New York, NY – March 6, 2012 – Oxygen Media today released a study conducted by Lightspeed Research targeting women and men and their insights into the ultimate form of artistic expression – the tattoo. The findings shatter the long-held traditional perceptions of the permanent body art, and serve to spotlight the current state of the modern-day tattoo. Whether referred to as "ink,” "tats,” "art,” "pieces" or "work", one thing is clear on the tattoo front – women rule. While 85% perceive that more men sport tattoos, in actuality, 59% are women and 41% are men among the tattooed in the United States. Across party lines, those leaning to the left are seen as three times more likely to have a tattoo than their counterparts on the right. While 39% think Bill Clinton is sporting ink, 33% think President Obama is hiding one underneath his Presidential suit. The GOP exception is Sarah Palin, who 46% feel must have a hidden tattoo. The times they are a-changin’ as 89% reveal tattoos are becoming more and more accepted by society. No longer a revenge tactic, 55% of parents give the thumbs-up to their offspring getting inked. The survey, which interviewed more than 1,000 people ages 18 to 49, explores findings as they relate to the sexes, political party affiliation and family. The survey coincides with the launch of Oxygen’s new competition reality series, “Best Ink” premiering on Tuesday, March 27 at 10 PM ET/PT.
Women vs. Men
The classic voluptuous pin-up girl tattoo isn’t just for sailors anymore. Among the 29% of all adults who have a tattoo, those polled perceived that overwhelmingly more men (85%) sported tattoos than women (15%). In actuality, 59% are women and 41% are men among the tattooed in the United States.
68% of women say they got a tattoo because it’s beautiful, with hearts and angels being their top choices. And, more often than men, 40% of women turn the act of getting a tattoo into a shared experience. On the other hand, 30% of men – more than women – say they got a tattoo for cultural or religious reasons, 26% to show their loyalty, and 20% to express patriotism.
Women and men are in agreement on one thing – only 12% of both sexes would take back their decision to get a tattoo if they could go back in time.
With the body as a canvas, the body part selected for the chosen tattoo sets the stage.
• 39% of women and men choose the upper back or shoulder, the most common spot
• Men tattoo their arms three times as often as women
• 32% of women tattoo their lower back
• 27% choose the ankle, where almost no men have tattoos
Tattooed vs. Tattoo-less
Tattoos are not the drastic flesh brandings they may have been viewed as in the past. 87% of all respondents think tattoos are works of art and 78% find tattoos to be meaningful. 43% of those without tattoos are open to getting one, and 73% cite the main reason they don’t get one is because they are afraid of the commitment. On the flip side, 88% of the inked crowd is happy with their decision to get a tattoo.
As far as acceptance of the tattoo in society, 91% say tattoos are more acceptable than gauged earlobes, 75% say they are more acceptable than smoking, and 63% feel they are more acceptable than body or tongue piercings.
Democrats vs. Republicans / Celebrity
Those affiliated with the Democratic Party are seen as three times more likely to have a tattoo than their Republican counterparts. 39% of Americans think Bill Clinton has a hidden tattoo, and 33% suspect that Barack Obama may be hiding one as well. Working her way across party lines is Sarah Palin, who 46% feel must be hiding a tattoo. Also on the GOP front, Ron Paul is voted most likely of the Republican nominees to have a hidden tattoo. If he does, he could gain some of the “men with tattoos” vote, who say they are more likely to vote for a candidate like them – tattooed. If Stephen Colbert joins the race, he would have 45% of Americans poking around for his hidden tattoo. Interestingly, 43% perceive those with tattoos to be more rebellious than people who don't have a tattoo.
When it comes to entertainment, America’s favorite tattoos belong to inked stars Johnny Depp and Katy Perry. On the TV journalism front, 49% suspect that Matt Lauer has a tattoo, and 38% think Ann Curry could be inked as well.
Parents vs. Offspring
The rebellious teen may want to think twice before getting a tattoo to piss-off mom. 55% of all parents say they approve of their child getting a tattoo someday. Even 43% of those without tattoos say they would approve of their offspring getting inked, while 85% of those with tattoos also approve.
It runs in the family. 29% of those with tattoos have a tattooed mother and/or father. Among the tattooed, 1 out of 10 had a parent take them to get it done. On the flip side, 33% are hiding their tattoos from their parents. 13% simply feel their tattoos are too personal to show in public.
Mom did what?! While 41% would rather their mother and father not ever get a tattoo, 59% approve of the act. How young is too young? Most say that teenagers getting tattoos is too young, although more than half of those with tattoos were teenagers when they got their first tattoo.