Inked And Ostracized: Tattoos Do Not Indicate Inadequacy

One day, I was on a social media website and I saw people arguing, criticizing a male for the type of car he drove.

The comment that struck me the most was when someone posted, “Just buy a normal car and blend in.”

Blend in? Why would we try to blend in when we were born to stand out? In a society that promotes and judges so many things, being “different” is a hard thing to express.

People are constantly ostracized and ridiculed for the way they look. Whether focused on their height, weight, skin color or clothes, there seems to be no escape from the ridicule.

One topic that rubs me the wrong way is how society views tattoos. Although tattoos are becoming more popular, many people still disapprove of them in the workplace.

I don’t have tattoos, but I strongly support those who choose to be inked.

I know what it is like to be unable to express your individuality. My middle and high school years were spent in a place where tattoos and exotic piercings and hairstyles were prohibited. Everyone was required to wear the same clothes and have the same style. Sameness was everywhere. The only thing that defined you was the purse you carried, the shoes you wore or the car you drove.

Now that I have more freedom of personal expression, I plan to get more piercings and get some ink.

More people are getting tattoos and piercings today, but they tend to be judged quickly. They’re profiled not only by their parents, peers, professors and strangers, but also in the workplace.

Employees are told to cover their tattoos at work because they look “unprofessional.” Many of my ex-coworkers had tattoos on their wrists or ankles. One of them had a few large tattoos on her upper arms, more piercings than typical and dark red dreadlocks.

Luckily, the restaurant I worked for accepted its employees as the individuals that they are.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for every work environment. Many people with tattoos who apply for jobs are denied the job based on their appearance and nothing else. Even if they are as qualified as the next applicant, they could be denied.

To even have a possible chance of getting a job, people cover their tattoos with more clothing, Band–Aids or makeup. Having to hide who you are to gain someone else’s approval is not right.

It is unfair for someone to be denied a job based on his looks. Appearance does not indicate competence.

Finding a unique style to call your own is difficult, and yet people are constantly being put down because of their individuality.

People are trying to express who they are, but society says that you are not allowed to be different.

Fortunately, times are changing and people are growing to be more accepting of tattoos, among many other things.

However, there is still a long road ahead. We all need to accept each other for the individuals that we are.

This article originally appeared in the Sep. 25, 2015 print edition of The Echo.

image via kariaddisonbeautiful.com

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