The word "tattoo" was derived from the Tahitian term "tatau", which means "to mark something". Tattooing as a way of bodily artistic expression is more popular and socially accepted in modern day America than it has ever been. Tattoos have a long history in many cultures and religions, and have made strides to become internationally accepted. They have also become staples in American culture and entertainment, and through my experiences with tattoos it is safe to say that tattooing cannot be seen as mutilation. .
The history of the tattoo dates back to as early as 1200 B.C. where the bodies of Egyptian mummies have been found to have tattoos. As Egypt's Empire ascended so did the tattoo, when the Polynesians began tattooing around 1500 B.C. Then the Ainu tribe located in western Asia began using tattoos as a sign of social status, they have also been credited with introducing this art to Japan where it became a religious and ceremonial right. The concept of tattoos then made its way up to the Mediterranean Sea where Romans and Greeks used them for many things, from identifying spies, to marking criminals and slaves. As tattooing began to spread to Northern Europe, Danish and Norwegian families tattooed their families crest on themselves. With the Norman invasion of 1066 A.D. the art of tattooing disappeared from Western culture from the 12th to the 16th centuries. Tattoos then started showing up more and more in the 1700s when English sailors started to get them, and then they became fashionable when King Edward VII became fond of them.
One reason that tattooing hadn't become a widespread fashion statement like it is today is because of the tremendous pain that one would have to endure when being tattooed. Each puncture was done one by one, and it took an extremely longer amount time to finish a tattoo than it does today. Then in 1891, an Irish immigrant named Samuel O"Riley invented and patented the first electric tattooing machine.