First thing in April 2007, the Iowa Senate voted 47-2 to pass a measure that would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 in their state to obtain any form of body piercing other than ear piercing.
Do you think you have the right to do whatever you want with your body?
Increasingly and sadly, the answer is becoming "no." Rather than enforce any sort of training or health standards, the politicians in Iowa think that no minors, even with their parents approval, should be allowed to practice any form of body art. In Iowa it is already illegal for anyone under the age of eighteen to get tattooed, but now they want to expand the law to include any form of body piercing other than the ears, tongue-splitting, branding and a very vague statement about "other" forms of body modification.
Strangely, they have not included modification procedures such as orthodonture in this list, nor have they included plastic surgery. Is the state government of Iowa discriminating against teens or against body art?
Also in early 2007, the US Marines announced they were banning large tattoos, especially those on the lower arms and lower legs, from members of their branch of the service. This will apply not only to new enlisted but also to all current troops. Reported reactions among soldiers have been mixed, ranging from approval to disdain. Some consider it an infringement on their personal lives and behavior, citing that if they are willing to risk their lives during their work and service, they should be allowed to do as they wish on their free time.
Interestingly, the military has cited their motivation for banning tattoos is that they consider them to be unprofessional in appearance. However, none of this body art shows when you look at a solider in full combat gear or a full dress uniform, which makes their reasoning seem somewhat petty and a bit of an overreaction. However, it's clear that with the Marines drawing mainly from young men aged 19-24, they primary recruitment pool is towards the lower end of the main population segment that is exploring and experiencing tattooing in modern society. It will be interesting to see if they reevaluate and change their body art rules moving forward. Faced with falling short of their recruitment goals, the US Army last year loosened a tattoo rule they'd tightened up only months before.
To learn more about piercing, you might like Spiritual Tattoo: A Cultural History of Tattooing, Piercing, Scarification, Branding, and Implants by John A. Rush
or What Are My Rights?: 95 Questions and Answers About Teens and the Law