Tatoo Taboo

I think Jack London said it best, “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” This quote, which is greatly adored by the tattoo community, is a good example and representation of how tattoos should be viewed.

Each person who owns a tattoo has a distinct reason behind getting it. Though the reasons can widely vary, there is still a prominent reason for doing such a dramatic and permanent thing to your body.

I personally think, from my own experience, that tattoos are like pictures. They catch a moment in time that one can reflect on-the owner can revisit a time when that particular piece of art signified something larger than life. The tattoos that I have represent more than just permanent ink stamped into skin; they represent a journey and moments in my life that are meaningful.

Over the last two decades, there has been a huge increase in popularity with tattoos. It is estimated that 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 currently have some type of body art done. Therefore, it is suspected that there are 30 to 40 million Americans today with tattoos, given the range of other age groups.

Though tattoos have gained a lot of popularity, tattoos normally have ill-conceived notions and false pretenses attached to them, especially when it comes to the “real world” and/or the work force.

Like other generations before them, these 30 to 40 million people need to, or will need to, work at some point during their lives. When social changes and trends affect the workplace, inevitable conflicts of interest and misunderstandings evolve between employees and employers. When individuals are expected to represent the public image and a branding identity of a business, employees are generally projected to conform to acceptable dress and grooming standards.

So where does that leave a younger generation with tattoos in trying to going into a higher class work force? Honestly, I can’t tell you. What I can say is that businesses, companies and other work areas will have to keep an open mind about this issue. To discriminate against someone who has tattoos, even though they might be the best possible candidates, is in no way right.

It’s a lot like discriminating against someone because of race, religious beliefs or political preference. It should not be tolerated.

While I highly doubt they’ll pass a “non-discriminating against tattoos” law, it is something that should be taken into consideration. When you have five candidates, four of which have tattoos, and the latter is a horrible candidate, how will employers abate the situation? Nevertheless, it is an issue that will either go one way or the other.

Tattoos are an ever-growing trend that I don’t see dying anytime soon. I truly believe that within the next decade the average of tattooed Americans will have increased significantly. So who’s to say that discriminating against people with tattoos will actually be a problem?

Whether you’re for tattoos or completely against them, they’re something that will have an increasing presence in American culture. My only advice to future tattoo participants is to choose wisely because, “a great tattoo is a statement, not a style. And getting it is a journey, not a destination.”

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