Biker Tattoos: A Historic Example of Meaning

Those new to tattoos are often cautioned by veterans to get something that represents a strong symbolic message or meaning unique to their personality or life experience. For more than seventy-five years biker tattoos have served as a prime example of the intense meaningfulness of the art.

Anyone who’s watched Sons of Anarchy at least has a functioning understanding of how important tattoos are within the biker subculture. Most fans still vividly remember the scene where Kyle gets his tattoo burned off to signify his lack of association with the gang during season one.

The history of biker tattoos started back in the 1940s and 50s right alongside the beginning of motorcycle gangs. Many of the first biker gangs consisted of ex-soldiers and served primarily as a means to continue the same sense of brotherhood and companionship many soldiers lost after coming back home from war. Even today many soldiers get tattoos to signify their devotion to their unit and position in the military, so it only made sense that the trend would continue among biker gangs as well.

That being said, the historic significance is pretty much where Sons of Anarchy stops paralleling the real world nature of motorcycle gangs and biker tattoos. The outlaw connotations drawn by people outside of biker gangs came from an early assumption that biker tattoos were similar in nature to prison tattoos. While there have been a number of unlawful biker gangs over the decades, the vast majority are actually law abiding organizations that do a lot of charity work for their communities.

Biker tattoos have only continued to increase in popularity as more people understand the true positive meaningful nature they hold. Most of them represent brotherhood and the free spirit of the open road, something even newer motorcycle enthusiasts often relate to. In fact, biker tattoos have become so popular that even people who don’t own or ride motorcycles have started to get them as a way to represent their appreciation of the lifestyle.

Even if you don’t decide to get a biker tattoo of your own, hopefully now you better understand the meaningfully positive nature they symbolize. After all, who can’t relate to the need to be truly free while being surrounded by friends and family?

Shayne Montpetit
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