Tattoo Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century “Dis·crim·i·na·tion: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things. This is the Oxford dictionary definition of discrimination” To be ill-treated because you are different. Discrimination against those with tattoos is one of the forms of discrimination people, employers especially attempt to get away with. If an employer refuses to hire someone because of race, sex or religion it is instantly deemed as discrimination and further action will be taken.
Yet employers can decide to not hire someone because of the way they choose to express themselves.
Tattoos can be a beautiful means of expression and a bona fide form of art, and -albeit there may be inappropriate tattoos out there which understandably covered up on bosses’ requests- asking someone to cover up a tattoo is like asking them to cover who they are, what they’ve been through, and how that has changed them. Can this be justified? Tattoos have been around for centuries, first created to differentiate tribes and has since had varied bouts of popularity throughout history.
By far it is this generation which it is most popular with 38% of the nation’s young adults having at least one tattoo.
With the increase of those getting tattoos you would think, natural progression and all, the next step would be to fit the dress policy set out by companies around the changing times. Apparently not. Tattoos and piercings as part of a company’s dress code are either for employees to be without or to be forced to cover them up. A case in the US where a man who was hired by the restaurant chain Red Robin even though he made it clear he would not cover his religious tattoos. So when they asked him to cover them after he was employed you can imagine the shock.
This case was taken to court and the man was granted $150,000 in the lawsuit. However it doesn’t always work like this. A woman who worked for Costco refused to take off her facial piercing as it was part of her religion, the church of Body Modification, and she took Costco to court. The case was ruled in Costco’s favour because they didn’t accept the Church of Body Modification as a genuine religion. Look at the similarities in these cases, yet one ruled in the employee’s favour and the other didn’t. Surely if one case it was considered discrimination it should be considered discrimination for the other.
These examples show just how unstable the courts are for dealing with cases like these because there are no set rules. Hypothetically speaking if a man and a woman were going for the same job, and the woman was considerably better, the employer would straight away pick the female because she is better suited. However if two people went for the job and the better qualified one was tattooed would the same ruling apply? Maybe people can understand why tattoos are a taboo subject in the workplace. I suppose I can see where they are coming from there, but there are several cases outside the workplace where these rules don’t apply.
Joel Madden, the lead singer of the punk pop band Good Charlotte, was asked to cover his heavily tattooed arms when boarding a British Airways flight although none of his tattoos were offensive. The singer showed his outrage through the social networking site Twitter and claimed that it was in fact discrimination as the British airways steward was looking at him in ‘pure disgust’. British Airways released a statement after the incident stating the British Airways had no set policy in place for tattoos and that the employee who had asked Madden to cover his tattoos was receiving disciplinary action.
The Good Charlotte frontman is yet to receive an apology. This right here is an example of unjustified prejudice against a paying customer. Madden paid for a seat on the flight just like every other person on the plane, but yet he was forced to cover his personal tattoos because one man had a problem with it. This isn’t the only instance of paying customers being turned away because of tattoos. In fact in Melbourne Australia it appears many bars have a strict no visible tattoos policy the turns away dozens of paying customers for no other reason than the fact they have body art.
It has been said this is a human rights issue as it takes away people’s right to express their individuality. A similar thing has happened in bars in America too, which really confuses me. Why is it so common that these bars turn people away? In all honesty I don’t expect the bars to be in with the idea of tattooing to express yourself, but I would have thought that bars wouldn’t care enough to create a policy that prohibits them from entering or treat it as a money making business and have the attitude that says as long as they’re spending money it’s no problem.
But it seems more and more bars have taken on a ‘too much ink, no drink’ ideology, which begs the question why isn’t this considered discrimination? On a lighter note apparently “Tattooed Barbie looks like a tart” comments one concerned mother (although with a few more expletives) and as she sets an example for young girls she worries that her daughter will turn out to be like her too. This here is ignorance paired with prejudice. First of all, tattooed Barbie is a collector’s item, not marketed at children for them to play with.
Secondly Barbies tattoo is a tasteful shoulder tattoo, with nothing tartish about it. And thirdly… she’s is a doll, a piece of plastic. Parents are happy to buy their children a doll that is the poster child for unrealistic expectations about the female body with her ridiculous proportions (36-18-38) but as soon as she breaks out from what is outside what is considered ‘normal’, people are suddenly outraged. “Encouraging children that tattoos are cool is wrong… Why not put a cigarette and a beer bottle in her hand while you’re at it! This prime example of what parents thought of this Barbie summarises the public opinion of tattoos. It’s the outdated idea that tattoos mean you are trouble, a criminal and that people should keep away. It doesn’t mean that anymore and it hasn’t for a long time. The sooner people realise this, the sooner society can move on and accept tattoos for what they are. I don’t think people with tattoos should have to suffer because they want to express themselves and want to be different.
I think it’s a valid form of discrimination and I think people should be punished just the same for it if it was sexism, or racism. I hope that with the raising popularity of tattoos people will be forced to change their views because a set list of guidelines concerning body art will have been laid down, but until that day people are going to be judged for being brave enough to show who they are on their skin. And until that day it will leave a sour taste in my mouth. Tracey Matheson Bibliography http://www. dailymail. co. uk/femail/article-2050491/Tattooed-Barbie-What-message-does-send-young-fans. html
Cite this Tattoo Discrimination
Tattoo Discrimination. (2016, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tattoo-discrimination/