Piercings represent independence and fashion for many

Senior accounting major Cameron Shipman got his first piercing when he
was 15 years old. For Shipman, getting a piercing is something that he
finds enjoyment in.
Stephen Keleher / The Collegian

Freedom and expression are two things that many college students value. For some, piercings are the ultimate way of displaying these values. Many students get their first piercing while in college, while others get their first before ever stepping foot on a college campus.

“The parents bring their kids in and that’s a lot of our repeat business,” said Rudy Acosta of Clovis Ink. “They start out with piercings, and then when they’re 18 they can get tattoos. You can get a parental consent with piercings, with tattoos it’s no one under the age of 18.”

Piercings are a symbol of independence and freedom from parental control for many students.

“Once I moved to Fresno I was like ‘ok, I can do what I want,’” said senior public health major Veronica Diaz. “I got my tongue pierced and then I got my lip pierced.  These are [my] latest, they’re called dermals. I got them a couple of months ago, I’m kind of over it.”

A dermal, is a type of piercing that is anchored directly into the surface skin. Those who have dermals can then screw in jewels and other decorative pieces.

Other than a symbol of independence, students get piercings to make a fashion statement.

“Every once in a while I do corsets,” said Valerie Costa, owner and piercing artist at Nightwitch Body Art, which is located on Cedar. “That’s the one where it’s all the way down the back. You put rings in them and then you run ribbons through them and you crisscross across your back.”

While most people decide to get piercings as an aesthetic choice, others go under the needle for the experience and the feeling.

“I’ve had more piercings than I can count,” said senior accounting major Cameron Shipman, who got his first piercing at 15. “I take my piercings out and I get pierced again. For some of us, it turns into something more. We enjoy it, we enjoy the experience.”

Just like a tattoo can lead to more, so can a piercing. For Diaz, going to get pierced can happen any time.

“It’s just like spur of the moment, ‘hey let’s go get some piercings, ok?’” Diaz said.  “They have piercing shops that are open until 2:00 in the morning. You can always take piercings out, you can’t take tattoos off. That’s how I think about it.”

Some students do worry about what kind of impression their piercings leave, especially when it comes to searching for a job.

“I understand that we’ve come far as a society, but I respect the society that I’m entering because I’m entering the business world, and I know there’s a certain stigma about that,” Shipman said. “I don’t want to be turned away or turned down because of something like that. So that’s why all my piercings are to where I can hide them and ear loops are pretty acceptable so I can take it out at any time. My septum, I can always jam that back up and all my other piercings you can’t see.”

Some piercing may close quickly, while others may not. Some piercings, such as a dermal piercing, require a visit to a body art shop to get removed, usually for a nominal fee of no more than $10.

“Dermals are so much easier because if you don’t want them to show you just unscrew the jewel, and it looks like you have a little blackhead,” Costa said. “You don’t really see it.”

Among the many piercing types are the Monroe, snake bite, eyebrow, septum, labret, lip, angel bite, cheek, as well as many types of exotic ear piercings. The two most popular piercings remain belly button piercings and nose piercings, which are now seen on women, and some men, of all ages, even in business settings.


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