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Tattoos: The Good and The Bad of The Controversy

By Maddie Ecker, Emilie Ikeda, Janai Keita


The Ink barely dries on one customer before another walks into The Port-side parlor, a tattoo shop at 30 South 2nd street. Tattoos have become a growing craze in Philadelphia in the past decade. Considered a beautiful art, unique craft, or gaudy "crap," everyone has their opinion on tattoos.


On an average day around Philadelphia, you see many bikers, tourists and natives walking around with tattoos. The stories behind the various tattoos represent who people are, enabling people to express themselves with the unique designs. Some people love the unique, artistic look of tattoos. Haley from No Ka Oi, a tattoo parlor at 4th and south streets said, "There's amazing art work you can have on your body and that's what I'm striving for." Haley's been a professional tattoo artist for about three years and is in love with tattooing.


Not everybody is attracted to this type of art. Many people in Philadelphia feel that tattoos are a waste of time and money. Also, people feel that it dirties the body. A father walking by Independence Mall said, "Tattoos are tramp stamps," and Ruthie, a mom visiting Philadelphia commented to these reporters, "No no no! You girls are too pretty to have those markings all over your body, and I don't think its God's way."


To the people who do the tattoos and piercings, body art is their passion. For most, tattooing and piercing is something they wanted to do since childhood. They live and breathe tattooing and piercing and to them tattoos are not just ink on skin and a hole on the face, it's a career. They aren't people who just do tattoos or piercings, they are artists. Kelly says, "I used to pierce myself when I was younger, probably around fourteen or fifteen is when I got into piercing."


Although not everyone likes them, its pretty hard to ignore them. There are different designs and meanings behind this body art, which appears to have swept through the entire city, covering everyone from moms to teachers to teenagers.