Over One Million Bulgarians have Tattoos
Presented below are data from a study of “Trend” commissioned by the Bulgarian newspaper “24 hours”, dedicated to the attitudes of Bulgarians towards tattoos. The study was conducted between 12 and 19 January 2022 through a direct semi-standardized interview “face to face” by tablet among 1004 people aged 18+.
Just over one million Bulgarians have tattoos. 22% of people say they would change their mind about a stranger when they see tattoos. 21% of Bulgarians agree with the statement that people with tattoos are more prone to crime. The attitude towards tattoos is strongly dependent on age.
19% of Bulgarians say they have a tattoo. For the most part, men say they have a tattoo at the expense of women. In terms of age, almost half of people between the ages of 18 and 29 say they have a tattoo. As you grow older, the proportion of people who say they have a tattoo decreases dramatically. Over 90% of people over the age of 50 say they do not have a tattoo.
Half of the people who declare that they have a tattoo have only one, and 29% - two. 12% is the share of tattooed people who have more than three tattoos.
Among the main reasons that people with tattoos point out for their decision to get a tattoo are “beauty/style” (44 percentage points), “expression of love for a certain person” (38 percentage points), and “expresses who I am” - 28 percentage points. Other reasons highlighted are “as a symbol of a new page in my life”, “expression of belonging to a football team”, “respect for a national hero”, as well as “expression of ideological views.” For women who have tattoos, the leading cause is “beauty/style”. And men are the ones who get tattoos with a symbol of a team or a tribute to a national hero. Similar proportions are reported for both men and women for the reason “expression of love for a certain person”.
The data show that only 3% of people who have tattoos were worried that this would prevent them from getting hired.
22% of Bulgarians say they would change their mind about a stranger when they see tattoos. 71% do not share this opinion. For the most part, older people would change their minds about a person if they saw that he had tattoos.
23% say that if they are employers, visible tattoos would influence their decision to hire a tattooed person. Here again, age is key. As you age, the proportion of people who give this answer increases.
The study tested two claims related to people who have tattoos. According to 21% of Bulgarians, people with tattoos are more prone to crime, and 65% do not share this opinion. The oldest in the majority agree with this statement.
Almost a similar proportion - 23% agree with the statement that “people with tattoos are more prone to alcohol and drug abuse.” 63% do not share this opinion.
Just over half of Bulgarians say they would have an intimate relationship with a person who has tattoos and just under a third say they would not. Women, on the other hand, say that they would not have an intimate relationship with a man with tattoos at the expense of men (34% to 23%).
When it comes to maintaining a friendly relationship with a person who has tattoos, things look different. 71% said they would have such a friendly relationship, and only 16% would not.
Regarding the data from the survey, sociologist Evelina Slavkova commented:
Tattoos are not a phenomenon of our time. Since ancient times, they have been used to show a certain social status, for example. For societies like India, tattoos are a striking cultural phenomenon. Today, in addition to the culture and traditions of certain communities, tattoos are modern and as a way to show yourself, to feel a certain way.
In the “Trend” study, several things stand out. Age is a key factor in the perception of tattoos. Older people in large numbers disapprove of this form of expression, and to some extent tend to stigmatize people who have tattoos. Young people on the other hand are more positive about tattoos and tattooed people. Through tattoos, young people show individuality, to declare themselves, to show their belonging to something, a symbol of the desire to rebel. That is why tattoos are most often done in adolescence.
On the other hand, another element is impressive - the high proportions of people who are willing to accept people with tattoos as prone to crime and use drugs and alcohol. This is also not a big surprise. In the public consciousness the so-called “mugs” (mutri/мутри), people associated with crime and prisoners, for example, have tattoos as a way to express themselves. This type of image, with risky behavior, is a major source of models that create negative perceptions and stereotypes in people regarding this topic. In Japan, for example, tattoos are banned because, in Japanese culture, tattoos are mostly associated with the Yakuza mafia.
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