Why do people get tattoos

5 women prove that tattoos get more and more beautiful from 50

“You'll regret that in a few years” is one of the most common phrases people hear when they consider getting a tattoo at a young age. The idea behind this is that a tattoo that looks fresh and radiant on a twenty or thirty year old will turn into a faded and blurred image on old skin over time. But this assertion is not only age-discriminatory, it is also closely linked to the idea of ​​how women should present themselves after a certain age. In addition, when the keyword “tattoo” comes to mind, some people still think of male sailors and criminals. Older women with ink under their skin still have to struggle with both sexist and age-discriminatory prejudices.
Although tattoos are now de facto nothing unusual: According to a representative survey, more than a seventh of Germans are tattooed. This number continues to rise, especially among the younger ones. So you could think that tattoos have arrived in the middle of society. But that doesn't seem to be the case for women over 50.
Whether you get tattooed out of an impulse, the motivation behind it has profound personal or just aesthetic reasons, tattoos leave permanent traces on our skin. The fact that women choose to do what they think is right with their bodies is always a reason to celebrate, no matter how old they are. Fortunately, there are more and more older women who are open about their tattoos. We met five of them and asked them about the stories behind their body art.
Blue, 54, owner of The Blue Tattoo
In 1983, at the age of 19, Blue got her first tattoo: a black heart with a dagger. The motif was inspired by their favorite song "Black Heart" from the new wave band Marc and the Mambas. None other than tattoo legend Bob Roberts, who at that time had been working as a professional tattoo artist for ten years, gave her the motif in his world-famous studio Spotlight tattoo on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. “I still love my first tattoo after 36 years and also how it has aged. Now I've got tattoos all over my body. ”So much so that only small tattoos fit into gaps or some motifs can be pierced. Nowadays, new, radiant cover-ups are added to the already engraved, slowly faded motifs.
"I have never regretted any of them," says Blue proudly. “I am who I am and I don't look back.” While some motifs have personal meanings, for them their tattoos are primarily a means of expressing themselves and remembering the time they were engraved. "In addition, they are all beautiful pictures of great tattoo artists."
It is often said that people never get just one tattoo, but that the first is always followed by more. That is why some call the first tattoo a gateway drug into the world of body images. The same thing happened to 57 year old Liz, who got hooked really quickly. She had her first prick last May. Believe it or not, there were 16 more during the summer. “I got my first tattoo for my twin daughters' 18th birthday. They wanted the three of us all to have the same stabbed. ”These are the initials of their children, which happened to be T.W.I.N. are, the English translation of the word twin.
“I've always wanted a tattoo. But I used to be overweight and very unhappy with the way I looked. That's why I didn't want to get a prick back then. After losing 25 pounds, I wanted to reward myself. The tattoo came out just right. ”Those around them reacted in shock. Her older friends do not understand why she still had a tattoo when she was her age and in some cases even reject her decision. The younger ones, on the other hand, think it's good that they dared to take the step. Her family also supported her in this. Since she already has so many in the meantime, they are of the opinion that it is slowly enough again. Liz herself doesn't care - she has more motifs planned for 2019.
Women who reach 50 often face the fact that from now on they will be less interesting to men and younger people. Marian decided to celebrate her 50th instead by giving herself a tattoo. It's been 14 years since she celebrated this milestone in her life with a piece of body art. “At first I didn't know what it was going to be. In the end I decided on a kite. ”However, the motif does not symbolize anything in particular for her. “I just thought it looked cool. Of course I know that a lot of people opt for a dragon tattoo, but I didn't think that was a bad thing. "
Marian had long wanted a tattoo, but as a lawyer she always feared that it would damage her career if others in the law firm got wind of it. Her family is also negative about body art. “They think it's bad to 'deface' the body like that.” After getting her first tattoo, the dragon, it was her retirement that paved the way for more tattoos. “I immortalized my two great passions on my thighs: swimming in open water and horses,” she explains. She used photographs as templates, which were then implemented by the London tattoo artist Martha Smith.
The swimmer on the left thigh represents herself. “I built my self-confidence by swimming. I often go at dawn. ”This hobby gave her new impetus and the feeling of being one with nature. Marian got the tattoo as a permanent reminder of how well you do the movement in the water - physically as well as mentally. The tattoo on her right thigh symbolizes her love for horses. The quiet, gentle conversations with the animals were a way of relieving stress for her for years, especially when she was still working full-time. “This tattoo represents the connection I felt at the time with a horse named Bree. She often defied commands from other people, but she accepted me immediately - I was proud of that. "
The word "Basta" is written on her wrist, which means something like stop or enough means in Italian. This is supposed to keep her from drinking too much - or at all - by having the lettering visible to her every time she reaches for a glass or picks up a bottle. “I know how much my binge drinking has ruined family celebrations and relationships in the past. This year I decided to tackle the problem, ”she said in an interview. “Our culture equates alcohol with fun. It's not easy to go out and resist the pressure to drink. But so far this tattoo has worked pretty well for me. ”It also helps her focus on triathlon training - another challenge that I've been taking on since she retired. Marian hopes to qualify for the European championships in swimming and cycling next year.
The reactions she has received from older people to her tattoos have been mostly positive. They fluctuated between interested and a little shocked, but almost all of them were not judgmental. Younger people basically just found their tattoos cool. “Body art is much more accepted as a form of personal expression these days. While swimming, I noticed that people of all ages and genders have tattoos. That's why I feel pretty normal with my four pieces. ”The next tattoo on Marian's list is to celebrate her participation in the European championships, when it comes to that. “I would also like Martha to add a sea snake to the swimmer tattoo. It is meant to symbolize the danger that I have overcome by facing new challenges. "
Just like Marian, the pediatric nurse Pamela is a rarity among her professional colleagues because of her tattoo. She got her first tattoo in 1990 at the age of 21. “Actually, I only came with you to accompany a friend who was going to get her first tattoo. At the last minute, however, I decided to have one made myself. It became a rose on my shoulder. ”In retrospect, Pamela had to realize that it was not done well. So she decided to cover the cheap tattoo with a huge back tattoo.
"I was on the waiting list of a very popular tattoo artist for two years and spent around £ 2,000 to keep this work of art with me." She also has a portrait of Che Guevara tattooed on the inside of her forearm . "This is my favorite tattoo because it reminds me to do my best in everything I do."
The spontaneous decision to get a tattoo 30 years ago changed her life, she says. “I love my tattoos because they keep me talking to other people.” The fact that almost none of her colleagues have tattoos is no problem for Pamela: “This is how I stand out from the rest. For me personally, that's always a good thing. "
As with Liz, Marian and Pamela, whose forearm tattoos represent memories of things that are important to them, Marie-Anne's also has a very special meaning. At the age of 48, she decided on her first tattoo, a Star of David entwined with a cross. She herself was never religious, but "the symbol represents my Jewish father and my Catholic mother," as she explains.
Marie-Anne doesn't regret getting the tattoo. “I still love it. I designed it myself, which is why it is unique in my eyes. It is by no means religious, although the two symbols are of course representative of religions. For me, apart from their meaning, they are beautiful symbols because they are both so plain and simple. That's why I was drawn to them. For me, the tattoo also symbolizes my parents and the legacy we share. "
She actually wanted to have a tattoo since she was 18, but she always lacked either the courage or the money. When she started researching her family history in 2008, however, she discovered some exciting surprises that made her think again about a tattoo. “The thought of getting a tattoo became more concrete back then. But I wanted one that had a personal meaning, and the motif kept floating around in my head. Now that I've got one, I'm thinking about another. But so far I don't have a fully developed idea for it in my head. "
In her eyes, the cultural codes associated with tattoos have changed over the years. She believes that it is now much more socially acceptable for older women to express their personality through body art. She herself has never experienced hostility because of her tattoo, but she is still sure that there are still a lot of people out there with stuck opinions. "If your basic attitude is that everything you wouldn't do is wrong, you will probably never change your mind on certain topics and go through life with blinkers." Probably none of us would like to belong to these people.