Throughout history, tattooing has either brought us together or drove us apart. When it comes to different social affiliations, some imagery may automatically leave an unsavory taste in your mouth and drive you to avoid that individual. Although one may think they know the person’s background, their character and behavior, and even the meaning behind that tattoo at a single glance. This challenges us today to refrain from passing judgment, although it still does not mean we must hold a space in our life for that individual.
If we sit down with our grandmother, she may help us navigate our thoughts on this matter. Now she knows you and she loves you but she may not love your tattoos. We forget that even though she may be “stuck in her ways” she has seen the evolution of tattooing as a mainstream form of body modification. Tattoos may at one point, have represented a ruffian type of rapscallion. Being less common practice, one may feel safe in their assumption that that individual lived a rough life. Maybe a life of crime, maybe even served time. And she would hate for others to feel the same way about you.
But then we have this beautiful concept called generational divide. Generational divide is the difference of opinions between one generation and another regarding beliefs, politics, or values. This is where our parents come in. They have seen a glimpse into both, your grandmother’s generation and your own. They have seen a plethora of people, both tattooed, and unscathed. They have seen criminals free of ink, they have seen fully tattooed people giving back to their communities. They have seen you, a continually evolving human striving to be good and kind, and fully blasted with art.
So how do we break these generational prejudices? With patience! Next time you get a tattoo invite your mother/grandmother. Show them this beautiful world of art, and freedom of expression. Maybe you’ll soften their heart one day. Maybe they’ll even agree to get matching tattoos! Or maybe, they will continue to think and behave as they always have, but add a little sweetness to their interactions