Tattoos were once seen as an act of rebellion, a counter culture, and a way of expressing that you are different from the mainstream of mass society. Nowadays, they’re becoming more and more common among the younger generation; 1 in 3 have now been inked, whether it be discrete or a statement piece of art, and many have more than one. However, the law within the UK does not provide us tattoo lovers with protection from discrimination when it comes to employment.
To me this is quite a scary thought, the fact that I could be turned away from a job just because of my inking… even if it doesn’t contain offensive imagery! Even if you meet all the aspects and qualifications that are required for that specific job role, you could potentially be overlooked, purely down to what’s on your skin. Employers may argue that it ‘gives off the wrong impression’ and it is ‘not what their company values promote’. What a load of shit.
Now not all companies are the same, and I know that. At some workplaces you may have tattoos; but then they make you cover them up!? That isn’t why we get tattooed!? The artwork we have on our body is to be shown off, not hidden away. We pay enough per hour for these epic designs, so excuse me for wanting to show it off!
Since dress codes in the work place have become equalised and both men and women now have equal rights when it comes to uniform, I’m calling for the same rules to apply to tats! It’s understandable that the placement of risqué tattoos should be taken into consideration, as it may be offensive to certain people depending on their age, beliefs etc. But on the whole, there needs to be much more freedoms and opportunities for us tattoo-lovers when it comes to our careers!
Of course there are two sides to this, much like every argument. Some employers seek to find people that stand out and have distinguishing qualities such as piercings, tattoos and daring fashion choices. If your line of work doesn’t involve you going to work in a suit and sitting at a desk everyday then inking tends to be more accepted. This is great, but it needs to be universal! In today’s society, tattoos should NOT be what we are judged on. Our qualities should be!
In 2016 we have come along way in terms of the acceptance of tats, but employers who are still being prejudice against people with tattoos are losing out on talented individuals simply because of their outdated values. I have come across many professionals with tattoos, take one of my college teachers for example; it did not affect the fact that they were great at their job!