Tattoos and piercings have seemingly become part of the landscape, and while we can revel in the inherent coolness of body art as a whole nowadays, there once was a time not that long ago that any type of body art was seen as rebellious and did not belong. It is strange to think that such a stern attitude could have existed regarding tattoos and piercings, but when you stop & think about it for a second, the majority of folks don’t actually rock any kind of body art. As humans, whether it’s a survival trait or just something that’s developed over time, we tend to shrink away from & castigate things that are different. Body art most certainly is one of those things.

We’ve often thought of body art as the mark of the quintessential outsider, the person who pushes boundaries and sticks it to society and their rules. While this image appeals to some, it usually tends to ruffle feathers, leading to the often vilified way we look at all things body art. It must be said, though, that this rebelliousness is a far cry from the original purposes of body art. No one can completely say that such original practices of body art would be more acceptable to society, but they do bear noting.

Photo by Jack Finnigan on Unsplash

Here’s a few things you may not have known about body art:

Nothing New 

While many people tend to show the history of body art going back to the early 20th century “freak” shows & carnivals, as well as early takes on military service from that same period, tattooing and piercing goes back thousands of years. Some recently unearthed mummified remains still bear the marks of tattoos.

Artistic, Status, and Devotion 

Body art has relevance in being artistic and expressing oneself. Tattoos and piercings also told a population who was the boss. Still others chose to use forms of body art as a way to paying respect to deities and ancestors.


Whether the event brought happiness or heartache, commemorating the good and bad in our lives has always had a place in body art.

Physical Extremes and Show 

Others like to use body art as a way of showing the mind conquering the body’s supposed limitations. The practices are hard to watch at times, and the presence of blood tells us that something is wrong, yet these extreme artists push ahead, bringing new meaning to the idea of “mind over matter”.


This has more to do with how the body heals when you get a tattoo or a piercing. Everyone is different, and it’s important that when you decide to go ahead with a tattoo or piercing, you need to have already put into place what you need to do for aftercare. Be mindful that some healing times can go up to a year!

Body art can take on many forms, and while the original purposes of body art are no longer predominantly at the forefront today, it is nice to see that society has become more welcoming to those who are practitioners & those who partake of their craft. There is no real way of knowing what the future holds for body art and to what extremes the practice will be pushed to, but so long as there is an avid openness to the possibilities, it’s comforting to know that body art will continue to add on to its unique history.