Why People Get Tattoos: Reading Comprehension
Read the essay and then answer the questions.
Why People Get Tattoos
Jack lay, quiet and unmoving, for thirty minutes while a stranger repeatedly stabbed him with sharp needles, causing blood to pour steadily out of his leg. Jack was getting a tattoo. His friend Tony had recently gotten a tattoo, and Jack was so impressed by Tony's bravery and his tattoo that he decided to get one too. Getting a tattoo because your friends and peers have them is just one of the reasons why a lot of young people in North America get tattoos. Peer pressure, media influence, and personal expression are some of the common reasons for wearing tattoos today.
The desire to be part of a group, to be accepted by one's friends or peers, can have a great influence on what a person does. Sometimes, wearing a tattoo can be a sign that you belong to a certain group. Gangs often use special clothes and tattoos to identify their particular group. For example, in one gang all the members may wear green army jackets and have large 'Xs' tattooed on their arms. It is not only gangs that have this type of special 'uniform'. Young people often belong to a certain group of friends. Some of these groups wear only brand-name clothes. Some wear only black clothes. Others wear tattoos. When a person's friends are all doing something, such as getting a tattoo, that person is more likely to do the same thing, and get a tattoo too.
The media is another big influence behind the popularity of tattoos in North America. A wide variety of media images show tattoos. Tattoos can be seen on people appearing in commercials selling expensive cars. Famous sports heroes with tattoos are shown in magazines. Fashion models are often seen in magazines and on TV wearing designer clothes that show their bodies tattooed with detailed and colourful patterns. These media images link tattoos to ideas of wealth, success, and status. As a result, many people decide to get a tattoo for its fashion and status value.
It is not always the influence of other people or the media that results in a person getting a tattoo. Many people decide to wear tattoos in order to express their artistic nature, their beliefs, or their feelings -- in other words, to show their individuality. A musician in a rock band may get a tattoo of a guitar on the arm. Some environmentalists may tattoo pictures of endangered animals on their shoulders. Lovers may tattoo each others' names over their hearts. A tattoo can be a public sign to show what is important in a person's life.
As you can see, there are many reasons why young North Americans get tattoos. A tattoo can be part of a group's uniform. It can be a sign of fashion. It can be an expression of individuality. The decision to get a tattoo is most often a result of the influence of friends or media or the desire to express oneself. For Jack, it was a mixture of all three.
Story by Charlotte Sheldrake, English Language Centre
Exercises by Deborah Albert, English Language Centre
Audio version performed by Cam Culham, English Language Centre
- According to the essay, what are the three most common reasons why a person gets a tattoo?
- According to the essay, which of the following are common ways that people show they belong to a certain group?
- According to the essay, which of the following are ways that the media uses tattoos in advertising?
- According to the essay, media images are linked to _____________. Choose all that apply.
- According to the essay, which of the following are possible artistic reasons for getting tattoos?
- Jack was stabbed for thirty minutes with a needle because _____________. Click on button beside the best answer.
- he was getting a tattoo
- he was getting acupuncture
- he is was getting his ears pierced
- he was getting a nose ring
- According to the essay, some people get tattoos because ____________. Click on the button beside the best answer.
- they think it is fashionable
- they like pain
- they think it will wash off in the bath
- they are religious
- According to the essay, Jack thinks people who get tattoos are ____________. Click on the button beside the best answer.
- old fashioned
- The reason Jack wanted to get a tattoo was ____________. Click on the button beside the best answer.
- the influence of friends
- the influence of the media
- a desire to express himself
- all of the above