I wish I knew. I got mine over twenty years ago when it wasn't such a mainstream thing to do, and now I wish I didn't have them anymore just to be different. So many girls walking around with sleeves and what not. They all look the same. And yet they all say they are unique and making a statement. Doesn't matter. They ALL look the same. Just the same with guys. They have stories or meanings and that's fine but we all do with or without the tattoos. Inking it just means, "Hey ask me about me," whether they admit it or not. I find a lot of people with tattoos say they don't care what people think and it's all for them, but the same meaning could be drawn out on a piece of paper and framed on their wall. Why so much of your life story has to be on your skin, I'm not sure.
Well I got mine to remind me that I love myself even when my depression gets so bad that killing myself seems the best option for everyone I know. It might be the conspicuous consumption for some people but not me.
It's seen as the cool thing to do nowadays, though I find large tattoos on women to be trashy and it's a deal breaker to me. To each their own I guess...
Your question is a little confusing, what do you mean by "conspicuous consumption"?
I think people just like tattoos because they think they're cool or expressive. People get them for a variety of different reasons. Could be just for fun, religious, family-related, friendship, romance, life events, etc...
I have none but I am always curious about a person's tattoo.