My opinion

By Dr. Deepak Gupta , Ms. Kaya Chakrabortty
Corresponding Author Dr. Deepak Gupta
Self, - United States of America
Submitting Author Dr. Deepak Gupta
Other Authors Ms. Kaya Chakrabortty
Self, - United States of America


Tattoo, Identity

Gupta D, Chakrabortty K. Tattoo Story Is Like Hair Story: Restoration Of Self-Identity In The Anonymizing World. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2021;12(9):WMC005741

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 30 Aug 2021 07:16:00 PM GMT
Published on: 15 Sep 2021 07:30:45 AM GMT

My opinion

Just like the hair story [1], the tattoo story [2-3] may be about searching a safe place within to create an identity while opponents may be trying to obliterate the creation of that identity. It does not mean that opponents may not create any identity because even being hair-less or tattoo-less is an identity in itself. So why do humans seek identity and identifiable characteristics therein [4-5]? Compared to animals who may induce or suppress odor-producing chemicals as their signature to identify their kin, humans may be more likely to create visually identifiable ornaments to differentiate who their kin are from who are not because human eyes may have become differentially more developed than human noses with human sight and sound reaching far greater distances in the modern digitalized and globalized world than the distances over which animal odor and sound [6-7] has ever been perceived. Interestingly, beauty being in beholder's eyes may be uniquely present among humans only with beauty potentially being limited to beholder's nose among non-humans. Our identity crisis may lie with humans' genetic need to survive by appearing uniquely "beautiful" so as to create comparative advantage over those possessing non-unique "beauty" when being judged in terms of siring the progeny. Additionally, as this personal ability to sire the future generations is enhanced by ensuring and advancing personal ability of next-of-kin in siring progeny because of higher number of common genes shared by next-of-kin, the visually identifiable characteristics whether natural like facial features or artificial like ornamental tattoos may ensure that it is primarily next-of-kin with common shared genes whose survival and reproductive success is getting advanced over the others with unidentifiable innate or external characteristics in terms of kinship.     

To explore what adults think about tattoo phenomenon in the United States, SurveyMonkey respondents’ responses (n=504) were bought [8] as targeted audiences (52% females; 48% males) who responded to the following questions:

  • In your view, what is tattoo phenomenon?
    • It is an ancient phenomenon that has gotten revived recently.
    • It is a modern phenomenon that has gotten created recently.
    • It has been an eternal phenomenon that has always fluctuated.
    • None of the above
  • In your view, what is the SINGLE-MOST common reason for some people ALWAYS getting tattoos?
  • In your view, what is the SINGLE-MOST common reason for some people NEVER getting tattoos?

Regarding tattoo phenomenon being ancient or modern or eternal phenomenon, the audiences were equally divided in their opinions (25%, 29% and 29% respectively). Even though 13% suggested tattoos being expression of something, only 2% expressly said that tattoos are expression of identity. However, 14% expressly suggested tattoos’ permanence preventing tattoos’ acceptance which may mean that humans may want their expressed identity to be flexible/fluid and not rigid/permanent.

The fluidity wanted in the identity may become clearer once it is recognized that the fluidity is needed in the identity so as to create uniqueness in the evolutionary terms wherein uniqueness itself becomes attractive enough to improve comparative advantage in terms of reproductive success that forces one to strive for more and more uniqueness over the generations until uniqueness creates diverse populations of completely unrelated organisms with no shared genes thus risking the loss of warranted group cohesion to survive which thereafter limits the uniqueness from being overdone. Therefore/thereafter, “opposites attract” becomes “birds of a feather flock together” [9-10]. The similar phenomenon may be envisaged when gender identity and sexual orientation might have historically devolved into survivable binary forms in the absence of naturally survivable non-binary generations to eventually evolve back into the survivable spectrum with the advent of modern scientific enlightenment making gender reassignment interventions and assisted reproductive technologies possible for the human genes constantly treading in search of survivable identities without losing survivable generations during the natural selection of evolution.

Essentially, tattoos (or even tattoo-less bodies) are just an innate human quest to create unique identity in a global community called humanity to improve its genetic survival, individually in the present as well as evolutionarily in the future. It may be safely envisaged that “Tattoo: Me, My Gene, My Identity” may be indicative of “my” survival strategy aiming for all “my” genes surviving with “me” surviving until “my” death followed by some of “my” genes surviving through “my” progeny after “my” death while some of “my” identity surviving among “my” fellow living beings even in the absence of “my” genetically related descendants.


  1. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America. com/Hair-Story-Untangling-Roots-America/dp/1250046572/
  2. From Fringe to Phenomenon The Rise of the Tattoo. m-fringe-to-phenomenon-the-rise-of-the-tattoo/
  3. The Identity Crisis Under the Ink.  
  4. Human Tribalism: A Curse of Our Evolutionary Past? | Gifford Lectures 2019 | Prof Mark Pagel | Pt 3. RP8NQw&t=1322s
  5. Twitter. 411360068742922243
  6. Many animals use infrasound to communicate over vast distances. mals-use-infrasound-communicate/
  7. How a whale singing in the Caribbean can be heard by a chum 4,000 miles away. -away.html
  8. Buying Responses with SurveyMonkey Audience. https://help.surveymonk
  9. Do Opposites Attract? Here’s What Science Says. htt ps://
  10. The Real Reason That Opposites Attract. ason-opposites-attract

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