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JUANA BE TATTOOED:

REASONS AND REACTIONS ON BODY TATTOOING OF WOMEN

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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the

College of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Bulacan State University

City of Malolos, Bulacan

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In Partial Fulfillment for the Degree in

Bachelor of Science in Psychology

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SHAIRA E. ALMARIO

REGINA MARIE C. ANTALLAN

DYAN BERNADETTE G. MARTIN

ALFRED JOHN S. RUEDA

March 2016

APPROVAL SHEET

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in

Psychology, this thesis paper entitled Juana Be Tattooed: Reasons and Reactions on

Body Tattooing of Womenwhich had been prepared and submitted by Shaira E.

Almario, Regina Marie C. Antallan, Dyan Bernadette G. Martin and Alfred John S.

Rueda, is hereby recommended for oral examination.

March 2016

BOBBY DG. LOPEZ Thesis Adviser

Approved in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor in

Science in Psychology by the Committee on Oral examination.

MA. ADORA C. TIGNO, RGC Chairman

MR. NIXON AGASER, MA External Panelist

DR. AGNES dR. CRISOSTOMO, RP, RGC Member

Accepted and approved in partial fulfillment for the Degree of Bachelor of Science

in Psychology.

March 2016

RICARDO B. CAPULE JR., MA Dean, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We, the researchers, will be forever grateful to the following for this thesis will

not be possible without them.

Foremost, we are indebted to God for everything that he has endowed upon us in

completing this thesis. We owe Him everything.

We felt privileged under the guidance of Mr. Bobby Lopez - our thesis adviser.

His sense of humor, insightful expertise and maddening pedant for perfection displace us

to finally complete this thesis despite of the major drawbacks we have been through

before him.

We are thankful for our thesis instructor, Dr. Agnes Crisostomo, for her advices

and knowledge in the field of Psychology that she shared with us. Equally, her

understanding for extending the deadline due to probable reasons that definitely kept us

moving.

We are likewise grateful of the panelists, Ms. Ma. Adora Tigno and Mr. Nixon

Agaser, for their expertise and constructive criticisms which helped us to complete this

paper.

Our earnest gratitude to our collective family members and friends who motivated

us to the point of berating us that kept our fire of desire to complete this bachelor’s

degree burning.

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DEDICATION

This thesis is dedicated to our family and friends who continuously believe in us

and has been our source of support and encouragement as we fulfill our duties and

surpass the challenges as graduating students. We are very thankful for having them in

our lives. This work is also dedicated to those who see the significance of arts and culture

in the face of the modernization of our generation. Lastly, we offer this thesis to those

who just like us, value the importance of education and yearns for learning.

iv

Abstract

The current study analyzed the reasons and reactions on body tattooing of women.

It specifically aimed to pinpoint the reasons of women in obtaining tattoos and the

subjective reactions to their perceived feedbacks of the community. Moreover, the thesis

explored the said topic from a psychological point of view. It is theoretically anchored on

Didier Anzieu’s Skin-Ego Theory, as it explains how skin bridges the internal processes

of an individual to external ones and vice versa. It utilized the phenomenological

approach as its research design and semi-structured interview as its technique in

gathering the data. The participants were seven (7) female students from the Bulacan

State University who were chosen through purposive and snowball sampling techniques.

The

study

revealed

that

the

participants

obtained

the

tattoo

to

accentuate

their

individuality and to strengthen their sense of belongingness to their respective groups;

likewise, being pleased was the most prominent reaction of the participants to the

feedbacks of the community. More importantly, the results emphasized the differences

present among the choice of tattoos and as to how the participants viewed the process of

body tattooing personally. The differences of responses among the participants showed

how an individual is differentiated from the others although they may belong to the same

group or community.

v

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Page

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT………………………………………………………….…

iii

DEDICATION……………………

…………………………………………….

iv

ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………… v

TABLE OF CONTENTS……………………………………………………………

vi

LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………….…… ix

LIST OF FIGURES……………………………………………………………

CHAPTER

I. The Problem and Its Background

.

x

Introduction……………………………………………….…….……………. 1

Statement of the Problem………………………………….…………….…… 4

Significance of the Study………………………………….….……………… 5

Scope and Delimitations……………………………………….……….……. 6

Definition of Terms…………………………………………….….………….7

II. Review of Related Literature and Studies

Relevant Theory………………………………….………………….…

vi

…… 9

Conceptual Framework……………………………………………….……

11

Related Literature……………………………………………………….……12

Body Tattooing…………………………………………………………. 12

Etymology and History of Tattoo…………………………………

……13

Tattoo Designs…………………………………………

………….

20

Reasons for Tattooing………………………………………

……

23

Communal Feedbacks and Reactions to Tattooing

……………………

29

Related Studies………………………………………………

……………

30

Foreign Studies……………………………………………

……

30

Local Studies………………………………………………

……

……

33

III. Methodology

Research Method and Techniques……………………………………

37

Research Instruments…………………………………

……………

38

Participants……………………………………………

……………

…….

39

Data Gathering Process…………………………

…………………

……

41

Data Interpretation Analysis………………………

………………

……

42

IV. Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data

Preparations before Body Tattooing……………….……………

……

44

vii

Tattoo in terms of the Design, Color, Size, Location and Number………… 52

Reasons for Tattooing………………………………………………………. 66

Feelings about Tattooing……………………………………………………. 72

Community Feedbacks about Body Tattooing……………………………

77

Reactions towards Community Feedbacks……………….………………… 81

V. Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation

Summary of Findings………………………………………………………

85

Conclusion……………………………………………………….…………. 87

Recommendation…………………………………………

…………

90

REFERENCES

…………………………………………………

……………

92

APPENDICES

A Informed Consent………………………

……….…………………………

96

B Transcriptions………

…………………………………………………….…

97

C Interview Guide………

…………………………………………………….

134

D Certificate of Validation……

……….……………………….…………….

136

E Certificate of Proofread…………………………

……….……………….

137

CURRICULUM VITAE

viii

LIST OF TABLES

Page

Table 1. Demographic Profile of the Participants……………………………….

40

Table 2. Preparation Prior to the Process of Body Tattooing…………………………

44

Table 3. Tattoos in Terms of the Design, Color, Size, Location and Number………

 

53

Table 4. Reasons for Tattooing…………………………………………………

67

Table 5. Feelings about the Process of Tattooing…………………………………

 

73

Table 6. Participants’ Perceived Community Feedbacks about Body Tattooing……

78

Table 7. Participants Reactions towards Community Feedbacks……………………… 82

ix

LIST OF FIGURES

 

Page

Figure 1. Conceptual Framework……………………………………………………

11

Figure 2. Headhunters with chin markings………………………………….…………. 16

Figure 3. Kolam tattoo pattern……………………………………………….………… 17

Figure 4. Tattooed woman…………………………………………………

………….

18

Figure 5. Tattooed man for the Bontoc Tribe…………………………………………

18

Figure 6. Traditional Tattooing……………………………………………

…………

19

Figure 7. Butterfly tattoo…………………………………………………

……………

20

Figure 8. Dragon tattoo……………………………………………………

…………

20

Figure 9. Flower tattoo…………………………………………………………………. 21

Figure 10. Heart tattoo……………………………………………………….………… 21

Figure 11. Peacock tattoo………………………………………………….…………… 22

Figure 12. Phoenix tattoo………………………………………………….…………… 22

Figure 13. Sun tattoo…………………………………………………………

………. 22

Figure 14. Jackie’s tattoo………………………………………………………………. 53

Figure 15. Mae’s tattoo……………………………………………………

x

…………

54

Figure 16. Tib’s tattoo………………………………………………….………………. 54

Figure 17. Gelou’s tattoo………………………………………………….…………… 55

Figure 18. Tib’s tattoo…………………………………………………………………

55

Figure 19. Jackie’s tattoo………………………………………………………………. 56

Figure 20. Khaye’s tattoo……………………………………………………………… 56

Figure 21. Jermaine’s tattoo…………………………………………………

………

Figure 22. Karla’s tattoo………………………………………………………………

57

58

Figure 23. Dream catcher tattoo………………………………………………………. 101

Figure 24. Dream catcher tattoo……………………………………………….……… 108

Figure 25. Quote tattoo………………………………………………………………

108

Figure 26. Tattoo based on a saying ………………….………………………

……

108

Figure 27. A tattoo of a flower (L) and a phoenix (R)……………………

………… 112

Figure 28. Guitar tattoo…………………………………………………

………

118

Figure 29. Cross tattoo……………………………

……………………

……

……

122

Figure 30. Name tattoo……………………………

……………………

………

122

Figure 31. Name tattoo……………………………

……………………

……

……

122

Figure 32. Name tattoo……………………………………………………

…………

127

xi

Figure 33. Name tattoo……………………………………………………

…………

127

Figure 34. Flower tattoo…………………………………………………… ………… 133

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CHAPTER I

The Problem and its Background

“You don’t get tattooed for other people. You get tattooed for something within

yourself. The only way to get this thing that lives inside of you out is to get tattooed.”

Introduction

Anonymous

How do you describe the essence of Juana dela Cruza Filipino woman?

Perhaps, one will say shy and demure simultaneously; sensual yet conservative; or simple

but

bewitching.

Francisco

(2002)

once

pronounced

that

Filipino

women

have

an

indomitable spirit and can love so purely and so powerfully. Now, suppose Juana has a

tattooa dragon tattoo that runs along her spine. What labels would you associate to

Juana? For all one knows, these are quite contrary to the combination of qualities

previously mentioned; for it would possibly be coquettish, liberated, or promiscuous.

Nevertheless, will these labels be changed if you will be able to look into a much deeper

understanding of Juana’s reasons for obtaining the tattoo?

From the recesses of history, tattooing has been a usual practice among the

people. Regardless of the gender; tattoos were used to be accepted by the community.

Before, acquiring one for males corresponds to a certain milestones in their lives that

signify conquests and strength. On the other hand, females used tattoos for aesthetic

values and ornaments which were acceptable by all means. But nowadays, tattooing has

been demonized and was documented to be more common among men. Due to the rising

2

interest of the people about the practice, women of today’s generation are even more

participating

in

the

trend.

Nevertheless,

tattooing

in

women

is

perceived

as

the

otherwisestereotypes and judgments are being linked by the society to these tattooed

female individuals. Those having been said posed a need to explore tattooing in women

to address the said issue.

Moreover, studies on tattoos are mostly viewed based on the societal groups that

an individual belongs to. According to Hennessy (2011), other fields view tattoos as a

part of an individual’s normal behavior; that apart from the tattoos’ decorative function,

these are solely used as signifiers of one’s place in the tribe and one’s achievements or

transition from one stage in life to the next. Likewise, one reproach of that to tattooing is

that the methods on such views are generally focalized on group reasons and does not

look through the reason individually. With that, according to a recent study by Michael

D. Wessely in 2013, it has been found that individuals had emotional motivations for

obtaining tattoos in combination with practical considerations. According to him, such

practice brought the inner facets present from an individual’s experiences throughout

their lifetime. However, the presence of such motivations and reasons behind an

individual’s tattoos are still blurred to most of the people in the society. That despite the

fact that the practice is starting to be wholly accepted by the population, some are still

naive of the reasons an individual has in marking oneself.

Furthermore, in Psychology, tattooing is typically predicated as a reaction to and

result of an underlying negative psychological issue or otherwise deviant behavior

(Williams, 2009; Atkinson, 2004; Koch et. al., 2010). Lombroso (1896) was among the

first to suggest a strong relationship between tattooing and deviancy. Similarly, a more

3

current study by Putnins in 2002 presented that statistically significant partial correlations

were found between aggressive and deviant behaviors, and having tattoos. In consonance,

a numerous studies in the field of Psychology put so much emphasis on tattooing as a

consequence of

a deviant

behavior,

and

nearly neglected

the underlying positive

psychological issue for doing so. Hence, the current study attempts to address the

viewpoint often overlooked in Psychology. However, it will view such psychological

issues as reasons and will be treated as neither negative nor positive; for it will chiefly

aim to pinpoint and examine the prominent reasons one has for obtaining a tattoo.

Additionally, literatures have been bombarded by contemporary perceptions about

individuals who have tattoos (Greif, Hewitt, & Armstrong, 1999). More explicitly, there

are still remaining stereotypes and judgments about this form of body modification (Lim

et al., 2013). Recent studies by DeMello and Firmin have suggested that social leaders

are continuing to associate the practice of tattooing with rebellious criminals and

sociopaths (as cited in Lim et al., 2013). There are a vast number of studies concerning

the perceptions of the masses about tattooing that are commonly associated with negative

stereotypes and judgments. Yet, there appears to be a dearth of studies about the

feedbacks of the community to tattooed individuals as perceived by these individuals; as

well as their subjective reactions to these feedbacks.

For some of the majority, tattooing is not merely a trend in the contemporary arts

that one blends in with, but rather, it is an act with a much deeper reason that one has for

undergoing so (Brandtrust, n.d). Therefore, people should not see such individuals with

tattoos as the different to the majority. However, there are impediments in attaining such

ideals due to the gap in the knowledge. There is a lack of studies providing a broader

4

knowledge about tattooing in the Philippine context specifically, female tattooing, and

even more so researches about the reasons and reactions for obtaining such body

modification. Thus, this study attempts to fill in such gaps and to contribute to the limited

studies and researches with regards to the rising practice of female tattooing in the

Philippines.

Statement of the Problem

The general problem of the study is: How may the reasons and reactions on body

tattooing of women be analyzed?

Specifically, it sought to answer the following question:

1. How do the participants prepare before they undergo the process of tattooing?

2. How do the participants describe their tattoos in terms of its:

2.1. design;

2.2. color;

2.3. size;

2.4. location; and

2.5. number?

3. Why do the participants undergo body tattooing?

4. How do the participants feel about the process of body tattooing?

5. What are the community feedbacks on body tattooing as perceived by the

participants?

6. How do the participants react to the perceived community feedbacks on body

tattooing?

5

Significance of the Study

Upon completion, the findings the study will be of benefit to the following

stakeholders:

The Psychology Students. The findings of this study will be a significant attempt

in contributing knowledge about the reasons and subjective reactions of individuals on

body tattooing. This study will be able to yield a better understanding on the subject

matter of tattoos and tattooing in relation to the field of Psychology.

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy. This study will open doors to

the association of some sociological practices to Psychology. Specifically, the faculty can

look through how the societal behaviors and expectations can affect an individual’s

formation of identity. Likewise, instructors may be able to start looking on the significant

findings of this study to Social Sciences and Philosophy.

The Owners of Tattoo Parlors and Tattoo Artists. The results of this study can

offer a significant awareness to the owners of tattoo parlors and tattoo artists on the

subject of female tattooing and how women are becoming fascinated of the practice.

The Filipino People. Since the practice of tattooing is commonly predicated as a

male’s domain and is steadily rising in the conservative Philippine nation, this study will

provide facts of why females of today’s generation are becoming more participative to

tattooing.

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The Tattooed Filipino Women. This study will offer a great opportunity for the

tattooed Filipino women to be heard. The findings of this study will be a substantial

attempt in eliminating the negative connotations associated to these tattooed women.

The Future Researchers. This study can be a guide for those who will conduct

the same or similar study about female tattooing in the Philippines. The salient findings

of this study can be a source of related literature for them.

Scope and Delimitations

This study focused on the reasons and reactions on body tattooing of women and

how they can

be analyzed.

These included

the preparations

that

the participants

underwent before they proceeded to the process of tattooing. It likewise delved deep

through the participant’s tattoos in terms of the design, color, size, location and number

for these may possibly imply other relevant findings all throughout of the study.

Furthermore, the reasons on undergoing such body modification, body tattooing, were

investigated. More importantly, the feelings of the participants before, during, and after

the process of body tattooing were tackled.

In addition, their perceived feedbacks of the community to tattooing, and their

subjective reactions to such feedbacks were likewise examined in the study. Essentially,

the mentioned matters that were revealed from the perception and experiences of the

participants were considered and looked through to bring about the explanation of the

reasons and reactions of women to the community feedbacks on body tattooing. The

following stated matters are the sole focus of the current study.

7

This study used the purposive and snowball sampling techniques in selecting the

participants. The participants were seven (7) female students from the Bulacan State

University; they must be natural born Filipino woman, ages 18-26 and have had their

tattoo/s for at least 2 years by the time of this study. Additionally, the participants were

limited to those who underwent such body modification through the modern process of

tattooing.

The researchers only looked exclusively to body tattooing over the other types of

body modifications. Likewise, the researchers focused only on the reasons, and subjective

reactions on the perceived community feedbacks on body tattooing of women. Also, the

researchers aim not to measure but to describe all of the mentioned matters.

Definition of Terms

The following terms will be defined conceptually and operationally.

Reasons. These are the basis or causes a person brings in coming up with a

decision. In this study, it is the motives that the participants incorporate to their

acquisition of tattoos.

Body Tattooing. This is the process of marking a person or a part of the body

with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin (DeMello, 2007).

Reactions. This is an action physically or mentally performed, or a feeling

experienced in response to external stimuli (Hennessy, 2010). In this study, it is the

participants’ responses to the community’s feedbacks about the participant’s tattoo and

body tattooing.

8

Community Feedback. This is about the communal reactions of the mass people

to a certain situation, event or product (Atkinson, 1990). In this study, it is the opinion of

the people to the practice of body tattooing among participants.

Feelings. This is an emotional state or reaction of an individual in a given

situation. In this study, it is the participants’ feelings before, during, and after the process

of body tattooing.

CHAPTER II

Review of Related Literature and Studies

This chapter presents the relevant theory, the conceptual framework, and some of

the related literature and studies of recognized foreign and local researchers. All of such

have significant bearing to the current study.

Relevant Theory

Skin Ego Theory: This study is theoretically anchored on Didier Anzieu’s Skin

Ego Theory (1985). As the theory states, skin is a sensory organ that marks the boundary

between ego and non-ego. According to Anzieu, skin-ego complements and integrates

skin with a person’s being. The term skin-ego designates a mental representation that the

child forms on the basis of its experience of the surface of its body (the skin) and uses to

picture itself as the vessel of mental contents. Anzieu also sees it as a psychic envelope

containing, defining and protecting the being of an individual.

The ego (personality) encloses the cognitive apparatus much as the skin encloses

the body. The chief functions of the skin are transferred onto the level of the skin-ego.

The functions of the skin-ego are to maintain thoughts, to contain ideas and affects, to

provide a protective shield, to register traces of primary communication with the outside

world, to individuate, to support sexual excitation, and to recharge the libido. In brief, the

skin-ego is an interface between inside and outside and is the foundation of the

container/contained relationship.

10

As cited by Anzieu (1990, p. 63), “The surface of the body which is the skin,

allows an individual to release his excitations of external origins from those of internal

origin. Just as one of the capital functions of the ego is to distinguish between what

belongs to me and what does not belong, between what comes from me and the desires,

thoughts and affects of others, between a physical (the world) or the biological (the body)

reality outside the mind; the ego is the projection in the psychic of the surface of the

body; namely the skin, which makes up this sheet or interface.”

The main premise of the current study is about analyzing the reasons and

reactions on body tattooing of women; the sole reason how one comes up with a decision

to obtain a tattoo and how one reacts to the community’s feedbacks about the practice. As

posited in the theory, skin links what is on the inside of an individual’s psyche to the

outside. It acts as a bridge that connects the internal environment to the external one and

vice versa. The presence of tattoo/s among the tattooed individuals implies significant

matters from the internal environment that led the individuals to the modification of their

skin; thus helping them to communicate to the external environment. Moreover, just as

how these internal processes manifest on the skin, the tattoosits designs, color,

location, number and sizethat are being marked on the skin may give way to

pinpointing the noteworthy internal processes that are present among the tattooed

individuals. In addition to that, other psychological processes might be trace as to how

the individuals react to feedbacks as given by the community to them.

All

of

such

matters

mentioned

are

bridged

from

the

internal

to

external

environment and vice versa by the skin, in which the practice of body tattooing takes

place. Thus, as stated in the theory, it can help us root some of the deep-seated facets

11

among the tattooed individuals’ experiences and perceptions in life. The findings of this

study will be of great help in learning through an individual’s persona, specifically those

who underwent the body modification, specifically body tattooing.

Conceptual Framework

Reasons
Reasons

Figure 1. Conceptual framework

The women, university students in particular, will be the participants of this study.

From the participants, two arrows are directed to the reasons and reactions which are the

12

main premises of the study. Such, in turn, will be described and analyzed all throughout

the study. Then, these are directed to one of the major factors in body tattooing the

designs, colors, sizes, locations and number of tattooswhich will be further used for the

analysis of women’s reasons and reactions to body tattooing. This factor is then directed

to the focus of the framework, the practice of body tattooing. Another arrow is directed

from the reactions to the community feedback, which is also pointed to the focus of the

framework. In the current study, the researchers aim to look through the participants’

perceived community feedbacks to body tattooing and their reactions to such feedbacks

in order to know how these matters affect the perception of the participants to the practice

of body tattooing. All of the following constructs from the framework will be based from

the participants’ experiences and perceptions in life.

Related Literature

This portion of the study presents the related literature of the study by some

recognized foreign and local researchers, which all bears importance to the current study.

Body Tattooing

People associate a great deal of themes to tattooing. There are varied reasons on

why an individual acquire a tattoo, choose a particular design for such and on what part

of the body one chooses to place it. Tattooing has been in prevalence and has gained

acceptance in the present day, however a number of studies have revealed that some still

link tattooed individuals to criminals and rebels, among others. With such premise, the

following facts and existing researches about tattooing in different countries of the world

answer the questions: (a) what are the community’s feedbacks to tattooing? (b) What are

13

the community’s feedbacks as perceived by these tattooed individuals? and (c) what are

the reactions of these individuals to such?

Etymology and History of Tattoo

Tattoo is from the words ‘tattu’, ‘tata’, or ‘tattaw’ from ‘ta’ which is a Polynesian

word that refers to striking (Scutt & Gotch, 2003) or to mark something (Grief, Hewitt &

Armstrong, 1999). They are created by inserting pigments into the skin to create a

permanent mark (Doss & Ebesu Hubbard, 2009). The practice of tattooing has been

utilized across the world since at least the Neolithic era, as proven by mummified

preserved skin, ancient art, and the archaeological record (Deter-Wolf, 2013). Both the

ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo instruments proposed tattooing was

practiced by the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe. It has been revealed on the body of

Ötzi the Iceman, the oldest discovery of tattooed human skin to date was found which is

dating to between 3370 and 3100 BC (Deter-Wolf, Robitaille, Krutak & Galliot, 2016).

Moreover, at least 49 archaeological sites including locations in Greenland, Alaska,

Siberia, Mongolia, Western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines, and the Andes were

seen to have tattooed mummies (Deter-Wolf, 2015).

The use of tattoos also embodied a signal to religious affiliations or strength

(Gathercole, 1988; Schildkrout, 2004). Body tattooing has been preserved in the ancient

cultures. During the ancient times, tattoos were considered to be part of the religious

beliefs and cultural practices. There are certain restrictions against marking the skin

which are based from the Bible and Islamic beliefs (Harlow, 2008; Scheinfel, 2007).

Some studies in religion and its connection with tattoo demonstrated that Christianity,

14

Judaism, and Islam believe that God created human after God’s own image; for such

reason, any marks on a person’s body will be considered a sin. On the contrary,

Buddhism and Hinduism utilize the act of tattooing among their fellows.

Europe

According to Friedman (2015), the most primitive conceivable proof for tattooing

in Europe appears on ancient art from the Upper Paleolithic period as engraved designs

on the bodies of humanoid figurines. The Löwenmensch figurine from the Aurignacian

culture dates to approximately 40,000 years ago which shows a series of parallel lines on

its left shoulder (“Der Löwenmensch,” 2015). Likewise, the ivory Venus of HohleFels,

which dates to between 35,000 and 40,000 years ago, exhibits engraved lines down both

arms, as well as across the torso and chest (Conard, 2009). The oldest and most famous

straight evidence of ancient European tattooing appears on the body of Ötzi the Iceman,

who was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and dates from the late 4th millennium BC

(Deter-Wolf et al., 2016). Studies have revealed that Ötzi had 61 carbon-ink tattoos

containing of 19 groups of lines simple dots and lines on his lower spine, left wrist,

behind his right knee, and on his ankles. It has been claimed that mummy’s tattoos were a

form of healing because of their placement; nevertheless, other explanations are plausible

(RedOrbit.com, 2015).

Pre-Christian Germanic, Celtic and other central and northern European tribes

were often heavily tattooed, according to surviving accounts. During the gradual process

of Christianization in Europe, tattoos were often considered remaining elements of

paganism and generally legally prohibited (History of Tattooing, 2016).

15

North America

In the period soon after the American Revolution, to avoid impressment by

British Navy ships, sailors made use of government issued protection papers to establish

their American citizenship. However, a lot of the descriptions of the seamen’s protection

certificates were so general and this seems to be easily abused by the system. Resulting

for the Royal Navy officers to ignore them (History of Tattooing, 2016).

One way of making them more specific and more effective was to describe a

tattoo, which is highly personal as to subject and location, and thus uses the description to

precisely identify the seaman. As a result, many of the official certificates also carried

information about tattoos and scars, as well as any other specific identifying information.

This also possibly led to an increase and proliferation of tattoos among American seamen

who wanted to avoid impressment (History of Tattooing, 2016). As cited by Smith (2013,

p. 55), “Frequently the ‘protection papers’ made reference to tattoos, it was also a clear

evidence that an individual was a seafaring man.”

In

the late

18 th

and early 19 th

centuries, tattoos were as much about self-

expression as they were about having a unique way to identify a sailor's body if he is lost

at sea or impressed by the British navy. The best source for early American tattoos is the

protection papers issued following a 1796 congressional act to safeguard American

seamen

from

impressment.

These

proto-passports

catalogued

tattoos

alongside

birthmarks, scars, race, and height. Using simple techniques and tools, tattoo artists in the

early republic typically worked on board ships using anything available as pigments,

even gunpowder and urine. Men marked their arms and hands with initials of themselves

16

and loved ones, significant dates, symbols of the seafaring life, liberty poles, crucifixes,

and other symbols (Common-place.org, n.d.).

Asia

Furthermore, zoning in on Asia, tattooing has been a significant part of religious

life among the people of Indochina over the past millennium. Krutak (2010) contended

that the early roots of tattooing in IndochinaMyanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia,

Thailand and Vietnamhas been integrated into a system of belief encompassing

Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, and ancestor worship. Tattooing was chiefly

administered by holy monks, sagacious tribal elders, and layman tattooists. He further

argued that tattooing evolved into a kind of magical text that believers used to navigate

through an uncertain, unpredictable, and imperfect world dominated by human enemies,

deities, nature spirits, and the dead.

In Taiwan, according to Krutak (2005), tattoo may be acquired upon the success

met on those headhunters who acquired more than five heads using old weapons, a

who acquired more than five heads using old weapons, a curved machete-like knife for instance, might

curved

machete-like

knife

for

instance,

might

likewise have the tattoos be inked on the chest or the

backs

of

the

hands.

Tattooing

could

also

be

administered to the foreheads of unmarried boys and

girls in their teens of the Atayal tribean aboriginal

group of the ancient Taiwan. Likewise the tattoos

were deliberately marked upon the chins of warriors.

Correspondingly,

women,

only

those

who

were

17

skillful in weaving could be tattooed on the cheeks and the other parts of the bodies.

Krutak (2005) further contended that the Atayal tribe believed that only those women

who were proficient in weaving (hence tattooed), and those men who were successful

headhunters (also tattooed) could pass safely into the afterlife.

In

South

India,

tattoo

designs

worn

around

the

early

20th

century

were

specifically based from kolam patterns for these

were believed to be protective in nature (Krutak,

2009). According to a research by Krutak (2009), the

complex tattoos resembled a puzzle; since Yama, the

God of death, and his demon minions could not be

able to harm the tattooed since they would not be

not be able to harm the tattooed since they would not be able solve the puzzle

able solve the puzzle that the tattoos present. He further argued that kolam tattoos were a

maze with the idea that demons would be drawn into the pattern, then lost, and rendered

powerless. At the same time, however, kolam markings were also connected to other

aspects of the afterlife. Among lower castes and tribes, it was considered a necessity for

women, and sometimes men, to be tattooed in order to avoid punishment in the land of

the dead: because Yama's demons only devoured the unmarked. Kolam tattoos also

worked as a kind of map for the reason that these were believed to help guide the dead

person on their way to the land of the dead, so that they would be safely reunited with

their deceased ancestors.

18

In the Philippines, aboriginal groups throughout islands have been practicing the

art of body tattooing for centuries; but after the conquest of the Spanish and the advent of

but after the conquest of the Spanish and the advent of Christianity, traditional practices, tattooing for

Christianity, traditional practices, tattooing for instance, were

virtually expunged from plain site. According to DeMello

(2000), when the Spanish vessels first reached the islands,

they were greeted by the heavily tattooed Visayan tribe and,

thus, called the islands “La Isla de los Pintados” which meant

the Islands of the Painted Ones. The tattoos that were seen

among the island’s early dwellers were believed to be used as

a pointer of distinction between ranks and strength.

Tattoos

have

usually

been

regarded

to

be

an

indicator

of

accomplishment and rank. Men commonly use tattoos as

symbols of their strength as warriors and defenders. On the

other hand, women were adorned by detailed and intricate

tattoo lines on their arms and wrists (Visayas and Mindanao

tribes), or full chest and arms (Luzon mountain tribes); these

tattoos were seen as emblems of beauty. Most tattoos,

however,

were

earned

through

the

passage

of

rites

tattoos, however, were earned through the passage of rites ceremonies or for accomplishing tasks. The styles

ceremonies or for accomplishing tasks. The styles and designs of the tattoo usually vary

depending on the region and tribe that an individual belongs to (as cited by Faustino,

2013).

For instance, the Bontoc, Igorot tribesmen used tattoos as a symbol of the number

of opponents they had been decapitated. Other tribesmen from the Kalinga tribe would

19

tattoo warriors on the hands and wrists after the first slay; and the designs and placement

would become more elaborate and broader as they slay more heads in the future.

Alongside with the differences among each tribe when it comes to the tattoo meanings

and designs, the tattooing instruments among tribes likewise vary.

the tattooing instruments among tribes likewise vary. This practice has been homing to different methods and

This practice has been homing to different

methods and tools which are different among other

regions in the Philippines. Some involved attaching a

sharpened object such as the use of metal, thorn,

wood, or a bone to one end of a stick and was then

either tapped or poked repeatedly into the skin to

apply the ink. Also, other common methods included the cutting or pricking the skin prior

to rubbing black powder into the wound. After the Second World War, around the late

1940’s in the Philippines, teachers at missionary schools deterred the practice of

tattooing.

Today, modern tattooing requires the use of a tattoo machinea hand-held

device is used to create tattoosand accessories and procedures to reduce the possible

risks to human health. More strikingly, tattoos are experiencing revival amongst the

Filipinos and are continuing to

gain

acceptance, with

the traditional themes

and

remarkable designs often adorning the bearers (Lawrence, 2004).

20

Tattoo designs

Tattoos are not solely characters or images that are being adorned in the body, but

these also present as a symbolic meaning to the bearer. The following are the common

tattoo designs and the meaning these may suggest:

Butterfly. It is considered as one of the most

popular and most feminine tattoos today. According to

some studies, the butterfly represented the commotion

and uncertainty of life for it goes from flower to

flower on a lifelong search for nectar and

pollen. In Japan, the butterfly is regarded as a symbol

and pollen. In Japan, the butterfly is regarded as a symbol of emerging grace and is

of emerging grace and is very popular

among

young

girls

who

are

coming

of

age (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.). Moreover, according to Wilson (2008), a butterfly

tattoo symbolizes new beginnings and the moving out of and beyond something that was

likely painful, dangerous, and potentially consuming.

was likely painful, dangerous, and potentially consuming. Dragon. These are a very ancient symbol and a

Dragon. These are a very ancient symbol and a

tattoo motif which is being adorned by both sexes. In

ancient

Chinese

and

Japanese

mythology,

the

dragon

represented

the

four

elementsearth,

wind,

fire,

and

waterand also the four points of the compassnorth,

south, east, and west. Moreover, the dragon in essence

may represent the forces of nature (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

21

Flowers. Flowers are more than just beautiful.

They vary tremendously in size, color, shape, and most

importantly meaning. Flowers represent the endless

cycle of life, passion, love, lust, and loss among the

tattooed individuals (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

Hearts. A number of studies have revealed that

n.d.). Hearts. A number of studies have revealed that these are classic standard images representing the

these are classic standard images representing the feminine pubic triangle and symbolize

romance and love between individuals. It is, likewise, considered as a universal symbol

of affection (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

Star. Stars are the symbols of truth and hope as these are the light which shines in

the darkness. Researchers have revealed that these encourage people to fight against the

revealed that these encourage people to fight against the (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.). darkness and give

(“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

darkness and give hope of new and better path. It is

especially more meaningful to the people who have gone

through tough times in their lives. Star designs are often

encountered as symbols, and in many cases, there are

meanings of a particular star symbol which depends

upon

the

number

or

six

or

seven

pointed

stars

Music Tattoos. Music is the one language all humans understand and is found

among all the cultures. The most common symbols associated with music are the treble

clef, bass clef, notes of the staff, and musical instruments (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

22

Peacock Tattoos. The beautiful and flamboyant

feathers of male peacocks have always been appealing to

the human eye. The peacocks’ feathers are often depicted

in Asian themed tattoos. The peacock is known for being

proud, arrogant, and vain. It is known as “the bird of a

hundred eyes” because of all the eye-like shaped patterns

on their feathers. The peacock is a symbol of wealth and

on their feathers. The peacock is a symbol of wealth and nobility in some empires because

nobility in some empires because of their elegant and

proud behavior (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

and proud behavior (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n. d.). Phoenix Tattoos. It is often associated with a feminine

Phoenix Tattoos. It is often associated with a feminine

nature and represents purity, continuation of life, and virtue.

It can be depicted flying with a trail of fire behind it or in its

resurrection from the ashes of its death. Either way, this

tattoo can be worn on virtually any part of the body and

represent the continuation of life and element of purity

(“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

Sun.

courage

and

It

represents

eternally

fertility,

renewed

strength,

passion,

youth,

light

and

knowledge. The sun is also a symbol of royal and divine

powers adopted by both secular and religious authorities.

It also reflects the sun’s philosophical symbolic nature in

most cultures around the world (“Tattoo.com’s Official,”

the sun’s philosophical sy mbolic nature in most cultures around the world ( “Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

n.d.).

23

Wing Tattoos. Wings, in a way, symbolize the desire to transcend and liberate

oneself from the constraints of the environment. Often times, wings also have a theme of

spirituality and divinity (“Tattoo.com’s Official,” n.d.).

Tattoo locations

Tattoos are commonly being inked at the back of the neck, arms, shoulder, lower

back, wrist, hip, leg, and ankle. Zubieta argued that the decision to place a tattoo on a

certain location of the body is, likewise, contingent to the pain intensity. The different

locations of the body for tattooing have different levels of pain. The least sensitive areas,

which are generally most common for the purpose of tattooing, are the upper arms or

forearms, calves, shoulder blade, and outer thigh. The sternum, ribs, hands, and feet, are

very much sensitive for such purpose. The most uncommon locations for tattooing,

equally most painful, are the genitals (as cited by Faustino, 2013).

In a study by Kang and Jones in 2007, it has been revealed that the participants of

the study choose to place the tattoos in the easily hidden or sexualized areas of the body

such as the shoulder, hip or lower back. This may suggest that although some use tattoos

were used as the medium to express their sexual drives or motives, among other reasons,

some still have the subconscious need to hide it by placing it in the easily hidden areas.

Reasons for tattooing

Tattoos have their share of misunderstanding; from being banned in many work

environments, to being deemed socially unacceptable in many parts of the world, their

history and purpose vary based on the wearer (Michalak, 2015). A considerable amount

of studies has revealed that aside from the superficial reasons for acquiring a tattoo,

24

aesthetic purposes for an instance, there are much profounder reasons for doing so.

Below are some of the reasons the researchers were able to collect from various reliable

sources.

Belongingness. From gaining much from an individual’s experiences, one yearns

for affiliations with his own peers. Ever since childhood, apart from family members, one

is initially surrounded by friends and then later on becomes a part of a certain group. Erik

Erikson once posited that group membership can be seen to provide a platform from

which individuals may build their own identity (as cited by Hennessy, 2011). That way,

tattoos are being used by some individuals to express their sense of belongingness or

exclusion (Schildkrout, 2004).

An investigation of the tattoos of 12 cadets from a male military college (Coe, et

al., 1993) concluded that tattooing should be viewed as a cooperative action, creating

bonds between other tattooees, rather than acquisition of a mark of deviance. According

to Armstrong and colleagues (2002), the major influences in tattooing are friends, identity

and image. There was little family influence or support on either having or obtaining a

tattoo, compared to the association with and influence of friends. The significant support

of friends was evidenced when students’ close friends were tattooed at the same time,

when they brought friends with them at the time of tattooing, and by students’ continued

association with tattooed friends after the tattooing.

Individuality. The common concept that individuals use as reason for tattooing is

about their sense of individuality.

Individuality has been the leading reason that

individuals often link to their tattoos. Being special, to create self-identity and to be

25

distinctive from others are the main reasons of having tattoo according to Millner and

Elchoid (2001). People value their tattoos as being different and unique from others.

Tattooing is an expression of an individuals’ uniqueness (Tiggeman & Goulder, 2006). In

particular, tattoos can resemble attempts to accentuate one’s sense of identity (Atkinson

& Young 2001; Sweetman, 1999). In a study by Cimo in 2004, it has been found that

participants viewed tattoos as transitional objects which aided that tattooees’ sense of

identity. He also believed that tattoos enabled the tattooees to integrate parts of the self,

and to differentiate themselves from others. In doing such practice, tattoos were argued to

facilitate an embodied sense of self. The creation of individuality upon tattooing appears

one of the most important motivations in having tattoo.

A correlational study by Millner and Eichold in 2001 surveyed and questioned

seventy-nine (79) participants about the reasons behind their decision in marking or

inking themselves and if they are knowledgeable about the health risks that are involved

in such type of body modification. The results showed that few of the participants are

informed of the possible risks. Furthermore, individual expression was the prominent

body modification reason for tattooing. In addition, tattoos have been used as a way of

writing one’s autobiography on the surface of the body. It allows individuals to express

an integration of their past and present outlooks in life (Schildkrout, 2004). A tattoo, due

to its permanence, is a visible means of validating the constancy of one’s identity, despite

other things that may change life.

Peak Experiences. According to Hennessy (2000), peak experiences can mean

different things to different people. However, others see them as dramatic occurrences

where pleasure and adrenaline levels are heightened. It has been proposed that some

26

humans find clarity with regards to their identity during a peak experience (Maslow,

1961). In Maslow’s view, people in peak experiences become close to their “unique self”.

According to Waterman (1984), it is possible that the experience of gaining a tattoo may

provide some of the drama needed to help crystallize one’s self-concept. It may be that

the self is discovered during an intense experience.

Tattoos report a great sense of achievement knowing that one has been through an

intense physical ordeal such as the practice of tattooing. Having been able to obtain it and

come out of it can be a goal for the tattoos (Sanders, 1988). Therefore, it is possible that

obtaining a tattoo may serve a dual purpose for some. Not only will the individual

participate in a peak experience, providing clarity of self, they may also reap the added

benefit of pride in self after enduring the pain of the tattoo process.

Personal Narrative. A vast number of majorities use tattoo as a medium to

express their thought, opinions, feelings and emotions. In 2005, Michael James led an

investigation on the self-directed and expressive endeavors of male residents at a county

jail. It has been discovered that the participants of the study are likely to use the image-

making process or the act of tattooing in order to express themselves and to adjust to their

jail surroundings. Major themes that can be seen in their tattoos are time, escape, anger

and redemption.

Psychological

Growth

or Healing.

The issue of psychological

distress

is

complicated, as often one is subjected to feelings of anxiety or depression without

understanding the cause, let alone being able to remove it. Often individuals who have

suffered trauma resort to self-injury as a way to escape their psychological prison

27

(Favazza, 1996; Strong, 1998). It is now acknowledged that inflicting pain may indeed

aid in psychological recovery (Glucklich, 2001; Hayman, 2000). Likewise, Weldt (2003)

asserted that the act of tattooing helps an individual to divert their attention to a single

activity and through these they can be able to eliminate the presence of their environment

or even their thoughts.

Tattoos may serve any number of functions, especially when physicality of

tattooing pain functions to distract a tattooee from psychological pain. Whether the tattoo

aids self-definition, self-integration or social identity, it cannot be denied that the tattoo

has a psychological purpose (Hennessy, 2011). It was concluded that tattoos can be seen

as a “psychic crutch” which could be used for psychological growth, such as keeping

away unwanted emotions and healing self-image.

Rebellion. Nowadays, the youth exhibits protest against parents, rules and the

society. Rebellion sets up the individual in a self vs. not-self situation (J. Adams-Webber

& Davidson, 1979). Such causes some people to assume that individuals with tattoos to

be defiant (Caroll et al., 2002; Irwin, 2003). Others might find tattooing as a rebellious

conduct today as way of experimenting towards one’s parents’ reaction. A recent study

on college students found that adolescents’ protest against the generation of the parents is

a major aspect in acquiring body modification (Delazar, 2005). Atkinson (2002) explored

the meaning of tattoos specifically from women’s perspective and found that female

tattoos can be a form of cultural rebellion.

Rootedness/Remembrance.

As

a

social

being,

one

feels

a

need

to

have

connections with other people. This includes links to our past, as well as current

28

relationships.

Fromm

(1973)

believed

that

throughout

our

lives,

we

continually

experience separation; these separations serve to emphasize our human existential need

for rootedness. As a result, tattoos could be grounding. It might offer a rare experience of

permanence that an individual seeks. Martin (1997) acknowledged the use of tattoo to

provide a sense of stability in an otherwise rocky world. For someone who feels not only

physically but psychologically adrift, these indelible markings may be as grounding as

the anchor tattooed on a sailor’s arm, which helped him keep faith that someday he would

make it home. The permanency of a tattoo may be of benefit to the individual providing

stability in times when the rest of life may be changing in a rapid pace (Hennessy, 2011).

Rites of Passage. According to Erikson (1982) the rite of passage can either

reinforce the new role of the individual, or it may mark the end of a phase on the

individual’s

life.

A

rite

of

passage

constitutes

a

self-transformation.

Adolescents

experience self-transformation when they enter the crisis of identity versus role confusion

(Erikson, 1950). Individuals may obtain a tattoo as a permanent reminder of a transition

from one stage in life to the next. Verberne (1969) hypothesized that tattooing is a rite of

passage that adolescents utilize in their attempts to overcome this crisis. Perhaps

obtaining a tattoo is one way to cope with the transition into an unfamiliar status

reducing the anxiety by providing a socially agreed way of construing the change.

Obtaining a tattoo is not only a reminder of the transition from one stage to the next, but

it may also aid in loosening of the individual’s construction system, preventing the entire

system from being overwhelmed by anxiety.

Sexual Motives. Another issue that may be linked to tattooing is the existence of

sexual motives. In some conservative societies, the Philippines for an instance, topics and

29

talks about sex is a taboo. Hence, many are using tattoos as a medium of expressing their

sexual drives and experiences. Moreover, according to Zinn (2009), American girls who

are tattoo-addicts get their first tattoo-designs at about the same time that they have their

first sexual relationships. In such inquest, he explored the youth by studying the sexual

significance attributed to tattooing. Zinn began this sexual theme by relating the story of

a youth who compared his tattoo experience to his first experience having intercourse.

In an inquiry of Koch, Kempf and Pawelec (2005), it has been revealed that

96.1% of tattooed men had been sexually active compared to 72.4% of the non-tattooed

men and 94.6% of tattooed women had been sexually active compared to 68.1% of the

non-tattooed women. Tattooed respondents of such investigation also indicated that they

became sexually active at an earlier age than those without tattoos. Likewise, tattooed

men became sexually active, on the average, 18 months earlier than non-tattooed men;

tattooed women did so, on the average, 5 months earlier than non-tattooed women.

Impulsivity. While others are mindful of the reasons they have for getting their

tattoos, a number of people revealed an impulsive decision rather than a long decision

making process as a reason for acquiring a body modification (Greif et al., 1999).

Tattooing could be due to impulsivity, some that has acquired tattoo may have been

under the influence of drugs or alcohol (Friedrich, 1993; Kluger, 2015).

Communal feedbacks to tattooing and the tattooee’s reaction to such feedbacks

In an ethnographical study by Atkinson (2001) of 92 tattooed individuals of

varying ages and experience with tattooing throughout Canada, it has been revealed that

sixty-seven (67%) of the tattooees interviewed feared negative reaction from their parents

30

at some point in their lives, and suggested that such fear has strained the relationships.

Atkinson further argued that the opinion of close family members usually is the primary

influence of an individual’s decision of whether or not to obtain a tattoo, with peer

support following close behind and finally considerations of reaction in the workplace (as

cited by Wilson, 2008).

Moreover, Wilson (2008, p. 18) contended that even though one performs his

tattoo for his peers, one remains mostly unaffected by one’s peer’s negative reaction.

Correspondingly, “…if he as a performer felt a certain responsibility to this audience, he

would likely have responded differently to their disapproval, rather than shrugging it off.

Instead, he maintains a personal ownership of the tattoo. What matters to him is that he

understands why the tattoo is important.” This suggests that a tattooee has the propensity

to ignore negative reactions especially when a tattooee feels a certain responsibility to a

certain group; that in spite of such reactions, the essential part is one understands the

importance of the tattoo to oneself.

Related Studies

Foreign Studies

A study led by Wilson (2008), Marks of Identity: The Performance of Tattoos

Among

Women

in

Contemporary

American

Society,

focused

on

tattooing

as

a

performance and situated this performance primarily among female college student in the

contemporary America. One major point of the study was to investigate if there indeed a

noticeable difference between the genders in terms of design, location, and performance

of tattoos. The method used included in-depth, one-on-one interviews, and surveys for a

31

quantitative data. Results have revealed that most respondents put more emphasis on the

personal meaning attached to their tattoo than with adherence to social norms of gender,

class, etc. The individuals that were interested in tattooing that chose to become tattooed

seemed not to worry about the reception of the general public. While some individuals

were admittedly still impacted by so because of their daily interaction with the general

public; many more seemed to be turning inward to more private performances allowing

for self-exploration, self-representation, and self-actualization.

The above discoursed study utilized a performance perspective to examine

tattooing in the United States of America among contemporary students within an

institute of higher education, most of whom are women.

Furthermore, the study

addressed the ways on how these individuals communicate and perform the marks and

the concomitant meanings they place on their bodies; in other words, how displaying a

tattoo is embodied as a medium to express oneself which is similar to the current study.

Moreover, current study will likewise zero in on the reasons and reactions on

body tattooing of women which were not able to be intricately explored in the above

discussed study.

A study conducted by Hennessy (2011), Ankhs and Anchors: Tattoo as an

Expression of IdentityExploring Motivation and Meaning, focused on the reasons for

acquiring a tattoo through an individualistic point of view. The study likewise explored

tattooing through the perspective of psychological functioning. The participants of the

study were from Australia, both male and female, ranging from 18 to 64 years old. The

study utilized a combination of qualitative (in depth interview) and quantitative technique

32

(using a repertory grid). The findings have revealed that the motivation and meaning

were linked to the facets of identity, such as personal philosophy. It has also been found

out that there are often two reasons an individual has in obtaining a tattoo: the motivation

for obtaining a tattoo and the meaning the person attributes to the design of the tattoo.

The discussed study viewed tattooing through an individualistic point of view and

explored it through the psychological viewpoint. Likewise, it tackled the reasons on why

an individual obtain tattoos, much similar to the current study for it will do the same so.

Furthermore, the discussed study made use of both males and females as the participants,

while the current study will merely be females. That is to delve a sounder data by

focusing solely on one domain.

Moreover, the current study will explore the community feedbacks as perceived

by the tattooed individuals and, likewise, the subjective reactions of these individuals to

that in which the above discussed study did not.

An inquiry by Buckman (2013), Unique Aspects of the Professional Identity of

Tattooed Psychologists, explored the probable impact of tattoos on the professional

experience of a psychologist. The subjects, four tattooed Finnish professionals from the

field of psychology and psychiatry, were interviewed twice about their experiences with

tattoos, work and clients or patients. Three themes revolving around the interviewees’

professional identity had been revealed: a sense of not belonging among their peers; a

strong professional self-esteem despite of feeling like an outsider; and a will to model a

certain free-spirited and accepting attitude to their clients or patients. The findings

33

suggested

that

the

professional

identity

of

a

tattooed

psychologist

might

be

uncharacteristic or constructed differently than their professional peers’.

The above cited study looked on how tattoos commix with the experiences of the

participants’ work and clients or patients. It, likewise, addressed the impact of tattoos on

the experiences of tattooed individuals; much similar to the current study for it will

undertake the same so.

On the contrary, it zeroed in on professionals as the main subjects; where in the

current study, female university students will be the main subjects instead. Likewise, the

current study will be undertaking the participants’ perceived feedbacks of the community

and how they did react with so.

Local Studies

An inquest by Mapa-Ariola (2002), Tatu/Tato: Estetika, Semeotika at Mito

(Tattoo: Aesthetics, Semiotics and Myth), range in on the meanings and significance of

tattoo in the urban society of the contemporary Philippines by means of presenting it as a

process

of

creation

that

indicates

the imagination,

interpretation,

and

sociological

intervention of the creators, consumers, and the observers. The study made use of the

observation and in-depth interview on twenty respondents from different social class, age

and sex in gathering the data for analysis. The results have revealed that the tattoo’s

design brightens the perceptions and psyche of the bearer and, likewise, the creator.

Moreover, it acts as a language that has the ability to converse with those that cultivate,

criticize, accept, and ignore the tattooed individual and the act of tattooing. Likewise, the

conveyance of ideas and emotions by means of application of symbols and contexts to the

34

images on the different parts of the body varies and, thus, it may serve as an indicator of

one’s social class and level. Lower social classes, generally, have vulgar tattoo images

and the concomitant meaning these have. On the other hand, middle and upper social

classes choose tattoo designs that are generally from foreign myths, folk literature or

artworks; and often have a vague significance or context to the bearer.

The demonstrated study put emphasis on the point of tattooing in the modern

society by examining it in a sociological perspective. It has also been tackled in the study

the reasons one incorporate to one’s tattoos as well as the tattoo designs and its location

on the body; much similar to the current study for it will carry out the same so, but by the

utilizing the psychological perspective.

Moreover, the aforesaid study focused on both the sexes as a homogenous domain

in the study. The current study, however, will put emphasis exclusively on the females to

delve a much sounder finding about the topic of tattooing. Likewise, the perceived

feedbacks of the community by the tattooed individuals and their reactions with such will

be tackled in the current inquiry.

A study conducted by Salvador-Amores (2002), Batek: Traditional Tattoos and

Identities in Contemporary Kalinga, North Luzon Philippines, focused on the insights

of the roles and functions of the tattoos, and how the tattoos (batek) become cultural

symbols of the intricate rituals brought about by community regiments of the Ilubo,

Kalinga. Some of the significant grounds for their traditional tattooing were based on the

idea of rites of passage, body adornment and identity. The method used in gathering the

data

was

a

combination

of

techniques

found

on

Sikolohiyang

Pilipino

(Filipino

35

Psychology) namely the pakikipagkwentuhan, pagdadalaw-dalaw, pagtatanung-tanong

and pakikipanayam; sharing of stories, return visit, asking questions and interview,

respectively. It has been revealed that the visual markers as seen from the Igorot body

give an individual a level of identification with a culturally defined collectivitythey

enable a sense of community. Correspondingly, the body is central to the transformation

of the Kalinga self, and is associated with the different rituals brought about by

community regiments. Although it is given that the Kalinga identity has experienced

episodes of both growth and decline from the past to the present, tattoos still serve as an

archive of culture for the group.

The discussed study examined the manners on how tattoos were revered in a

traditional community in the Philippines and, as well, the contemporary identity of the

community with regards to tattooing. Likewise, the ways in which the tattoos were

distinguished in the community was discussed in the study. Both are much similar to the

current study for it will discuss the point of tattooing in the contemporary times.

Furthermore, the discussed study looked into tattoos in a societal approach

whereas the current study aims to look into tattoos in an individualistic approach. The

current study will be exploring the insights from the personal accounts of individuals

with tattoos. Moreover, the feedbacks of the community as perceived by the tattooed

individuals will likewise be tackled and, similarly, their subjective reactions to the

perceived feedbacks which were not able to be tackled in the aforementioned study.

A study by Faustino (2013), Attitudes and Beliefs of Young Adolescents on

Having Multiple Tattoos and Their Relation to Masculinity Ideology, paid attention to

36

the attitudes and beliefs that are existing among young adolescents on having multiple

tattoos. Furthermore, it zoned in on the relationship of the constructs to their masculinity

ideology. The respondents of the study were one hundred three (103) young adolescents

(ages 12-25 years). The study utilized the descriptive-correlational research method. It,

likewise, investigated the reasons for having multiple tattoos, as well as the number,

design, location, size and color of their tattoos. The findings from the computed chi-

square result revealed that the attitudes and beliefs of young adolescent were significantly

related to their masculinity ideology.

The mentioned study covered some facets in tattooing: the reasons for having

tattoos, the design and the location of it by utilizing a mixed-method in gathering and

interpreting the data. The current inquiry will tackle the same facets and will be used to

look through the main themes of the current study.

Moreover, the aforesaid study regarded the belief systems of the participants

towards having multiple tattoos and its relation to the masculinity ideology. Contrarily,

the mentioned study focused on the masculinity aspect of the practice of having tattoos

whereas the current study will put attention in looking at the female point of view of such

practice.

CHAPTER III

Methodology

This chapter presents the research method and techniques, design, instruments,

participants, sampling techniques, and data analysis procedure were used in gathering and

analyzing the data.

Research Method and Techniques

This study was qualitative in nature. Neuman (2000) posited that qualitative

approach is characterized by its aims, which relates to understanding some aspects of

social life; and its methods, which usually generate words rather than numbers, as data

for analysis. The current study zeroed in on a specific aspect of life, that is, the

individuals’ personal experiences with regards to tattooing. To that end, the qualitative

approach was suitable for this study.

This study employed the phenomenological approach. Lester (1999) defined the

phenomenological approach in research as the gathering of substantial data which is

based on a paradigm of personal knowledge and subjectivity, and emphasizes the

importance of personal perspective and interpretation. Similarly, it is powerful for

understanding subjective experience in gaining insights into people’s motivations and

actions (Lester, 1999). The current used the participants’ subjective experiences and

personal

accounts

about

tattooing

as

substantial

data

for

analysis;

hence,

the

phenomenological approach was deemed appropriate for the study.

38

Moreover, the specific technique used in gathering the data was the in-depth

semi-structured interview. According to Harrell & Bradley (2009), in-depth semi-

structured interviews are often used when the researcher wants to examine deeply into a

topic and to understand thoroughly the answers provided by the interviewees; similarly, a

guide was being used with questions and topics that must be covered. The in-depth semi-

structured

interview

was

apt

for

the

study;

the

researchers

delved

in

detail

the

participants’ own accounts by giving them such an interview integrated with open-ended

questions.

Research Instruments

An interview guide was used by the researchers for the process of data gathering.

Kenedy (2006) defined an interview guide as an instrument that directs the conversation

toward the topics and issues the researches want to learn about. Moreover, these guides

vary from highly scripted to relatively loose, but altogether share certain features. First,

these help the researchers know what to ask about, in what sequence, how to pose the

questions, and how to pose follow-ups; and second, these provide guidance about what to

do or say next, after the interviewee has answered the last question. Correspondingly, the

questions that were used in the interview for this study were from general to specific

ideas about the participant’s own accounts for tattooing that are wholly based from

reviewing related studies and literature. The interview guide included questions about

their preparations, their tattoos’ design, number, location, size and colors, reasons that the

participants incorporate with their tattoos, their experience before, during, and after the

process, their perceived community feedback towards their tattoo, and their subjective

reactions to those feedbacks. Such questions are wholly based from the reviewed articles

39

that discussed the subject of tattooing. The interview guide used for the study was

validated by Dr. Nestor Castro, the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs of the

University of the Philippines Diliman (see Appendix D). After the validation, the

researchers conducted a pilot testing, which aims to verify if the set of questions included

in the interview guide were able to gather all the needed data for the study.

Moreover, the informed consent and demographic profile were given to the

participants. Doing so allowed the researchers to have the basic information about the

participants.

Participants

This study was composed of seven (7) female students from the Bulacan State

University as sample of the study. The university student participants must: (a.) be a

natural born Filipino woman, (b.) be 18-26 years of age, (c.) have had the tattoo/s for, at

least, 2 years, and (d.) have underwent the process of body tattooing in a modern way.

The above criteria should be met by the prospects to qualify as participants for the

study. The first criterionparticipants should be a natural born Filipino woman, must be

met for the reason that, apparently, these will be the subjects and one of the major points

of the current inquiry. Second, the participants must be 18-26 years of age. The given age

range quantifies those who have ages typical of university studentsthose pursuing a

Bachelor’s degree, to say the least. Correspondingly, the minimum age requirement was

18 for this is considered as the age of majority which is the threshold of adulthood as it is

conceptualized and recognized in law. Likewise, it is the chronological age when minors

cease to legally be considered children and assume control over their actions, and

40

decisions. To that end, the researchers presumed that the age of 18 is where one may have

reached a sense of maturity. The, third criterionparticipant must have had the tattoo/s

for at least two years, must likewise be met to make sure that the participant has had a

significant bearing with the tattoo, hence for the participant to be able to access the

memories and feelings concomitant with the tattoo/s. Lastly, the participants must have

acquired the tattoo through the modern process. The researchers limited the participants

to such because it is the most common way of body tattooing nowadays.

The

participants

were

gathered

through

purposive

and

snowball

sampling

technique. Patton (1990) defined purposive sampling as selecting participants based on

pre-defined sub-groups according to pre-selected criteria relevant to a particular research

question; and snowball sampling as a method whereby participants with whom contact

has already been made is used to penetrate their social networks to refer the researcher to

other participants. Both were deemed fitting for the study to widen the range of the

participants’ responses; which, in turn, will provide an amplified data that will be used in

the analysis.

Table 1. Demographic Profile of the Participants

Pseudonym

Age

Course

Mae

22

BS Psychology

Jackie

20

BS Psychology

Khaye

19

BS Psychology

Karla

21

BS Psychology

Tibs

23

BIT-Computer Technology

Gelou

21

BIT-Computer Technology

Jermaine

20

BS Tourism

41

Data Gathering Process

The participants for the study were gathered from the university. The researchers

assured that the potential participant met the criteria provided by asking her of her: (a.)

sex, (b.) age, and (c.) the years she had been with the tattoo. When the potential

participant is deemed to be qualified for the study, the time, date and location of the

interview that is convenient for the participant was scheduled accordingly. Moreover,

such participant was requested to refer the researchers to other potential participants in

her social circle, and the same protocols was to the referred prospect.

During the day and before the interview proper, each of the participants was given

an informed consent. This document must be mandatorily read before proceeding to the

ensuing step of the study. By doing so, researchers prepared to inform the participants of

the whole matter about the study; correspondingly, any inquiries were properly addressed

to eliminate the confusion that may rise through the course of the study. Granting that

true information of the participants was gathered, however, all of them were still given

pseudonyms for confidentiality.

During

the

interview,

the

researchers

utilized

an

in-depth

semi-structured

interview. The participants were interviewed and were recorded on a digital voice

recorder. One or two of the researchers were assigned to be the interviewer and, likewise,

as the observer. The interviewer followed and used the interview guide which was

consisted of the questions about tattooing that needed to

be covered during the

conversation which generally are: their preparations, their tattoos’ design, number,

location, size and colors, reasons that the participants incorporate with their tattoos, their

42

experience before, during, and after the process, their perceived community feedback

towards their tattoo, and their subjective reactions to those feedbacks. All of the

participants were interviewed face to face by the assigned interviewer. The observer, on

the other hand, took down notes and recorded the interview conversation.

Data Interpretation Analysis

In analyzing the data, the researchers used the directed content analysis. A

directed content approach in analysis starts with a theory or relevant research findings as

guidance for initial codes (Kaohsiung, 2005). The approach of Nieuwenhuis (2014) on

directed content analysis was adapted in the study.

Initially, the researchers transcribed the responses of all the participants. The

audio recorded interview with the participants was converted to texts. The transcripts

were written in a question-by-question format to capture what the answer given by the

participants regarding each question; and the field notes completed, likewise, be added.

Such process established the validity, transparency, and reliability of the study.

Then, the information gathered from the transcribed interview was organized. The

significant and similar facts emphasized and the inconsequential facts were disregarded.

Furthermore, the data were categorized by making a list of the information out of

the organized facts. It was done according to the similarities of the meaning from the

different participants.

Finally, the list was coded using the predetermined codes that are wholly based

from the germane findings of the reviewed literature and studies. If, however, any

43

passage that could not be categorized with the initial coding scheme arises, a new code

would be given to it. This process led to the creation of themes. After giving the codes,

the researchers provided the listed codes a specific theme that is relative to the research

questions.

The process of organization, analysis and interpretation of the collected data from

the interview offered a significant proof in framing the findings and conclusion of the

reasons of the female university students behind their tattoos and, likewise, their

subjective reactions to their perceived community feedbacks toward their tattoos.

Chapter IV

Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data

This chapter presents the salient findings of the study which includes: (a)

participants’ preparation in the process of tattooing; (b) the design, color, size, location,

and number of the participants’ tattoo/s; (c) participants’ reason for tattooing; (d)

participants’ feeling about the process of tattooing; (e) the community feedbacks on body

tattooing as perceived by the participants and (d) the participants’ reactions to these

community feedbacks.

Preparations before Body Tattooing

One of the matters that an individual takes into consideration before going

through the process of body tattooing is the preparation needed before the actual practice

takes place. The researchers dig deep on the different preparations that the participants

have done and these were: (a) researching, (b) mental preparation, (c) asking for others’

approval, and (d) physical preparation.

Table 2. Preparation Prior to the Process of Body Tattooing

Participants’ Responses

Theme

“Nag-isip at nag research talaga ‘ko ng gusto kong ipalagay…Nag-search ako bago ako magpatattoo…” “Nagtanung-tanong ako ‘non” “…nag-search ako ng mga puwedeng design.”

Researching

“…kinundisyon ko lang ‘yung isip ko…Inaano ko ‘yung sarili ko no’n na maging handa ako…Pinag-iisipan ko kasi talaga s’yang mabuti.” “…hinanda ko lang yung isip ko.”

Mental preparation

“…tinanong ko din kay daddy kung payag ba s’ya…humingi ako ng ano, ‘Uy magpapatattoo ba ako?’” “…sinabi ko pa kay daddy kung ano payag ba s’ya…”

Asking for others’ approval

“…water, tapos kailangan busog.” “Naligo lang ako, ‘yun lang.”

 

Physical preparation

45

Researching

For the most part, participants had similar preparations prior to the process of

tattooing. These preparations focused on researching the possible tattoo designs, the

feelings during the process, the aftercare and the possible risks in acquiring a tattoo. For

instance, to the question, “May mga paghahanda ka bang ginawa bago ang iyong

pagpapatattoo? Jackie answered, “Actually, nag research ako bago ako magpatattoo sa

mga

design

kung

saan

maganda

ilagay,

kung

ano

‘yung

parts

na

masakit.”

Correspondingly, Tibs, on acquiring her second tattoo, answered, “Nag-search ako ng

mga puwedeng design.” Mae stated, “Bale pinag-isipan kong mabuti kung ano ba

talaga‘yung ipapalagay…” She further emphasized, “Nag-isip at nag-search talaga ko

ng gusto kong ipalagay. Kasi nga s’yempre kapag pinalagay mo ‘yan, hindi na mabubura

parang part na ng katawan mo.” Most of the participants researched for the possible

designs and locations on the body where they would place the tattoo. The researchers

assumed that it is because tattoos are permanent marks on the skin, thus a careful process

of selecting the possible design are being included into the preparation. Correspondingly,

the tattoo marked on one’s skin resembles as a new part of the body a piece included to

the individual that may be positively or negatively judged by other people. Also, tattoos

are not just a usual accessory that

can be

worn on and off of the

body but it last

perpetually. Thus, arriving into the most suitable designs and meaning matter to the

participant. A study once stated that an individual who is about to get a tattoo should

consider social situations where a tattoo might show, because “wherever you go, your

tattoo goes with you.(Chinchilla, 1997, p.50)

Moreover, the participants also prepared by researching the possible feeling they

46

would experience in the process. Jackie once said,

nag-research

lang ako kung ano

‘yung mararamdaman ko.” She further added “…kasi mababa lang ‘yung pain tolerance

ko.” Likewise, Karla offered a more detailed response by stating, “S’yempre nagtanung-

tanong

ako

no’n

kung

ano

‘yung

feeling

kapag

nag-patattoo,

kung

ano

‘yung

mararamdaman. S’yempre masakit daw ‘yon, kahit na mayro’ng mga anesthesia na

nilalagay. Hindi daw kasi agad-agad tumatalab

kung

ano ‘yung pakiramdam ng may

tattoo. Tapos ‘yung sa process, kun’wari andun na sa point na tatatuan ka na, ano ‘yung

feeling mo, kinakabahan ka ba, para ka bang mamamatay na gano’n.” Jackie and Karla

stated their efforts to research the pain they would feel in the process. The researchers

believed that the participants have given out their efforts on researching about this matter

because most of them have no prior knowledge about it. It is also better for the

individuals to ask around and acquire some references before getting a tattoo. Body

tattooing is not a usual practice that everyone undergoes; thus, it takes a considerable

time to do research and preparations about the possible pain level that one would feel

during the process. The participants may have intended to do this for them not to be too

overwhelmed when the process takes place. As mentioned by Zinn in 2009, people who

do not possess any form of body modification, tattoo in particular, have this inherit drive

to ask people with tattoos about the pain involved in the experience. It is in the same way

that the participants researched of the pain involved in getting the tattoo. Moreover,

tattooing chiefly involves the direct contact of needles on the skin. Conceivably, the fear

of needles brought by the pain it elicits was another factor that might have been present in

moving the participants to do a research about the feelings during the process. The

needles involved serves as a foreign tool that punctures and invades the body. Such idea

47

conceivably makes the individuals to feel uncomfortable during the process. Thus, it

gives them the idea of pain and fear of needles that is then being associated to the

tattooing process.

Another apparent preparation that the participants did was to research about the

tattoo’s aftercare. For instance, Jackie expressed, “Actually, nag-search ako bago ako

magpatattoo kung ano ‘yung mga kaylangan gawin after ka magpatattoo. Kung pa’no

lilinisin, gan’on.” Likewise, Karla stated, “‘Yung after ng tattoo, gano’n may mga

process pa na kasi na may mga nag-eextract pa ng mga tinta no’n. So, ano ‘yung

panggamot d’on, gano’n.”

Tattooing does not merely require an individual to be

prepared before the process, but one must also be mindful of the aftercare that has to be

done after acquiring the tattoo. Likewise, tattoos resemble as permanent marks on the

body those that would be indelible to someone; thus, one must be mindful of the proper

maintenance that must be done after it has been acquired. It is possibly in such thinking

that moved the participants to do researches about the aftercare. Moreover, tattooing

requires maintenance and treatments after one had obtained it. There are times that the

tattoos may fade or may be deformed, thus re-tattooing is considered by other tattoos. It

is in such reason that proper knowledge regarding the tattoo’s maintenance and care is

often researched by the individuals.

Furthermore, one of the participants took into consideration the possible risks of

getting a tattoo. Karla, stated, “Tapos tinitingnan ko din kung meron ba s’yang, ano,

kun’wari puwedeng magkaroon ng sakit, gano’n. Tapos ‘yun pa nga, ‘yung sa trabaho

daw, puwede kang hindi mapasok ng trabaho.” Another matter that has been emergent in

researching was exploring of the possible risks of getting a tattoo. A seemingly apparent

48

reason is the issues regarding one’s health. There is a possibility of becoming physically

ill due to the (application of a) tattoo such as infections that can cause inflammation,

HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and on very few instances even syphilis or tuberculosis

(Oosterze, 2009). The participants must have let themselves be knowledgeable of the

possible health risks before acquiring the tattoo. Another reason for doing a research was

the possible employment struggles of getting a tattoo. Studies have revealed that there are

still remaining stereotypes and judgments about tattooing (Lim et al., 2013). Individuals

with tattoos in the workplace, for one, are commonly viewed as the negatives in the

spectrum that tattoos could possibly degrade one’s identity and capacity as a person. As it

was also revealed that an employer or a fellow co-worker may perceive one’s tattoo as a

negative aspect of oneself which could be harmful to one’s perceived credibility as a

worker (Travis, 2013). Moreover, companies prefer not to be associated with tattooed

individuals. According to a survey for a career information website by Gibbons (2003),

58% of managers were less likely to offer an applicant with a piercing or tattoo a job. The

participants

may

have

done

research

about

the

possible

disease

contraction

and

employment struggles so as to have an understanding of the possible consequences of

getting a tattoo.

Mental Preparations

Setting one’s mind before the process is another theme that was manifested in the

data. Mae stated, Kinundisyon ko lang ‘yung isip ko kaya inaano ko ‘yung isip ko no’n

na ano, maging handa ako.” Correspondingly, Khaye stated, “Hinanda ko lang ‘yung

isip ko siguro.”She further added, Oo, kasi naisip ko kung tatanggapin ba ko ng tao. At

sa lolo, kasi hindi sila masyadong ano sa ganong bagay.Aside from the designs and

49

feelings, the tattoos’ state of mind must be firm before getting a tattoo. The researchers

supposed that the participants must have bear in mind that acquiring a tattoo is not solely

a matter that is being done for nothing but for something. Likewise, the participants must

have considered tattooing as a matter that was out of their comfort zones. Thus, a serious

mind setting before the actual tattoo process was needed. It is in such regard that being

mentally

prepared

has

been

taken

into

consideration

by

the

participants

before

approaching the process. Moreover, the researchers believed that some of the participants

might not have a hands-on experience themselvesas being directly heard or seen from

someone who has an actual tattooof the possible consequences of getting one. For

instance, Khaye prepared her mental self for the manner on how others would take her

tattoo especially those who she considered as not open minded of the practice. Thus, the

researchers suppose that the participants not only prepared their minds prior to the actual

process, but likewise of the probable deconstructive criticisms from others once they

have acquired the tattoo.

Asking for the Approval of Others

The participants likewise asked others’ permission for getting a tattoo such as a

family member or their peers. As Khaye once said, “Sinabi ko pa kay daddy kung ano,

payag ba sy’a.” Moreover, Mae expressed, Humingi din ako ng suggestions, tinanong

ko din ‘yung daddy ko kung payag ba s’ya. Humingi ako ng ano, ‘Uy, magpapatattoo ba

ako?” Individuals have the propensity to be dependent to someone when coming up with

a decision. These people that an individual looks up to are commonly those who possess

a certain level of connection with them, such as family members or friends.

The same

holds true in the Philippine context, Isip (1999) contended that families are the most

50

important reference group of Filipinos which stands as the fundamental foundation of the

alliance system where they find security, strength and support. In the situation of the

participants, putting indelible markings on their bodies is a not-so-common practice

especially that all of them were born and raised in a conservative family. Thus, it is in

this regard that the participants asked their parents’ approval for getting a tattoo. In the

Philippine context, one’s deviant behavior is directly attributed to the manner on how one

was raised in the family. That being said, the researchers believed that the family’s

approval mattered to the participants because they possibly did not want to do something

that

would

degrade

them

as

a

person,

and,

most

importantly,

their

family.

The

participants’ asking for approval plays a huge role on their decision of acquiring a tattoo.

Likewise, Atkinson (as cited by Wilson, 2008) agrees that the opinion of family members

usually is the primary influence of an individual’s decision of whether or not to obtain a

tattoo, with peer support following those behind and finally consideration of reaction in

the workplace.

Physical Preparations

It is quite surprising that physical preparation came not at the top of the emergent

themes. Tattooing mainly involves the contact of needles on the skin; therefore, one may

assume that physical preparation should be the first concern for preparation. However,

based from the previous discussions, it is unlikely the case. According to Jermaine, the

sole preparation she did was “Naligo lang ako, ‘yun lang.” Correspondingly, Jackie

answered, “Pero before kasi ako magpatattoo, ano lang ako water, water lang. Oo water

lang, tapos kailangan busog.” She further reasoned out that, Sabi kasi ng artist ko.” On

the idea of being full, Jackie said that it was according to the tattooist. Other possible

51

questions were raised to the participants on why was such the case; apparently, they

seemed to know nothing more than what the tattooists have advised them to do. The

researchers assumed that being physically prepared is not the main preparation the

participants did because no matter how prepared they are in this aspect, still one will feel

the pain. However, the researchers believed that the physiological aspect of being full is

contingent to one’s mental strength of being able to endure the pain that will be

experienced during the process of tattooing and vice versa.

Based from the previous discussions about the participants’ preparations prior to

the process of tattooing, it is quite apparent that Researching is the most dominant theme

that emerged. These researches done by the participants mainly focused on the tattoo

design, the feelings during the process, the tattoo’s aftercare and the possible risks of

getting a tattoo. To that end, the researchers infer that none of the participants went

through the process unprepared. They have spent some time and efforts in considering

some matters regarding the tattooing process. The second identified theme is Mental

Preparations. The participants prepared their minds prior to the process due to the

conceivable reason that tattooing is what they consider as a matter out of their comfort

zones; thus, a serious mind setting was needed. Moreover, preparation of the mind prior

to the actual process was not only manifested, but likewise of the probable deconstructive

criticisms from others once the participants have acquired the tattoo. Asking the Approval

of Others is the third theme that was identified. In the Philippine context, one’s deviant

behavior is directly attributed to the manner on how one was raised in the family. Having

such idea in mind, the researchers believe that the family’s approval mattered to the

participants because they possibly did not want to do something that would degrade them

52

as a person, and, most importantly, their family in acquiring the tattoo. Lastly, the fourth

identified theme is Physical Preparations. It is quite surprising that such came not atop

the list for tattooing only involves the direct contact of needle on the skin. In addition,

one of the participants answered that her tattooist advised her to be full before undergoing

the process. Questions were raised to know other reasons for so but the participants

seemed to know nothing more than what their artists told them to. However, the

researchers believed that the physiological aspect of being full is dependent to one’s

mental strength of being able to withstand the pain that will be experienced during the

tattoo acquisition process and vice versa.

These preparations were bound to set and ready the participants prior to the

process but it is also apparent that they considered doing such matters so that they may

not be too overwhelmed by the tattoo acquisition procedure and for them to be able to

take control of themselves during the process of tattooing.

Tattoo in terms of the Design, Color, Size, Location and Number Immediately after the participants were asked on the manner how they prepared

for the process, they were then asked of questions bound to answer the second sub-

problem of the study: “How do the participants describe their tattoos?” Questions

discussing the second sub-problem pertain to the tattoo in terms of its: (a) design, (b)

color, (c) size, (d) location, and (e) number.

Table 3 presents the emergent answers of the participants with regards to how

they describe their tattoos.

53

Table 3. Tattoos in Terms of the Design, Color, Size, Location and Number

         

Number

Participant

Design

Color

Size

Location

of tattoos

Mae

Dream catcher

Multicolor

2-3 inches

Pelvic area

One

     

“Yung

   

Jackie

Quote,

Dream catcher,

Bible verse

Multicolor

pinaka-

malaki ‘yung

dream

Left and

right ribs,

Pelvic area,

Three

catcher then

Wrist

‘yung quote.”

 

Phoenix,

Multicolor

5-6 inches

Both legs

 

Khaye

Flower

Two

Karla

Guitar

Black

3-4 inches

Upper back

One

 

Mother’s name,

 

“2-3 inches

Upper back,

 

Tibs

Band name,

Black

siguro

Wrist,

Three

Cross

ganon…”

Arm

 

Surname and

       

Nickname in

Wrist

Gelou

Japanese

Black

2-3 inches

Arm

Two

character

Jermaine

Fleur-de-Lis

Black

“Two by

Upper left

One

two”

chest

Design

“Two by Upper left One two” chest Design In terms of the design, it is clearly

In terms of the design, it is clearly manifested that

most of the participants favored the dream catcher as

the

design

of

their

tattoo.

For

instance,

Jackie

expressed,

Tapos

sa

left

ribs

naman

is

dream

catcher. Good luck charm ko ‘yon.” (see Figure 14).

Likewise, Mae stated “Yon, dream catcher.(see

Figure 15). She also added, kasi mahilig ako sa

dream catcher, tapos parang pag nakikita ko ‘yon, di

ba nga may meaning ‘yon, kaya para sa’kin ‘yung mga dreams ko kasi, madalas kasi

yung mga dreams ko parang hindi ano okay, kaya ayun.One obvious aspect that the

54

participants

had

in

choosing

the

dream

catcher as the design of their tattoo is that

they use it as a trinket of luck that pushes

away the negativities. It is in the same idea

that Jackie used her dream catcher tattoo as

her good luck charm. Mae also displayed the

tattoo as her good luck charm. Mae also displayed the same belief with her tattoo for

same belief with her tattoo for she used the tattoo to filter away the bad dreams occurring

to her. From such, the researchers purported that traditional beliefs to amulets or

talismans are being enlivened by the participants in the form of tattooing. Despite of the

obsoleteness of the beliefs to actual objects as protections in the now considered modern

scientific era, such beliefs conceivably resurfaced subtly in the form of tattooing. That

being said, it is marking of the body of images that serve as modern form of talismans.

Figure 16. Tib’s tattoo
Figure 16. Tib’s tattoo

Some of the participants chose tattoo designs to tell the

world of their story. Jackie noted “‘Yung quote kasi

nakalagay, ‘Because of her, I will not fall,’ kumbaga

‘yung mom ko ‘yung inspiration ko para hindi ako mag-

give up sa mga problems ko.” Likewise, Tibs chose an

inscription of the name of her mother (see Figure 16)

and her favorite band as the design of her tattoo. It was

in the same case that Gelou chose an inscription of her

name and surname in Japanese (see Figure 17) to be

tattooed on her body.

It

is noticeable that

the participants

chose quotations and

55

inscriptions that speak of them.

One

of

the

participants

noted,

“…dapat

kasi

relate

sa’yo.”

Jackie

chose

such

tattoo

inscriptions

to

tell

herself,

and

thus to the world, her personal

anecdote that is inscribed beneath

Figure 17. Gelou’s tattoo
Figure 17. Gelou’s tattoo

the layers of the tattoo inked on her body. It is in the same way how Tibs and Gelou

chose the tattoo design they would put on their bodies. Tibs selected the name of her

mother to show her love to her which she cannot express through words. During the

interview with Tibs when she was asked of her reason for selecting such tattoo, she

initially answered that she did not want her mother to be livid with her. However, as the

discussion went by, she subtly opened that it was because of her love to her mother that

let her to choose the mentioned tattoo inscription. The band’s name, on the other hand,

was chosen by Tibs for the reason that the songs of the band inspired her to go on to life

Figure 18. Tib’s tattoo
Figure 18. Tib’s tattoo

despite

of

the

problems

she

has

been

through. As Tibs explained, Yun nga yung

sa banda, paborito ko sila, para malaman

nila na idol ko talaga sila. Tapos yung mga

songs nila parang inspirations ko sa buhay

ko.” (see Figure 18). Moreover, Gelou’s

choice of selecting her name and surname

inscribed in Japanese is that she adores

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someone who is Japanese. Hence, it is noticeable that the common denominator which

can be seen when one looks deeply into the participants’ tattoo quotation and inscription

on the body is that all of them are telling their own stories. The words or verses that have

been inked on the body are contingent to the stories the participants wanted to convey to

the world.