November 20, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 46  

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Black ink and metal hardware

By Lorraine Forster
Gazette Staff

Joyce Wang/Gazette
ALONG CAME A SPIDER... WELL, A CRAB ANYWAY. Tiny tattoos on inconspicuous areas of the body are a sexy and increasingly popular way to “rebel.”

In class one day I noticed a tattoo on the lower back of one of my female classmates. It was one of those discreet tattoos, so when I saw it I found myself thinking -wow, I would never have thought of her as someone with a tattoo; she seems so sweet and innocent.

It seems tattoos have become synonymous with rebellious, destructive behaviour. But why is it that we make this association?

In my quest for the answer, I got some help from Jacqui Gallant, body piercer and co-owner of Addictive Tattooing and Piercing on Dundas St. "I don't really think it's rebellious so much as most of [my clients] are new students who are venturing out on their own and it's sort of a way of saying 'I'm on my own and I can make my own choices now'" she explains.

"[It's] young people taking responsibility for their actions; taking control of their own bodies, which is really enlightening for most of them," Gallant says.

The word tattoo often conjures an image of a hardened biker, covered in black, inked skulls and crossbones. This stereotype is part of the reason we associate tattoos with rebellion; however, Gallant claims this is mostly a misnomer. She says that among her male clients, some of the most popular tattoos are kanjis (Japanese writing using Chinese characters), not skulls and crossbones. These are also popular with females, along with butterflies, dolphins and flowers.

In her own opinion and experience, Gallant thinks of her tattoos as giving her a sort of inner strength. "[After getting a tattoo] you realize that it changed nothing. It doesn't determine who you are on the inside and that's what gives you the strength." Although a tattoo may slightly alter a person's outer appearance, Gallant maintains that it doesn't change a person's morals, outlook on life or personality. "It just re-confirms that just because [someone] looks different it doesn't mean they are different," she adds.

In the end, Gallant stresses that if you are considering getting a tattoo, make sure you do your research. Settle on a reputable studio that follows all health regulations to ensure you will be happy with the results.

For some, tattoos may be a symbol of rebellion. For others they're a representation of inner strength and confidence. Either way, for Gallant, "They're pretty to look at."



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