by PATRICK ROBERTSON Section Editor
All across America, people with tattoos and piercings are unfairly discriminated against.
Have you seen a doctor with stretched ears? Or tattoos on his neck? These people are not allowed to get jobs in a professional environment because of stereotypes that don’t exist anymore.
Salary.com conducted a survey asking employees and employers what they thought about tattoos in the workplace, and this is what they found: “The biggest takeaways from our survey include a whopping 76% of respondents feel tattoos and piercings hurt an applicant’s chances of being hired during a job interview. And more than one-third – 39% of those surveyed – believe employees with tattoos and piercings reflect poorly on their employers. Furthermore, 42% feel visible tattoos are always inappropriate at work, with 55% reporting the same thing about body piercings.”
These numbers are shocking. Two equally qualified people could sit down for an interview, and if one has tattoos or stretched ears, he will most likely not get the job due to people believing tattoos and piercings holding a negative stigma.
That’s three out of four job interviews you go to where your chances will be hurt because of a personal decision on your own body.
After some very brief research on the internet, it is easy to see that doctors and nurses have a hard time with tattoos and piercings. When going to medical school or an interview, many doctors with visible tattoos were consistently asked to cover them.
Many universities and hospitals, in fact, have dress codes prohibiting display of potentially offensive tattoos and promoting the covering of all tattoos “when feasible,” but for most places, “when feasible” means all the time.
Police officers also cannot have tattoos or visible piercings, and some cities are now cracking down on their tattooed and pierced officers. One reason behind not allowing piercings is so resisting suspects cannot injure the officer. Another take on it is that it is unprofessional and intimidating to the public. Dallas police officers are now required to cover up when in the line of duty.
Like doctors and surgeons, attorneys and lawyers may be inked up, but cannot show it in the firm or courtroom. You will not see many neck or knuckle tattoos in this profession.
As far as their support staff, secretaries and clerks are expected to have a professional appearance as well, which means being discreet.
Many teachers are tatted, and some schools are okay with tattoos and piercings. Private schools are not. Public schools are restrictive, but most prefer teachers keep them covered. Their requests mostly stem from parent complaints or the fear of receiving them. The area with the most leniency will be colleges, day cares, and art teachers (excluding those of private grade schools).
The list does not end here. You cannot have a government job, most jobs in sales, financial institutions, hospitality industries, management positions, and many more.
Commentators suggest that it goes back to when the majority of tattooed people carried the stigma of being criminals, hence the terms ‘pen tats’ and ‘jailhouse tats’. Employers still views tattoos as something associated with law-breakers.
Now here is a list of jobs you can have with tattoos: salon or spa employee, mechanic, Internet tech support, construction worker, electrician, and industrial worker. Which list sounds more pleasant?
Junior Nick Broglio said, “Many of my friends have stretched ears or tattoos, and they are some of the most kind, respectful, and understanding people I’ve ever met. The fact that people view tattoos as criminal or evil is truly unjust.”
Discrimination against stretched ears is just as wrong.
The first result on Google when searching “discrimination against gauges” is the blog “naked without lipstick.” This woman described the thought of most people across the world: “Did I miss the memo where this is the new ‘cool’ thing to do? Are kids tired of tattoos already? Maybe I’m just getting old and fogey, but the whole ear gauging thing to me is (1) extremely ugly; and (2) extremely gross. Whenever I see people who have done this, who are parading around with gigantic holes in their ears, I usually find it hard not to stare. First I think ‘Ouch!’ then I think ‘Why?'”
The blog post was titled “Ear Gauging: A Great Way to Ruin Your Future Career.” Just a note, gauge refers to the size of the hole. Anyone with normal ear piercings has gauges. It is called “stretching your ears” and the jewelry are called tunnels if they are open and plugs if they are closed. Also, it is none of this woman’s concern what people want to do with their bodies, so there is no need for malicious words.
People that stretch their ears receive constant ridicule from others who do not understand. People constantly stop and stare, ask to put their fingers in the hole, ask if it hurts or if it will shrink back to normal. You will never see someone with stretched ears in a professional workplace until the world’s view is changed.
But is this fair? Is it fair that if a very qualified person decides they want tattoos or stretched ears, they will not get a job over someone that has neither?
Many people view tattoos and stretched ears as a form of self-expression. It is usually a personal thing based either on how it looks or based on a deeper meaning. People will sometimes get tattoos for their religion or commemorating a lost loved one.
People need to become more tolerant and accepting of other people’s decisions with their own bodies. It is no one’s place to judge or tell someone what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
Junior Steph Auerbach said, “I’ve always wanted to stretch my ears and get tattoos, but many people in my family tell me it’s a violation of my religion. I think that is totally wrong and unfair. There should be absolutely no discrimination about what kind of art people want to have on their bodies.”
Most likely the view on tattoos and stretched ears will not change until people change. Maybe in multiple generations it will become more acceptable, but for now, people will still be unfairly discriminated against.
Do you think it is fair that people who have tattoos or stretched ears are discriminated against?