acceptance, articles, blogs, College Comp, essay, facebook, Homework, interviews, judgments, Memes, parents, school, tattoo acceptance, tattoo convention, tattooed employees, tattooed parents, tattoos, tattoos in the workplace
I like sharing my essays that I write for my College Comp class… Even if no one reads them… It makes me feel like I accomplished something…
We had half a dozen choices to choose from for this past essay, I chose to write about tattoo culture.. Now, I have tattoos, I love them… But in all seriousness, I couldn’t care less if you have a tattoo or not. It is YOUR choice if you choose to decorate your body.
So here is the essay I wrote:
Oh, you’re tattooed… Let me judge you for it…
Walking into a tattoo expo it is amazing how many different types of people you see. There are the people covered in ink, and people with no tattoos. People with ears stretched up to three-inches, people with more piercings than you would think possible, and then people with no body modifications at all. These people are parents, aunts, uncles, employers, and employees just like the rest of society; no one there cares if you’re tattooed or not, and they don’t care if you have piercings or not. Here is a place full of people who have been judged to be deviants by the general public, and yet is somehow one of the most accepting environments you can find.
The art of body modification isn’t really anything new; it has been around for ages in different cultures and religions around the world. The popularity of it however is something that has been increasing with the past few generations, and with generations going forward. From an anti-social activity in the 1960s to a trendy fashion statement in the 1990s, the cultural status of tattooing has been steadily evolving (Levins 2012). One could argue that it’s all a part of progress within our society, much like women going to college for an education and not just to find a husband. Even with the argument of progress, there are people who still believe that having visible tattoos or tattoos in general are an example of bad judgment, and those people tend look down on the individuals who do choose to decorate their bodies. Subcultures such as emo, goth, scene, and hipster have grown in numbers and popularity with the past few generations, and with them the possible acceptance of tattoos and other body modifications has also grown. This change in thinking has even impacted the workplace and the hiring process for employers.
It’s an obvious fact that some people do not like tattoos. It is more evident the older generations. One of the most common misconceptions that have plagued our society is that tattooed individuals will not able to find any decent jobs or jobs at all. The only jobs available for them will be stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or running the drive through window at a fast food restaurant, and maybe not even those jobs. Guess what? Those are all lies, all of them, completely false statements. As an individual who has been asked “Do you want to look like a jailhouse something?” (yes, that is an exact quote) and “How will you be able to find a job with those, or wear a dress?” I find it amusing that people still think that having tattoos somehow affects my level of intelligence. When polled, almost everyone in the 14% of tattooed Americans heard something along the lines of “Now you’re never going to get a job!” at some point in their life (Hennessey 2013). Mostly heard from their parents, I’m sure. Instead, having a tattoo is becoming less problematic across the board when searching for employment. Hennessey spoke to many individuals in her article who explained the ideas most employers today would agree with – that a person’s professional skills are much more important than their appearance. The Vice President of Philadelphia’s ZB Sports, Courtney Pecola landed her job with a large, colorful and highly visible tattoo across her chest (Hennessey 2013). “I haven’t had trouble getting a job because success is all about how one presents him or herself, and doesn’t solely depend on appearance,” explained Bruce Potts, a professor at The University of New Mexico, who has a full tribal tattoo on his face (Hennessey 2013). So whereas there has been some improvement of tattoo acceptance in the workplace, the general public is still full of close-minded people who insist on being cruel towards people who choose to decorate their bodies.
The internet can be a cruel place sometimes with the internet memes people throw around just to get attention and start drama. One of which I have seen a lot lately is pictured to the left. Anyone looking at this meme without knowing the truth just sees an individual who took things a bit to the extreme with tattoos and piercings. The caption “Can’t find a job, blames the government,” was made by an individual just being ignorant and spiteful. I fail to understand how people can make a judgment like that just based solely on appearance. For all anyone knows that person could be a saint. The comments that people would make on this meme are just as bad as the caption; sometimes worse, with statements calling the person pictured nasty names. Would you like to know the truth about this person? The person in this meme is Pauly Unstoppable (Pauly 2011), now known as Ferrah Flawless (Flawless 2013). Ferrah is a transgender individual who has appeared in multiple publications, she is an artist, a piercer, and a business owner (Flawless 2013). Ferrah has done more with her exceptional life than the people who left nasty comments on this meme, but those people don’t care. All they see is someone different, so that person must be bad, or some sort of deviant, or of lesser intelligence. Although this is one example of how the internet doesn’t help the idea of acceptance, there have been movements to help tattoo acceptance become a cultural norm.
The Facebook page “Tattooed and Employed” with almost 40,000 likes is one of them (FB 2014). It’s a small movement with shirt and hats, but it’s a movement in the right direction. With memes such as the one pictured to the left, they’re showing that it is not just social deviants with tattoos anymore. Military members, doctors, dentists, lawyers, business men and women, teachers, college professors, and even some politicians have tattoos. They’re all individuals doing amazing things with their lives, making an impact on the world, of high intelligence levels, and yet some people still believe that getting a tattoo is a sign of bad judgment. One of the worst situations I’ve seen where tattooed individuals are criticized harshly for their “bad judgment” is when they’re parents.
You’ve read in the above paragraphs how individuals with tattoos have been judged to be deviants, and told that they would never find a job because of their choice, but one thing less talked in society today, is how tattooed individuals are judged when they are also parents. Sage Adderley spoke about how she judged for being a mom with tattoos in an article, stating that nothing could have prepared her for the judgment she would receive when she became a mother. “The day I realized I wasn’t going to fit in with other local moms is the day children were being dragged away from my daughter at the local park. As soon as two moms got a good look at me, they literally grabbed their kids and took them to a different area of the park,” (Adderley 2009). Wow, I must give her credit for being able to control her temper, I don’t think I would have been able to not give those other mothers one hell of a dirty look if had been me there. Those other women in the park just saw Adderley’s tattoos, and for some reason decided to judge her and her daughter based solely on them. Sadly, dragging their own children away was a punishment for Adderley’s daughter that she did not deserve. Adderley mentioned in the article that she was not prepared for the segmentation that her children would endure because she had tattoos (Adderley 2009). One question that I ask all the time is “why is it such a big deal?” Is choosing to decorate one’s body really that big of a deal?
The process of getting a tattoo is a permanent change to your body, much like having a child, as one blogger explained, so again, I ask “why?” In the blog post titled “10 Reasons Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Get a Tattoo According to My Mother (but Having a Baby is Fine)” one woman listed these awesome and hilarious reasons why a tattoo is “bad” but having a child is just fine (Blog 2014). One of my favorites included reason #6: “You don’t know if it’s going to be safe or clean. Also, you know it’s going to hurt, right?” with the blogger’s response of “Luckily, having a kid can easily be summed up by the words ‘safe’ and ‘clean.’ Also, ‘painless’” (Blog 2014). I’m sure that my best friend with a 21-month-old toddler would attest to that statement, after she finished laughing and possibly throwing things at me. Although this blog had me giggling the entire time I was reading it, #10 really stuck out at me: “You think you’re going to seem so cool walking around with one, but really most of the time you’re going to look sort of ridiculous.” With the blogger’s response of “Sorry, I couldn’t hear that last one. I was screaming the phrase, ‘DON’T EAT THOSE BUGS,’ while pulling pieces of sweet potato and banana out of my hair and coat pockets,” (Blog 2014). I have been on the other end of that conversation with my best friend, and it is indeed ridiculous. I laughed as she was yelling that to her son, and then was scolded for laughing at her. As you can see, having a child is much like getting a tattoo in some aspects, however only getting a tattoo is considered to be bad judgment. Normally when people choose to have children, it is not considered to be bad judgment. (Really, this blog was awesome.. As a non parent I loved it, and my best friend loved it as a parent… Read it)
The irony of today’s society: those individuals who choose to decorate their bodies; don’t judge those who choose not to decorate themselves. How’s that for a double standard? The person walking down the street with stretched ears and full sleeves won’t judge you for not having those things, all the while you’re judging him, maybe tightening the grip on your child, or walking a bit faster as to pass him sooner, or dragging your child to the other end of the park, or thinking what kind of life he could possibly have looking like that, and the ever typical wondering how he could ever have a job, or what kind of parent could they possibly be with those modifications. Sadly, I’m not sure this is something that will ever really end, it might decrease over time, but there will always be people who consider the subculture of tattooed people to be nothing but a group of deviants.
Levins 2012 – http://www.tattooartist.com/history.html
Flawless 2013 – http://waybodyarts.wordpress.com/meet-the-staff/farrah-flawless/
Adderley 2009 – http://www.examiner.com/article/being-a-tattooed-mom-part-one