UC Berkeley Web Feature
Body art: Are tattoos and piercings in or out? Are you pro or con?
BERKELEY – Although these days it's hard to remember which came first, low-rise jeans or the lower-back tattoos they reveal, there was once a time when every Peet's barista did not have a nose ring. Has body art (that's tattoos and non-earlobe piercings, for those of you who haven't left the house in 20 years) become just another fashion accessory? And if so, is it waning in popularity? We asked 10 Berkeley students and staff what they thought.
|'Body art is still in — so many celebrities have
tattoos and piercings that it seems everywhere. In the future it's
going to be more accepted in the business world: it has to be, what
with all the young people who are getting tattoos that they won't be
getting removed. I've always been attracted to body art. I have two
tattoos: one that I've had for two years that's kind of a snapshot
in time, it changes significance as my relationships change, and another
that I've had for a year and a half that symbolizes my belief in activism,
in fighting for a cause.'
—Uyen Le, third-year political science and mass communications major
|'I saw more people with lots of piercings and tattoos
a couple of years ago, when I was a younger student and the people
I hung out with were more intensely radical. Now, I think we're trying
to look more established.'
—Nicholas Klick, fourth-year interdisciplinary studies major
|'I think it's on the way out. I haven't seen as many
in the last few months. It was definitely a big thing for a few years,
but maybe people are realizing there are less permanent ways of expressing
—Christine Huang, third-year biochemistry major
|'They're on a downward slide, although not quite out
yet. In another year or two I think some people will be regretting
what they've had done. I don't regret my tattoo, exactly, but if I
could go back in time I might not have gotten it. I'm not going to
spend a lot of money to have it removed though.'
—Jason Hanrahan, third-year religious studies major
|'Regardless of whether it's in or out, I think that
as long as people put a lot of thought into it first, they should do
what they want.'
—Christine Hoff, second-year architecture major
|'I say it's in, because I have a tattoo and I have
my bellybutton pierced and my ears. I got my tattoo three years ago.
I always wanted one, and one day my freshman year I just decided to
do it. I had a break between classes and I went to Wicked and got a
butterfly on my back. I might get one more; I'm still thinking about
—Candice Elder, third-year political science major
|'I have several tattoos, and I'm glad I got all of
them except for this one on my hand. It's a gang symbol. I got it when
I was in the gang and now I'm not. Because of it, people in my old
neighborhood are always asking what I did, and I don't want to talk
about it. I'm going to have it removed. People should only get tattoos
that mean something to them, that they're sure they won't regret.'
—Vi Nguyen, UC Berkeley staff member
may be going out, but tattoos will always be around. I'm taking a historical
approach: if it's been good enough for people like the Maoris for thousands
of years, it's good enough for me. It did take me 20 years to
decide what to get, but I have never regretted it for one second. I
have the inscription from Tolkien's One Ring around my ankle, and I'm
still in love with it. I've thought of getting another one, but there
isn't a design that's blowing my hair back yet.'
—Jean Smith, assistant to the Associate Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs