Marks of Identity: The Performance of Tattoos Among Women in Contemporary American Society
Wilson, Sarah Elizabeth
Frederik Meer, Laurie A.
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This study examines tattooing in the United States among university students, particularly women. A displayed tattoo, I argue, performs a representation of one's identity. This representation can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on the audience of the tattoo. This study explores the relationship between the performer and her potential audience, noting that many women within this study frequently conceal their tattoos from the general public. Such regular concealment questions who these individuals' intended audience may be. Based on my research, I propose that the audience for some tattooed women may, in fact, be the performer herself. Research methodology was primarily ethnographic, utilizing observation, interview, and surveys of women and men mainly across a public, eastern coast, college campus. This study contributes to existing literature about tattoos and social identity by focusing on the performance of tattoos chiefly among college student women in contemporary American society.