Meanings Around the World

Around the world, views and opinions on tattoos change and tattoos are a form of tradition and part of the culture.

In the Philippines, it is very common to see people in full body tattoos. When the Spaniards arrived to the islands in the 1520’s, they called them “pintados,” which means “painted,” since they were full of ink. One of the main reason they tattoo the men tattoo their bodies is for hunting. They believed that the tattoos held a power that would strengthen and protect them. they were also used as a reward for a successful hunt and to classify social status. When were tattooed to enhance their beauty, ability to conceive children and as a means for clothing.

In Africa, a common method of tattooing is called scarification. It’s not done with ink, but it’s about permanently modifying your body by scarring it with a sharp object. In some areas, they are bold markings done to babies on the face. In other areas, they are smaller markings done on the face and the body at an older age. they were used to identify people of different tribes and social status. For women, they also represented fertility. People are fighting against this tradition as it is painful and becoming more unnecessary.

In South Korea, things are pretty different. To become a tattoo artist, you need to have a doctor license. That’s ridiculous! You have to go through years of school just to make art?? If I’m going to be working hard for a doctor license, then I’d be doing it to be a doctor. Which is why there are many illegal tattoo shops in South Korea. South Korea is also very obsessed with beauty and the way people look. People go through multiple surgeries to modify their faces to fit the beauty standard. Because of the very unique and specific beauty standards, tattoos are looked down upon. There are even signs that prohibit people tattoos to enter public areas. That is why many people get their tattoos where they can be easily hidden.


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