Stop Assuming That People With Tattoos Can’t Do Their Job

Brooke Cochrane   Opinion Editor

Tattoos have been around for a long time, and started becoming popular in the 1970’s. Personally, I think they’re progressively getting more common. According to USA Today, in the 21st Century, about 30% of millennials have at least one tattoo. I am 22 and I have five and I plan on getting more. There are many reasons as to why people get tattoos. Someone could get one to commemorate a loved one or a pet. Others get them just because they enjoy the designs they can showcase. Even though a majority of people have tattoos, they are still discriminated against and stereotyped as unattractive or unethical.

I got my first tattoo two years ago, an outline of a cat behind my ear. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought. My second tattoo was a spontaneous decision I made with my best friend. There was a flash event at a tattoo place down the street from Eastern called Eminence Ink. These events usually mean that the tattoos were already designed by the artist and you have to pick out which one you want. They usually have set prices as well, and most of the time they’re discounted. Anyway, I chose to put a pencil on my right hand because I’m a writer. This one also didn’t hurt as much as I thought, but still more than my first one. My third tattoo, however, hurt more than I ever expected. I got a planet with the words “carry on” inside of it on my lower arm to commemorate one of my favorite songs called “Outer Space/Carry On” by 5 Seconds of Summer. It only took twenty minutes, but it felt like hours. I have been wanting to get my fourth tattoo since I was in high school. I got the word “believe” on the side of my right arm to represent one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite artists, “Believe” by Justin Bieber. This tattoo means a lot to me. I actually got my fifth tattoo earlier this month during a Halloween special at a parlor in my hometown called Propaganda Ink. I got a tattoo of Zero, the dog from the hit Halloween/Christmas movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s one of my favorite films.

Believe it or not, there are still workplaces that will not hire someone because they have visible tattoos. Newsflash, having tattoos does not make someone less qualified to do a job. Why should people get punished for artwork on their skin? An article written in 2014 called “I Lost My Job Because of my Tattoos” tells the sties of different people who were fired for having permanent ink on their skin. One person shared, “I was good at my job and the children seemed to like talking about my tattoos. I did start a bit of a campaign but I didn’t want to work in an environment that said because I have tattoos and a piercing I cannot do the job.”

There is a company called Support Tattoos and Piercings at Work (STAPAW) that “works with companies to change the dress code and hiring policies to allow visible piercings and tattoos.” They also specialize in helping people who have lost their jobs because of their piercings or tattoos. Their goal is to change perceptions by actions, not by words.
Slowly but surely, tattoos are becoming more accepted in society and the workplace. Hopefully one day, there will be no more discrimination against them.

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