The Increasing Use Of Tattoo By Averaged Liberians – Journalist Comfort Johnson Finds Out

By Comfort Johnson

Man with tattoo

A tattoo as is defined is an indelible mark fixed upon the body by inserting pigment under the skin, and the earliest evidence of tattoo art dates from 5000 BC. Across time and cultures, tattoos have many different forms and meanings.

Permanent tattoo is created by inserting a pigment just below the dermal–epidermal junction of the skin with a needle or a similar implement.

The pigment is attacked by the immune system and sits in macrophages and fibroblast cells, producing permanent coloration of the skin.

The presence of a tattoo has often been considered to signify something about the bearer.

Historical records indicate that the practice of tattooing has been part of human culture since ancient times, with its popularity waxing and waning depending on the existing cultural norms.

In early Greek and Roman times (eighth to sixth century BC) tattooing was associated with barbarians. The Greeks learned tattooing from the Persians, and used it to mark slaves and criminals so they could be identified if they tried to escape. The Romans in turn adopted this practice from the Greeks.

The prevalence of tattoos is higher among people with mental disorders and those likely to come in contact with mental health services.

 The motivations for acquiring a tattoo are varied and tattoos can give clues to the presence of particular psychiatric conditions and to the inner world of patients.

 According to researchers psychiatrists need to be aware of the health and safety issues surrounding the tattooing procedure and be able to give appropriate advice to their patients if they wish to acquire a tattoo. The issue of capacity must be considered. This may be particularly relevant for clinicians working with adolescents

This may be particularly relevant for clinicians working with adolescents, the most common age group for acquiring tattoos.

 Owing to the high proportion of adults who subsequently regret their tattoos and the associated psychological and social distress, clinicians should be aware of methods of tattoo removal.

The presence of a tattoo has often been considered to signify something about the bearer.

Accordingly previous literature shows some association with psychiatric disorders and criminality. In this article we explore the history of tattooing, motivations for acquiring a tattoo and its relevance to psychiatric practice.

In occasional circumstances, psychiatrists may be required to advise a patient wanting a tattoo. It is worth noting that although tattooing is generally associated with body art and decorative body modification, it also has important cosmetic uses after surgery, for example in patients with breast cancer.

Despite the negative perceptions associated with the usage of tattoo from its origin in Liberia the usage has become increasingly high mostly among young people who make up the large portion of the country’s population who lived especially in the urban setting.

The assertions expressed by some of these youths in an interview   claimed  that the practice of tattoo was a demonic act which needs not to be condoned why  others considered tattoo usage as a modern day fashion. See below the excerpts  

Mathaline smith a non-tattoos user and student of the University of Liberia expressed regret of having tattoo on her body or those who are having tattoos on their bodies, which she terms as not a good thing for a Christian.

According to Madam Smith, she usually listen to people discussing  about tattoos of being demonic, but I’m not really into that discussion, because I don’t like tattoo

‘I feel people who use tattoo on their bodies are not responsible” she noted

Matherline furthered in her interview, as saying anyone who have tattoo on his/her body, adding, I have one of my girlfriend who have it on her body but on several occasions told her friend that tattoos is not good for the body and does not represent her as being decent.   

She said the Bible forbids people, who use tattoo on their bodies, and as a Christian she does not like this act..

When asked how she feels seeing tattoo on the bodies of her friend, she responded as saying “I feel very bad whenever I see tattoo on my friend’s body, because as a Christian  I don’t suppose  those habits  that are ungodly.

Again when questioned what’s advice  she has for other young people using tattoos on their bodies she replied, I don’t have any advice for them, because it is late now because the ac has been done.

Another tattoos user Genève Suah also expressed her desire of putting tattoos on her body as a means of a modern day fashion.

“I got the butterfly tattoo on my back, another one with my name which is on my arm, and another one in my chest which is the children names” she added.

Genève Suah is a student of the University of Liberia, who carried three different tattoos on her body, adding as a means of fashion and also bearing the name of her children.

According to Madam Suah when asked which benefit are you getting from the tattoos on her body, I am not getting any benefit, but what I really love of this tattoos is that, it attracts other people who may like this and want to put it on them, she noted. She also said tattoos attracts man to you, who sees it and want to be friend with you; people who wear tattoos on their bodies, are seen as being irresponsible, what do you have to say, don’t judge the book from the cover, “Don’t judge the people by their looks, but what is in the book, people with tattoos aremedical doctor, banker, and lawyers, so tattoos don’t make you irresponsible she pointed out.

‘don’t just see tattoos on me, and just judge anyhow, I feel good having tattoos on me, when I never had it, I was also feeling good, so having tattoos on me, make me feel ready good, in a direct question to my interviewee.

she said there is no health implication to those that put tattoos on their body, the only thing you see people skin spoiled unless you don’t have a good skin, adding that most people have a growing skin, so it is not good for them, but there is no health implication at all.

So how is this tattoos being done on your body, I do my tattoos with a machine that contain a shape object like needle and it was done by a gentleman call awake.

I spend US$5.00 each for a letter, so if you are putting ten letters on your body which is US$50.00 she noted in her narration.

Every letter cause five USD each, but some of the tattoos parlor have their own different prices, which they operate on as a mean of making money.

it is very painful, during the junking  of the tattoos, you bleed with blood and all from your body, you just have to be strong.

According to madam Suah each of the tattoo where being placed on her for over six years now, and is very difficult to be remove from your body, she added..

‘There is no impression that led me to have tattoo on my body, I just choose to do it, and because I love it and for fashion she asserted’.

Mary Nyankan expresses her disbelief of allowing herself to use tattoo on her body, she said at first she did not know the implication of using tattoo now.

According to Madam Nyankan, she regretted putting this tattoo on her body, I did not know first, that is why I put it on my body, because my pastor can preach  against  people who put tattoo on their bodies as not be a good thing.

She further that the tattoo placed on her body caused her US$5.00, and was done by a guy call Shaky; the tattoo is place on the arm of Madam Nyankan.

She narrated in the interview that, people said that, those with tattoo cannot donate blood to their family member, friends and love one.

She further advice friends who want to put tattoos on their body not to do it,   because it is not good for a responsible person, adding that the tattoo are done for 45-minute, she noted.

Another student of the University of Liberia, Josephine Gbore also expressed her dislike of people who used tattoo on their body to be irresponsible way of living your life.

 “Many people, who use tattoo, are based on attraction, which mean the person is being attracted to loving the tattoos and putting it on their body”.

 She continued that she  would like to tell her friends or family members, not to get attracted to anything that don’t  look good for them. as a person, because these things are all demonic symbols

Elizabeth Thompson said people who put tattoo on their bodies, do that as a sign of remembering their love ones, children and also people used it as a sign of protections.

“The Bible spoke against people who use tattoos on their body to be very demonic as a Christian you cannot put something that is not good in the eyes of God”.

Amos Wleh who tattoo is placed on his left arm said that, he didn’t regret putting it on his body, claiming that he did it because he likes it as a fashion and really love it, this is why place it on his body.

“I don’t see tattoos as a benefit, but see it as fashion, and this is why I chose to place it on my skin, mainly I felt the pain, as people said it is very painful, when tattoos place your body”.

He said he is not an irresponsible person; he is married with wife and children, he not irresponsible but did that for the sake of fashion.

“I did my tattoos since 2004, since I did this tattoos I haven’t experience any health problem, the one I did is the local tattoos, which was done by the brother”.

Philip J.L. Smallwood is one of the tattoo parlors who designed the bodies of people with different kind of tattoos, said he feel very proud seeing his hand work on many people.

According to Smallwood, he started his work since 1996, he said the tattoos is done different in ways, some people use the cross, butterfly, nickname, love one name, and even want to use masonic craft on their bodies.

“Most of my customers come with the design, but for me I tell them the truth, whenever you come with your design, which have a sign, I will tell you, I can do this design here, but if you insist that I do it, I will surely put it on to get my money.

 He stated he charged each of them US$40.00, because in Liberia tattoos is not a sable business and don’t really have money as compared to western country, where people use tattoos as a business he pointed out.

He said tattoos is an art like used as a design on the bodies of people, and used an ink which is place in the hole of a needle I use to penetrate the skin.

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