If you still don’t have a tattoo, you’re close to being in the minority. An anthropologist at the University of Northern Iowa says a new survey finds four in every ten Americans have some sort of body art. UNI’s Kim Taylor, collections manager of the University Museum, says tattoos, piercings and other bodily adornments continue to grow in popularity.
Taylor says, "I have always been in awe of body art. At the time I became an anthropologist, I graduated in the early 1990s, body art started to become more and more significant in our culture, but I was first introduced by what other cultures did around the world so I became really interested when it started to become popular in our own culture."
For a new exhibit at the museum on the Cedar Falls campus, Taylor says she’s done several interview with the owners of area tattoo shops. Taylor says, "Now a good part of their clients are the college students but they also get mothers and daughters that go in together to get tattooed. They tattoo 60 to 70-year-old bodies, people that have never gotten tattoos in their lives that are coming in."
Several decades ago, about the only people in the U.S. with tattoos were veterans, but in the 80s and 90s, Taylor says that started to change. Now, she says body art is much more widely accepted — and enjoyed.
She says, "Most of it we don’t see. The more flamboyant examples are a lot of the guys working in the tattoo shops but most people, you’d be surprised how many people (are tattooed). We have staff members here at the museum that sport tattoos." The exhibit called "Body Art: Adornment Across Cultures" opens September 10th, focusing on tattooing, piercing, scarification, body painting and hair styling.