who view tattoos in a negative light and don’t approve of them.

Crow said she knows there’s been some concern with tattoos and piercings as a form of self-mutilation.

“For awhile tattoos were associated with punks and more rebellious people, but I would say they are more popular these days,” Crow said. “You’d be surprised who has tattoos. I know lawyers, doctors, and nurses who have them. A youth minister friend of mine even has four.”

Crow said even though people might not understand or approve of tattoos, they should not judge those who have them based on preconceived notions.

“Tattoos do not make a person and I think it’s important to remember that,” Crow said.