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Is it just me, or is everyone getting tattoos? 

By Marielle Filoteo Published Sep 09, 2022 5:00 am

While it's much easier to go to a salon for a new hairstyle or get multiple piercings at the mall, tattoos have always been a thing of mystery. Kid me daydreamed about getting inked, while teen me yearned for self-expression outside school dress codes and parental supervision. When the pandemic came and I hit my 20s, I finally mustered up the courage to get tattoos of my own and even wound up booking appointments after every minor inconvenience. 

You may think 10 tattoos in a span of a few months sounds like overkill; it does say a lot about my need for individuality. And I've realized I'm not the only one looking for a major aesthetic overhaul and uniqueness in my identity outside of societal standards.

Tattoos have become a Gen Z identifier in the pandemic — an ironic permeanent adjustment to the impermanence of everything happening around us. So, I asked my fellow Gen Zs: What's with all the tattoos, and why are we collectively getting inked in a time like this? 

Emy, 23, She/Her 

Why did you decide to get a tattoo? 

I wanted to immortalize (the) things and people who make me happy; for them to be etched on my skin reminds me of how they made me who I am. To be as honest as possible, I did it as soon as I realized how easy it was to lose someone I love, and getting a tattoo together was one of the many things we wanted to do. 

I realized that I didn't want to just get them for fun. I wanted one because I wanted something very meaningful.

Do you think society has become more accepting of tattoos? 

In some fields, they are more lenient, but I can’t say that as a whole. Most of my friends are in the medical field, and there is still a stigma that they won’t be taken seriously if they have tattoos or piercings that could make them look “untrustworthy” in the eyes of their patients. 

The experience was really fun; the nervousness (kasi baka masakit) was worth it after all. 

Leighn Madrigal, 20, She/Her 

Why did you decide to get a tattoo? 

At first, I thought it was just my addiction to tattoo stickers and boredom caused by the pandemic, but as time passed, I realized that I didn't want to just get them for fun. I wanted one because I wanted something very meaningful and memorable to me to be embedded on myself. 

How was the experience of getting one? 

I gave it a lot of thought before getting them (because I didn’t) want to have any regrets. The experience was really fun; the nervousness (kasi baka masakit) was worth it after all. 

"I was also the only tattoo client during the time I was there, which made things safer for me when it comes to equipment used."

Why is self-expression so important to Gen Z?

As these things were mostly influenced by social media, they quickly became a trend. And because Gen Z is easily influenced by these platforms, they quickly adopted it. On top of that, Gen Z is also more prone to self-expression, as this generation has (more) freedom compared to ones before.

Caylie Franco, 23, He/Him 

Why did you decide to get a tattoo? 

I recently got a tattoo while I was in Boracay, and these are actually retouches and cover-ups for previous tattoos I had. I got them for a cheaper price than quoted here in QC. A huge plus is that I was also the only tattoo client during the time I was there, which made things safer for me when it comes to equipment used. 

Why do you think Gen Z is getting tatted now? 

"It hurt like hell because it was around the knee area. But, after that (and several tattoos later), the others didn’t hurt that much anymore."

I think we Gen Zs are people who “live with the moment” and are those who really cherish memorable people or events in their life. They want to remember a certain happening — be it good or bad — and make it a turning point in their life as they strive to be a better version of themselves. 

Do you think society has become more accepting of tattoos? 

A huge yes! I was also lucky enough to get to work in a very accepting environment. I would confidently say that society is now more accepting of body art as they also break the prejudice that they’re “wild” and “unprofessional.” This is a slow but big leap towards breaking the barriers for self-presentation, which further leads to acceptance of each and every one. 

Den Rivera, 23, She/Her 

Why did you decide to get a tattoo? 

Getting a tattoo has always been on my bucket list, but it was just the “it’ll be nice if I can get one some day” kind of wish. What really pushed me is this huge scar on my leg. I was bothered by how it looked and impulsively thought I should take the chance to get a tattoo (and also because a lot of my friends were getting one). It hurt like hell because it was around the knee area. But, after that (and several tattoos later), the others didn’t hurt that much anymore. 

Why do you think Gen Z is getting tattoos now? 

I think people in this generation just really do whatever they want, especially with how their peers would encourage them to not give a sh*t. For me, I personally get tattoos because they look cool and I admit that social media is one more factor. And since a lot of influential people are getting inked now and look cool with their tats, I’m pretty sure this inspires a lot of Gen Z to get one themselves. 

Fort Reyes, 21, He/Him 

How was it getting a tattoo for the first time? 

The experience was fulfilling. I was able to look at them after and feel good because they meant something to me. My favorites are my first one and the third one. The first one was an umbrella and the third one was the logo of SEELE from the anime Evangelion

What’s your message to fellow Gen Z considering a tattoo for the first time?
Make sure to research your artists and get a tattoo that you know you won't regret. Do not impulsively get tattoos because someday you might look at it and you would want something different. Do not be afraid to express yourself because self-expression comes with confidence and confidence comes with self-love.