Tattoos VS. Other Body Art
These days, it is not uncommon for tattoos to be associated with other forms of body art. In many areas, especially larger cities, tattoo studios are no longer solely tattoo studios, as they also offer piercings. In combining these two, two issues frequently arise. First, while many people consider tasteful, well-done tattoos to be a legitimate form of self-expression through artwork, a large number in this category also consider body piercing to be unacceptable; or, at the very least, undesirable. It is difficult to communicate this to young people, especially teenagers, when an increasing number of tattoo studios also offer body piercing. Kids will naturally assume that if artwork is acceptable, acquiring holes and rings in various parts of their anatomies should also be acceptable.
A second important issue regarding this subject is that while states generally have strict regulations surrounding tattoos, that is not always the case with body piercing. Even when tattooing is strictly regulated to the extent that minors cannot be tattooed, or, in some states, requiring the parent's consent for the process, it is becoming an increasing problem in some areas that body piercing carries no such requirements.
There are a couple of serious repercussions to this fact. First, many parents rightfully consider it to be a violation of parental rights to find that "piercing artists" can undermine their parental authority by putting piercings in their under-aged kids, not only without a parent's consent but without their knowledge in advance.
Second, in the areas where this can legally be done, there is also the issue of health standards. While the general rule is that a person is presented with risk factors in writing prior to getting a tattoo, piercing artists often allow minors to sign health waivers; although this is illegal, it is sometimes done anyway.
This opens up a whole "can of worms" with both legal and health issues. Legally, minors cannot sign such forms; but the health aspect of it is also worth noting. As body piercing carries much higher and more frequent risks of infection than tattoos, in signing these health waivers the teenager is rarely aware of how significant these risk factors actually are. While the risk of infection from body piercing is high enough in general, it can become even more so depending on the location of the piercing. Having piercings done in areas that are normally exposed to saliva, or airborne dirt, is simply asking for trouble. Yet piercing artists are often more concerned about making money than they are about the potential health repercussions to their young clients.
In addition to these factors, there is also the factor of social stigma. While youngsters may be accurate in assuming that acquiring body piercings will impress their teenage or other immature friends, it is not likely that it will impress anyone else. Even if they withstand parental objections, and ignore the dismay of school staff and employers, they have yet to see that body piercings generally do not go over very well in "the real world."
Whether one is most concerned with the potential health risks of body piercing, or the general consensus of the American population, body piercing has a long way to go before it is considered an acceptable practice. Tattoos carry some degree of valid purpose; in the opinion of most American adults, body piercing has no value other than for its owner to appear less than respectable.