Tattoos are nothing new, in fact civilizations have been performing tattoos since thousands of years ago, evidence of which can be seen when you look into the past histories of the Mayans, the Incas and in other cultures such as tribes in New Zealand and Hawaii to name just a few. In the modern age however, tattoos have not always been accepted in society but in the last 3 decades we have seen a marked increase in the level of acceptance in society, and popularity of tattoos. I spoke to industry expert Douglas Grady in New York on why tattoos are now accepted, and how this change came about.


During the 60s and onwards, those who had tattoos were frowned upon because they were seen as rebels. Those who had tattoos were generally criminals or rock stars, both of which were viewed by society as scary people indeed. Throughout the 80s, tattoos were heavily linked to the punk culture and those who had tattoos were forced to either embrace them and be branded by society, or hide them away. Gradually however, throughout the 90s, more and more people started to get tattoos and as with anything in society, they were forced to be accepted.

Increased Quality

Another notable change in the world of tattooing is the increased ability of tattoo artists and the better tools which they have at their disposal. As this change continued, tattoos became a form of art, with many people looking to get unique pieces of art added to their bodies. The beauty of the tattoo was born, and again this also helped to push a wider acceptance of people with tattoos.


Fashion has always played a key role in what is accepted and what is not, and throughout the last 2 decades we have seen tattooed men and women take a prominent role in the fashion world. Naturally as high fashion filters down through society, acceptance comes with it as more and more people become influenced by what they are seeing in the fashion world.

Popular Culture

In the media we have seen a heavier focus on tattoos with TV shows which are dedicated to viewing tattoo parlors and watching some of the incredible men and women who perform the tattoo artwork. Once again this is something which heavily inspires and influences us, which is why there are more people getting tattoos than ever before.

Drip Feeding

Acceptance works in small parts and for tattoos, we have seen every generation increase the amount of tattoos which they have. The reason why this is more acceptable is because the older generation were one of the first to break barriers with tattoos, and so they are of course more accepting of the younger generation getting tattoos. For example for many years, the workplace was a tattoo-free zone, but now the bosses of these workplaces are those who accepted tattoos when they were younger, and so now these workplaces are more than welcoming of tattoos.