What's the deal with tattoos and discrimination? It's the year 20-flipping-14 already and tattoos should have been a social norm already.
So, why are people still getting prejudiced so much? Let's try to find out.
When my mother found out last year about my plans about possibly covering my body with ink, let's say she would've been less dissatisfied to have her daughter come home under the influence. When she found out that I'm going to push through becoming a tattoo artist, she lost it. Followed by the customary sermon most parents give their children about the dark dangers of tattoos.
I see her point, from which company would actually hire me, to the risk of catching blood-borne diseases. I have done my fair research and I am aware of the hazards of a getting and giving a tattoo. My dad has a tattoo on his hip and my mother does not seem to mind it much, though. She's still not keen on my plans concerning body modification, yet she's not against the thought of me getting one given I could already pay my bills.
Other people don't seem to be in the least bit open-minded. Some can even be utterly rude and sees anyone with a hint of a tattoo on their bodies as someone less of a human. Personally, I think it only shows that society is still not ready to open its mind in accepting people as they are. Many are still not able to see past the outer shell. That's what this long debate about tattoo discrimination is all about. I am not about to bring in a major insight, but only to contribute a small shout out of what I think about this issue.
Just this week from down under, a 25-year-old woman was on a nice date in an Adelaide restaurant when she was approached by a security guard concerning her tattoos. It took place at the Bath Hotel, the same place where Ashlee Adams, an acquaintance of Alisa, was told to leave by the staff because they don't allow people who have tattoos. Alisa claims that she has never been treated the same way before, regarding her tattoos and that it disgusted her.
This was already reported to South Australia's Equal Opportunity Commission but was dismissed due to the hotel's strict policy regarding tattoos with their customers. Commissioner Anne Gale gave this statement about the matter, "Dress codes, which could include restrictions on visible tattoos, are not grounds for complaint under South Australia's equal opportunity laws." She also insisted that restaurants are allowed to enforce dress code policy in their establishments.
Both women's complaint is about the rudeness portrayed by the staff to them during their experience in the hotel. They claimed that the hotel's dress code doesn't bother them, rather the way they were treated. They claimed that they were both in the middle of a meal, both have paid already and maintained a pleasant exchange with the staff, when they were asked to leave.
Another incident involving a complaint from a customer took place at a Mark's and Spencer store where Natasha Henson was humiliated. Another customer at the store pointed out her tattoos in a negative way. She reported it to the cashier, who even made Mrs. Henson's situation worse. The cashier was not sympathetic and even commented about how Natasha's tattoos disfigured her and that it was an act of mutilation to her body. Needless to say, Mrs. Henson was very upset about it and chose to speak up about it.
'It's my choice to have tattoos and I do not expect people to judge me for it.' Natasha's husband owns a tattoo parlor in Bournemouth, he's also the one responsible for most of the art on Natasha's body. Both of them are members of Bristol Tattoo Club. The said employee has since then resigned after a disciplinary action has been done. M & S has also sent gifts to the Hensons as apology to the unfortunate incident.
Another incident which happened this year is from a club in Northallerton. 23-year-old Miki Lane went out to for a night of clubbing with her partner, Jason Barker, 24. But right before their night began, they were halted and refused entrance by the bouncers of Club Amadeus.
Lane works at a tattoo shop while her boyfriend works as a personal trainer. They believe that the way they were treated were wrong ad Lane claimed that she has been to the said club before but did not experience the same, unfortunate treatment. Further, Lane argues that they were smartly dressed and besides, body art is becoming a social norm as more and more people have them.
Lane has since started a campaign for greater tolerance towards tattoos.
What about the tattooed people in the workplace?
The authorities have also been subject to follow a strict dress code which, according to a BBC News article, are:
-Standard uniform dress of black shirts for officers and blue for PCSOs -Patrolling officers wearing helmets or hats for PCSOs Black, clean and polished footwear -Neat and tidy hair, not shaved into motifs or dyed a "conspicuously unnatural colour" -Clean shaven - neat beards, moustaches and sideburns allowed -No nose, tongue or multiple ear studs, or decorative earrings -No tattoos that "cause offence to the public" -No officers chewing gum on duty when in public view
This has been strongly supported and observed among the Dyfed-Powys Police. According to them, having this kind of policy to be followed concerning the appearance of the authority, it encourages the presence of 'confidence, credibility and respect'. It is not only meant to give the officers a sense of confidence and self-respect but also for the citizens to see them as exemplary and as models for the society.
In my opinion, I do respect their policy and decision to strictly implement it. Though, I am not quite keen on the idea that insists this type of conformity and lack of self-expression is what society should look up to. The image of body modification depends on the eye of the beholder, just like the perception of beauty. It's not for everyone, but it does not mean that it's something to be seen as a humiliation or a taboo if one desires to be respected.
A trainee teacher in Hartlepool was sent home on her first day to cover up her tattoos. Charlotte Tumilty, 26, is set to do her training for her level two teaching training course at Hartlepool College of Further Education at St. John's Vianney Primary School twice a week. She claimed to have quit college and focus on her family of four instead.
She reportedly passed an earlier interview before getting started on her training, yet she was told to go home and come back covered in plasters on her first day. She was also subject to another issue concerning erotic photos she modeled for when she was younger.
On a positive note, workplaces such as Starbucks has toned down their body art policies. Employees may now continue working at the coffee shops as long as their tattoos are not on their face or neck and could pass off as 'tasteful'. This comes as Starbucks has relaxed its tattoo restrictions about workers having body art at work. Now staff at the company can show their designs as long as they are deemed tasteful, and are not on their face or neck.
What's your take on this debate?