Holmes: Tattoos are marks of beauty

Shannon Holmes

“Okay, there is no backing out now. Ready. Go.”

I flinched as the needle jabbed into my left wrist repeatedly. There was a small, forced smile on my face, while breaking my friend’s hand as the artist, Chicago, permanently pushed ink into my skin.

Jab jab jab. Wipe. Jab jab jab. Wipe. Finally, after thirty minutes, I had a shiny, slightly puffy, blue tattoo on my left wrist.

While living in Florida, during an internship at Disney I was, “stabbed,” as my tattoo artist so gracefully put it. From then on I had the responsibility to cover my tattoo at work, whether it was with makeup, a band-aid or long sleeve shirts. How annoying, but it was worth the pain.

There is no reason for tattoos to be hidden in the workplace. I’m not causing you any physical or mental pain with my blue semicolon tattoo. I don’t run up to you, rub it in your face and tell you that its wrong that you don’t have a tattoo. Oh, wait. That’s what people do to me, when they don’t “believe” in tattoos.

When our generation, the generation that will be running the world in a few years, when 40 percent of college “20 somethings,” have a tattoo, shouldn’t that be enough to stop discrimination?

Theoretically, let’s say a recent college student who graduated top of his university class walks into an office for an interview. Here’s the kicker: he has a huge tattoo that starts at the neck and reaches down to his calf. He is ordained this way because he believes in Buddhism, and the Thai orthodox family which he comes from believes tattoos serve as amulets. Many religions believe in the power of tattoos like Buddhism, as does Hinduism, (some) Christianity, American Indian tribes, and many more. Denying someone of a job because of their religion and beliefs is illegal and that includes religious tattoos.

It is 2014. We don’t have flying cars quite yet, but our technology and research is advancing everyday. We’re closer to the cure for cancer, biofuel and more. The ideology on tattoos is still stuck in the dang 1800s. Ladies, we can show our ankles in the workplace, why can’t we show our tattoos? Men, you have the freedom to shave, or grow a ruggish beard, why not bare your tattoos with pride? Times are changing, as they always have and always will. I believe we need to flex and move with said changing times or else we’ll be doomed to, dare I say, boredom.

Tattoos don’t matter. Granted, some people did admit to not appreciating tattoos in the workplace, but most didn’t mind someone having a small wrist tattoo or one behind the ear. As long as the worker was professional, respectful and kind. What is on your body does create a kind of aura, or how people view you, but your personality is entirely different. I have nine piercings in my ears, and a tattoo, but I go out of my way to be kind to others, love puppies and could watch Disney movies all day. Just because someone is “tatted up” does not mean they are rude, does not mean they will brush you off and definitely doesn’t mean they are rough and tough.

Although, being all for the tattoos in the workplace movement, I do understand some credible points against it. For one, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some take a look at a tattoo and will compliment it, and some will comment that you have dirt on your skin. Some parents will shield their children against anyone with a tattoo, while others will point out the tattoo and exclaim that “the lady has art on her!”

Studies and surveys have also shown that older generations find tattoos a distraction, so a company could potentially lose clients because of that. Why do they care what I look like if I am doing a good job? Out of respect, I do cover up my tattoos for interviews, but I do let my potential employer know that I do have a tattoo. Most companies that don’t approve of tattoos have implemented a dress code with the carefully worded, “no visible tattoos.”

If you don’t have curse words, anything immoral or sexual, you should be allowed to show the world the thing you paid a fortune for. Tattoos have a special meaning to me, mine especially. Times are changing, more and more companies are allowing their employees to unveil their approved tattoos. If you’re thinking about getting “stabbed,” just think about where you want it, if you don’t mind covering it up and if you don’t mind explaining it to everyone under the sun. Who knows, maybe ten years from now tattoos in the office buildings and classrooms will be a regular occurrence.