Tattoos are no longer taboo

By Katelyn Patterson | Reporter

When I was 19 years old, my father did not talk to me for two days because I got a second tattoo.

He told me that he was concerned about my ability to get a job with the tattoo that I now had on my forearm. Tattoos are no longer taboo. They have become a form of self-expression and artistry. Tattoos should not be incorporated into the decision of whether a person receives a job or not.

In the past, tattoos have been notoriously associated with crime, rebellion and/or gang association, and they have been deemed unacceptable in the workplace.

“Historically, studies stated that tattooed people were seen as dishonest, unmotivated and unintelligent,” Perry Haan, a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship, said in a local column in The Adviser-Tribune. “Another older study said 80% of HR managers voiced negative feelings about observable tattoos on potential employees.”

Now, many businesses — such as Target, Best Buy and Applebees — have become “tattoo-friendly” regarding employees. If large, well-known corporations like these can do it, then others should be supportive and accepting as well.

According to History of Tattoos, 36% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo, and 30% of all college graduates in the United States have a tattoo.

Judging people on their outward appearances rather than on the credibility of their work and their character is counterproductive from a business standpoint. Hiring someone who has less experience and skill but no tattoos over someone who has more experience and skill but visible tattoos is unacceptable.

In fact, former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt had their family crest tattooed on their chests. These men were not judged by the ink they possessed on their body; rather, they were judged by their character and work ethic. This should be the standard that all people are held to regarding tattoos and jobs.

Dan Hunter, chief editor for Authority Tattoo, said that roles and expectations are changing, both in the workplace and in public. The main disconnect seems to come from higher-ups, who tend to be in an older age demographic than the younger employees who work under them.

“If experience has told us anything in the workplace, it’s told us that businesses that don’t change or evolve simply die,” Hunter said. “It seems that change is coming, and that change is coming from the bottom.”

Tattoos are art and avenues for expression. Denying jobs to people with tattoos is frankly un-American, given that America is founded on the idea that people can work their way to success through hard work. Tattoos should not be a deciding factor in whether someone is given this opportunity or not.