Tattoo Tales: Jenn Whitaker

Jenn Whitaker shares the stories behind her tattoos and why she has a passion for them. Photos by Ben Caylor.

OWEN MADRIGAL | STAFF REPORTER | omadriga@butler.edu

For thousands of years, people have adorned themselves with ink to show beliefs in magic, history and class status. Today, tattoos are mainly used for self-expression, available to anyone who desires them. Sophomore education major Jennifer Whitaker is one of those people, whose tattoo style centers on simplicity and elegance.

The Butler Collegian: How many tattoos do you have as of right now?

Jenn Whitaker: Right now, I have four tattoos. Three on my arm and then one on my ankle.

TBC: Can you walk us through two of your favorites?

JW: Yeah sure! [The one on my wrist] was the first one I got so it’s probably one of my favorites; it’s just a smiley face. And then this one [the one on my forearm] is probably my next favorite. It says ‘Ohana’ with a little outline of Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. I got that for a friend of mine who passed away.

TBC: How was your experience with getting tattoos? Was it painful or was it easy?

JW: I’m a wimp when it comes to needles and I’m not great with pain and stuff, but they weren’t that bad. I don’t think I passed out with any of them, which is surprising for me because I normally pass out anytime I get a shot or anything. I would say my worst one is probably on my ankle just because it’s very thin skin and near a bone, so that one was pretty sensitive but they weren’t bad!

TBC: As an education major, how do you feel about this idea that tattoos seem unprofessional to people?

JW: Yeah, I think it’s definitely changing. I know I had a lot of teachers with tattoos, particularly in high school, but I think that’s just because over time that is what it’s growing to [be.] I don’t think they look unprofessional, personally. I’ve talked to professors that I’ve had about them and teachers that I’ve shadowed have also had tattoos. But if it comes to it, I could always cover them up. I have no problem with that either.

TBC: You mentioned the Ohana tattoo. Could you go into a bit more detail about the meaning of this tattoo?

JW: So I got this one, I think two summers ago, and I was working at an early childhood education center called Ohana. The friend that passed away was also working there with me. She was also a huge fan of Lilo and Stitch. Stitch was her favorite Disney character, so I got this just to kind of remember her.

TBC: What would you say to people who are maybe thinking about getting tattoos? Is there any advice? Anything to let them know?

JW: I would say, don’t put too much stress on yourself. That’s what I would tell myself at least. I always wanted a tattoo, like the second I turned 18. Then, I didn’t get my first one until three months later because I was so stressed about finding the perfect tattoo with the perfect meaning, and it being super deep and personal. They don’t all have to have a super big meaning to them, you can just think they look cool! I would just say go for it, don’t be that scared if that’s something you want to get.

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