In 2014, the Tropolitan asked Trojans how tattoos affected their current and future careers and found that some prefer to be discreet about their body art.
Despite concerns, an online survey of 2,225 U.S. adults conducted by the Harris Poll in October 2015 found that the number of people with tattoos has increased by roughly 8 percent. While the survey also reported that the three major reasons people get tattoos are style, statement and spirituality, Trojans shared some of their own reasons for getting tattoos.
“My tattoo comes from a guy named Irvin Fisher,” David Hebert, assistant professor of economics, said about how his diagram tattoo came to be.
“He applied it to interest rates and how much money you spend at different periods of life, but I think about it more in a context of trade.
“So, what my tattoo says is that if I specialize in things that I’m good at and do those things well, I can then sell those things to people who are good at other things, and then together both of us can have more of everything.”
Hebert said he got his tattoo in graduate school as a reminder of his success in his Ph.D. program exams.
“After I passed, I was really excited,” Hebert said. “I went to my professor, whose name is Walter Williams.
“So I asked him if he could do a graph for me, and he told me that there’s a great picture of it on the textbook, and I said, ‘I know, but I want to get it as a tattoo, and I want you to draw it.’ So, he laughed and he drew the tattoo of the graph for me on a piece of paper, wrote me a lovely note, signed it and everything. I took it to a tattoo parlor, and they put it on my arm.”
Antonio Warren, a senior biomedical sciences major from Opelika, also has tattoos with history, but he said he did not like sharing the meaning of the ones on the inner side of his biceps with others.
“I got it because it reminds me of something I believe in,” Warren said. “Sometimes, people ask me, ‘What do they say,’ and I don’t tell people because I didn’t get it for people to see. I got it for me as a reminder.”
Besides meaningful personal tats, couples’ and friendship tattoos are another major trend. Felicia James, a senior medical laboratory sciences major from Enterprise, said her fiancée and she got their picture from the famous “Gray’s Anatomy” book.
“We both like anatomy, and I always wanted an anatomically correct something, and he decided—a heart. So, we went to the tattoo artist and said, ‘This is what we want.’ ”
One reason people do not get tattoos is their religious beliefs. Farwa Ranjha, a senior economics major from Lahore, Pakistan, said tattoos are a taboo in Islam for several reasons.
First, she said, tattoos are connected with Shirk, the sin of practicing idolatry. Secondly, according to Ranjha, tattoos prevent water from reaching the skin during the body cleansing process that comes prior to the prayer rituals and render the prayer invalid.
On the other hand, Neha Panjwani, a junior social development and policy major from Karachi, Pakistan, said she believes that it is a matter of personal faith and getting a tattoo would not affect her relationship with God.
Some students, however, do not get tattoos because of the high competition in their chosen fields of work.
“I am not going to have visible tattoos because I know that if I did, my potential employers would pick someone without tattoos over me, because computer science is such a professional field,” said Travis Clinkscales, then a sophomore computer science major from Vincent, in an interview for the Tropolitan in 2014.
In response to this, students say it should not be a deciding factor.
“What they see shouldn’t matter,” James said. “What they see in their personality, their quality should matter, not their physical appearance. That’s ridiculous.”
Likewise, Warren said a person should not apologize for his or her tattoos but should still keep in mind that not all people share the same opinion. For those who do want to get a tattoo, Warren advised to research the tattoo studios very well on their performance and sanitary standards.