6 Reasons Why Tribal Tattoos Need to Go


For many years, there has been a disturbing trend in the world of tattoos. People are sporting tribal tattoos and other culturally significant body modifications without knowing anything about what they are getting. Tattoo artists have no problem inking paying customers with these tattoo designs because they generally take up a lot of space on the body which makes them a lot of money. Unfortunately, tattoo artists do not have to be the harbingers of good taste once you take a seat in their shops. Before you think about getting a tribal tattoo, consider these six reasons about why it is not the best idea.

They Degrade Cultures

Unless you have The Rock’s tattoo, which is a traditional Samoan tattoo design from his own culture, you probably don’t know the cultural significance of the artwork. If you just walk into a tattoo shop and ask for a random tribal tattoo, you are probably selecting something, at random, just because it looks cool, that has a lot of historical weight to someone else.

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Traditional Samoan Tattoo

They Become Mistranslated

If you decide to get a tattoo quote on your body in a foreign language that does not use the Western alphabet, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Many Asian language systems assign different meaning for the same symbols, which could make your tattoo ambiguous at best, or horribly mistranslated at worst.

Tribal Tattoos Are Not Authentic

For many tribal people who get their tattoos, they serve as a rite of passage. Members of tribes and cultures spend years perfecting their tattooing methods and get every aspect of the process down to a sacred ceremony. This simply cannot be replicated at your local tattoo parlor.

They Have Little to No Meaning to Outsiders

If you have not been a part of a tribal culture, or if you have never studied the culture of the tribal tattoo you want, you do not have an understanding of what it means. Just like you wouldn’t get a tattoo of a domestic symbol you don’t know about, don’t get one of a tribal symbol you know nothing about.

tribal arm

Tribal Arm Tattoo

They Are Not Worn Correctly

Some people think that getting a half arm sleeve of Samoan tattoos means that they are a supreme warrior or ultimate fighting champion. Real Samoans got their tribal tattoos all over their body and did not leave part free of ink.

Everyone Else Has a Tribal Tattoo

Walk into a gym or go to a concert and you are bound to see a bunch of other people with the same tribal tattoos. The fact of the matter is that this tattoo fad has ended. You will stand out more if you opt for an original tattoo design of your own or of a trusted artist.


Tribal Back Tattoo


  1. How dare you tell people what to put onto their bodies, if you want a tribal tattoo then get one. Tattoos do not have to have meaning, that idea is so stupid. If someone is insulted by your tattoo then they are the one with the problem and not you. This was a terrible piece, dreadful and very condescending. Tribal Tattoos are definitely In right now.

    • “John Johnson” you seem like a person that this article was written about, do you have tribal tattoos from other cultures you have no idea about just because they look ‘cool’ and hold no true meaning or significance? Do what you want but it’s definitely a shallow, naive and not to mention offensive to that tribe/culture when someone would ask about it and you to explain what it is and why you got it. Unless you know the meaning and history behind it and why you want do get it, don’t embarrass yourself.

      • You know, the problem with society is that everyone is offended by everyone else. Then, there are people who get triggered when someone else gets offended and feel they have to step in and defend the offended. My body is mine to do with as I please. If you are offended by something I put on my body, then the problem is with you, not with me. Personally, I feel it is more offensive for someone to defend a culture that they are, themselves, not a part of. How dare you assume that they need or want your help.


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