Tattoos and piercings aren’t a new ‘fad’ brought along by the youth, they have been around for millennia. What the Boomers think of as a sign of ‘evil’ or that their kids have gone to the dogs, Millennials and Gen Z think as a symbol of resistance against the ancient patriarchal rules of those who came before us and a way to create our own personality different from our family or people around us. The old belief that only criminals and people with ‘loose’ characters sport tattoos or rings are still prevalent in the older generations, but has been totally revamped among the youth. In India, especially, you can see at least half the students in a college having either a tattoo or a piercing.
Piercings, especially in India, have been a traditional symbol linked to the multiple cultures and religions in the country. Many kids have their ears pierced almost immediately after they’re born. Nose rings are also popular, especially among married women, for whom it is a sign of fertility and prosperity. The popular belief that some kinds of piercings are on acupuncture points, and hence keep the person healthy, helped to popularise the trend.