Initiation and expulsion
In both examples of Straight Edge X tattoo and Russian prison tattoo it can be seen that body modification creates strong linkage, up to physical, between the carrier of the tattoo and the group into which one is initiated. To a certain extent this linkage can be seen as marriage to the associated group, and the marriage seems to be based on real love – the interests, lifestyles and even music tastes match perfectly. However, like in any marriage, there might come time to end all relations, how does the divorce with the group that left its mark on the body is performed? Generally speaking, at the material level this question can be asked about any kind of tattoos, even with no group affiliation meaning at all, and though some of them would differ in procedures, the core meaning of the procedure of tattoo removal/permanent concealing would be the same – abandoning former beliefs and never returning to them again. It quite unlikely for one to be “not really Nazi”, by removing swastika from one’s chest one performs conscious betrayal, in other words “burns all bridges”. As for the procedures, the expulsions in some groups might be quite savage, for instance in prisons of former USSR if a convict wears an unauthorized tattoo it might be removed with the help of a soldering-iron or simply cut off with the skin with subsequent murder of the defaulter (Baldaev 2006). As for sXe tattoos, their laser removal still leaves slight scars on the palms, which don’t let the person to break the bonds totally. Sometimes these scars are covered up with other tattoos of no ideological origin. This method of permanent unwanted tattoos concealing is often used to get rid of defective homemade tattoos, or even parlor tattoos, not actual anymore for the person. Coverups are usually bold tattoos that have big areas of plain black color, which are applied to the unwanted tattoos. Another method of old tattoo concealment is blastover – the method when new black tattoo is made above the old one so that the old one is still visible in the blank parts of the new.