Thanks in part to reality TV, tattoos are losing much of their stigma in society. But is it going too far?

Tattoos were once largely associated with those who lurked on the fringes of society, at least in the United States. Some cultures integrated them as signs of power and royalty -- especially people in the South Pacific. But now a plethora of reality TV shows and tatted-up actors, music stars and even athletes show tattoos have become far more socially acceptable. Shows such as LA Ink and Miami Ink glamorize covering one's self with designs and colors.

Critics say too many people might get the wrong idea that getting a tattoo will make you more popular and happy. Even those in the industry stress it's a very personal decision and one that you need to consider carefully.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick came under heavy criticism for ink that covers virtually his entire upper body. Some critics say a quarterback is a leader, like a CEO. Would you want your leader covered in tattoos? Add to that the explosion of people getting tattoos on their neck, face and head.

Brian Grosz, who writes for the tattoo publication says there are people who should NOT get one:

I absolutely think there are people who should not get tattooed. Anybody who’s not certain of the imagery they want on their body for the rest of their life... Anything that’s highly visible -- necks, hands, faces -- I don’t think that’s a great career move for anybody.

Gorsz is a big fan of the new reality show America's Worst Tattoos where people receive help removing or covering up misguided artwork.

Jamie Krauss of the Narrative Media Group says:

Here’s the thing: Some people look at tattoos as gross and some people are going to judge you for having a tattoo. What you have to remember is this: You are a brand... Every single day we have the opportunity to represent ourselves to the world however we want. You have to think when you’re getting a visible tattoo: ‘How is this going to affect who I want to be in five or ten years?’

That appears to the be the real message that needs to be learned from the tattoo craze.  Think long and hard about why you want one, how it will affect your life and career, and is what you want to permanently add to your body worth keeping for decades?

We believe there's nothing wrong with them, as long as rules of sensibility are applied.   After years of mulling it over, I added a tattoo to my left arm last year. I love it, and am considering adding some Chinese characters to it. But again, I will look it over carefully and make sure the letters I am putting on my arm don't spell an item on the take-out menu!

the tribal and barbed wire finished product.
(townsquare media image)