Self expression through body art

By on October 9, 2003

Body art has been a form of expression for thousands of years and it is a trend that seems to be growing at Quinnipiac with tattoos or body piercings.

Both tattooing and piercing can be very dangerous and painful, so one may wonder what would cause a person to endure the consequences.

Peer pressure, wanting to feel unique, independence and self expression are common reasons to get pierced or tattooed.

Senior Erika Delco got her tongue pierced on a whim, but she is taking much more time deciding about a tattoo.

“I want it to mean something, so I am taking my time,” Delco said.

Some students do not think body piercing is appropriate.

“I think ears are the only thing that’s supposed to be pierced,” freshman Jamie Stewart said.

On the other hand, Cassandra Pignatelli has her navel pierced.

“At first I got it because everyone had one but now I really like it,” she said.

Junior Sean Perusse has five piercings, three holes in one ear and two in the other.

“I am going to keep them in for a long time, until I get too old to be cool, when my ears start sagging,” he said.

Piercings are much less permanent than tattoos. With technology and money, tattoos can be removed yet it takes a lot longer than it took to get done.

“If I could have a tattoo that would only last ten years I would get one, but the thought of having one as a grandfather is weird,” senior Dan Looney said.

But if one decides to get a tattoo remember to get something meaningful.

“I’ll never regret mine but its important to think about what you want, realize it is painful but you will enjoy it,” junior Cory Darmos said.

Tattoos are filled with possibilities. Some people have symbols that pertain to religion, a certain event, or maybe something cute like an animal.

Darmos said he had a friend draw his symbol, and Perusse said he drew his future tattoo but it is too complicated to describe.

Junior Ryan Wescott has the Latin word for honesty and truth “veritas” tattooed on his upper left arm.

“I did not want something stupid. I wanted it to mean something, it is part of my family shield,” he said.

Location is another important factor.

“The only place my mom approved was on my back because it is not easily noticeable,” Darmos said.

When women decide to get a tattoo, they have to consider future events such as weddings and childbirth.

“I plan on getting it on my back or foot, somewhere that won’t stretch when I have kids,” Delco said.

Aside from where, what and when to get a tattoo or piercing, it’s important to think of medical factors as well.

According to, “Piercing ear cartilage causes a wound that is harder to clean, takes longer to heal, and is more likely to become infected than earlobe piercing.”

Other body piercings can cause “infection of the site. Scar tissue may form from this infection and damage to underlying blood vessels or nerves.”

Different types of jewelry can cause problems as well. suggests only use non allergenic jewelry. Sometimes it is not so much the actual piercing, but the jewelry that is worn.

According to, “Jewelry in the mouth or lips can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth. Jewelry in the navel can get caught on clothing and linens. Navel piercings can take up to a year to heal completely. Jewelry in the genital area may cause injury to you or your sexual partner. It also can cause condom breakage, increasing the risk of pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.”

Tattooing comes with a set of warnings. It is typical for a tattoo to bleed recently after being done, and it will discolor over time.

According to, “If a sterile technique is not used, there is a chance of spreading many potentially life-threatening diseases through piercing or tattooing. The most common diseases transmitted are hepatitis B or hepatitis C.”

Before you jump under the needle, think about your decision. It is permanent, painful and could be hazardous.

Tattoos and piercings can be expressive and state your individuality but they also entail possible future consequences.


About Nicole Silva