A Discourse about Tattoos

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, as the saying goes, but is it also true with tattoos? Although multifaceted and always double bladed, so it is also with tattoo discrimination in the workplace, that is, if you ever did get into one in the first place. With unnoticeable chest tattoos for men maybe not so much, but what is it about with having visible tattoos that limit one’s chances of being hired for a job? Maybe it is still the antiquated belief that you are some form of criminal or misfit and is up to no good. It doesn’t matter what skills you have, or how good you are, tattoos are viewed as somewhat of an intimidating thing for most of the populace. Having visible tattoos, in addition to the most cliché belief of belonging to gangs and having spent time in prison, are seen to be in the realm of the frightful bikers, inebriated sailors, and motley band of punks that has no regard of society among other things. In those realms, they may be considered as affirmations, but in the normal world, they are oftentimes considered as alien, unappealing and most of all, bad.

Although recent changes in the way we think about tattoos is slowly making it mainstream, defining it as art, which I think what it really is in the first place, a form of self-expression, with all manner of persons having, planning to have, or accepting its existence, it is already becoming as normal as coloring your hair. But the fact remains that there is still a social stigma linked with tattoos, and although this kind of thinking may be obsolete and out of date in today’s modern world, they still exist nevertheless.

We have stringent laws here in America regarding the discrimination in the workplace and of employee’s rights. Companies are prohibited to discriminate against a potential employee based on their religion, sex, race, creed, handicap, age and other aspects pertaining to a person. But I think there is still one form of discrimination that is unspoken and is between the lines of texts and not reached by the light of day. What I am talking about is a person’s body alteration such as piercings, types of hairstyles and yes, tattoos. You can’t find any of them written on the laws of the constitution, yes it may be said that they are included in any of the myriad manifestations of the law, but unless succinctly stated, may just eventually be lost in its interpretation. So until it is finally recognized by the proper authorities, and laws passed to protect the rights of this portion of society, we must inevitably expect this kind of discrimination to continue.

But to be honest about it, if you were an employer, will you hire a guy with a large visible tattoo on his face? Maybe yes, if your business is a tattoo parlor, but for almost every other company, surely no. Your first thought is about of what image will it project to your customers? What will they think about your business? It is within a company’s rights to choose their employees according to whatever it is that they want to put value in. Every one of us is hesitant to readily accept perceived risks in favor established norms; discrimination is therefore unavoidably always present. So we are somewhat back to where we started.