Nonconformity vs. Stereotyping

Since the dawn of the first tattoo, there has been a cloud of judgment hanging over the tattoo scene. In the early days, only the wealthy could afford one; however, that all changed with the invention of the electric tattooing machine. After that, tattoos were everywhere, inescapable. The “degenerates,” as society began to label them, were seen as social abnormalities and have been associated with the mentally insane.The topic of this essay is to debate whether New York Times columnist David Brooks’ “Nonconformity is Skin Deep” is a better argument than Associated Content blogger Georga Hackworth’s “Stigmas, Stereotypes in Tattooing: Why the Medical Community is to Blame. ” Both articles offer insight to their respective feelings on the subject of tattooing; both are strongly opinionated, yet only one can be the winner of this essay, and that winner is David Brooks’ “Nonconformity is Skin Deep,” as he excels over the opposition.
David Brooks’ “Nonconformity is Skin Deep” argument that tattooing is becoming a social trend is persuasive; he backs this by stating that tattoos are everywhere, inescapable. He wants us to assume that behind every judge, teacher, lawyer, housewife, etc lurks ink. Brooks makes a mockery of the “tattoo fad” by writing, “these are expressions of commitment…they don’t always work out…but the longing for permanence is admirable” (Brooks). Hackworth’s “Stigmas, Stereotypes of Tattooing: Why the Medical Community is to Blame” is just as convincing as Brooks’.She blames the psychology and psychiatry branch for their portrayal of people with tattoos as “homosexuals, fetish enthusiasts, and barbaric”(Hackworth). She backs up this claim with evidence published in 1985’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. ” Hackworth gives a brief history of the art of tattooing, discussing how in its early days was reserved only for the rich, only later to be adopted by the common man with the invention of the electric tattooing machine.
As soon as tattoos became affordable, the rich turned away as they no longer represented a social status. Soon after, only circus “freaks” and social outcasts became the rep for people with tattoos, a stereotype still reverberated today, a century later. Brooks and Hackworth rely heavily on their own expertise on the subject of tattooing. Brooks is an accomplished editor with a vast audience base of the upper crusts of society. Hackworth is a “sexpert” blogger who has felt the sting of being unjustly persecuted because of her tattoos.Hackworth’s “Stigmas…” was written from a first hand account; she, like most of the population with tattoos, has felt this unjustified stereotype as being social outcasts. She claims that ironically the tattoo artist is labeled as ‘barbaric’ yet the medical nurse is the one who jabs at her with various needles.

Brooks sees the fad as a consumer product that will soon die out, leaving everyone with a tattoo, left out of popularity. According to Brooks, the trend of trying to stray from being a nonconformist is quickly becoming a conformity that is affecting everyone.Hackworth does not do justice with her piece; she makes many grammatical errors that hurt her article than help it, making her seem unworthy of our time. Brooks comes off as knowledgeable, smart, and humorous making his case more credible.Works Cited Brooks, David. “Nonconformity is Skin Deep. ” New York Times 27 August 2006.
Hackworth, Georga. “Stigmas, Stereotypes of Tattooing: Why the Medical Community is to Blame. ” 13 June 2008. Associated Content. September 2010 .

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