Document Type


Date of Award



School of Communication (SOC)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

First Advisor

Professor Eui B. Lee


Although the population of people with tattoos has increased over the years, very limited research has been conducted in academic research when it comes to tattoos in our society; it is of my interest and importance to start gathering facts about the movement. The main purpose of the study was to research if tattoos are becoming more socially acceptable in the workplace, if there is an influential pull of persuasion from the media/celebrities on the acquisition of tattoos, and some of the non-verbal communication that are conveyed within tattoos or about tattoos. Three separate methods were used to answer maj or research questions about the media influence, perceptions and social acceptability in a workplace, and the non-verbal communication on tattoos. The methods consisted of two separate surveys and personal interviews. The initial survey having exactly 31 questions in total, took place at TSU for the finding of any media influence in the attaining of a tattoo. The second survey consisted of two separate images on a social networking site to choose who would be hired if they were managers at an organization, 1) the young lady w\o tattoos or 2) the young lady w\ tattoos. This particular survey was completed for tattoos becoming socially acceptable within the work environment. An interview of four short questions to four different individuals was done to capture the non-verbal communication of tattoos. Capturing the amount of emphasis put on musicians, athletes, and different celebrities from the participants, does in fact show that there may be persuasion of different media influences in the acquisition of tattoos. Just about every participant with tattoos did have a favorite musician, athlete, or celebrity with tattoos. The second survey showed findings of how tattoos are becoming more acceptable in the workplace, yet the traditional norm of not having tattoos is still preferred in today's time. The interview not only conveyed different non-verbal perceptions of tattoos, but also how the intended nonverbal message may not be similar to the non-verbal message perceived There were a few implication involved in the study. The meaning of tattoos may alter over a period of time. Removal of tattoos can be very expensive. Complications may result from tattoos. The same message from the individual with tattoos may not be the same message perceived from the audience. Awareness of changing trends in society is important and also the awareness of the first impression rule.