It is no great surprise that tattoos and body piercings are a fad with Generation X. There are several reasons why college students are coloring themselves with tattoos and piercing their various body parts. Their reasons range from personal expression to personal empowerment or to just be spontaneous and rebellious. Body piercings and tattoos are a means of personal empowerment for some who are typically searching for individualism and control of their lives. Body art is their mark of individuality and control. Despite what some people may think about tattoos, they have a meaning. Getting a tattoo brands a part of your personality onto your skin for a reminder,” MCCC student Skylar Hall said. Since inking and piercing the skin has increasingly gained popularity with the young crowd it is slowly getting some acceptance. To give an idea of their rise in popularity here are a few figures. Thirty years ago, 1 in 100 people in this country had tattoos. Now 1 in 10 Americans have them, and one-third of those aged 25 to 30 have tattoos.
While society is becoming more liberated and expressive, and piercings and tattoos become part of mainstream culture, some employers are still having a hard time wrapping their heads around body art in the workplace. In today’s society, the job market has become an area of fierce competition. The smallest details can be the deciding factor between two candidates. These details can be anything from confidence to presentation. Along with a person’s presentation comes his or her appearance.
While it might seem that appearance should not matter as long as the candidate is qualified, it does for some employers. The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, doesn’t allow facial piercings (i. e. eyebrow, nose or lip). They do allow tattoos that aren’t offensive; ‘offensive’ tattoos must be covered up. Borders, one of the nation’s largest book sellers, views body art and piercings as something that makes a worker more interesting and a definite plus. Ford Motor Company allows everyone from Senior Executives on down to have tattoos and piercings.
The only exception is that factory workers are asked to refrain from piercings that could endanger factory settings and/or worker safety. Wahoo’s, a California-based chain of fish taco restaurants, allows their employees to strut their tattoos in the restaurants and in the corporate office (specifically graphic designers, and even the owner). Company policies differ with every career and this should be taken into consideration before permanently altering the skin. “Anyone considering getting a tattoo should think about what their future holds.
If you are going to be a stockbroker for a living, having holes in your ears the size of baseballs can possible prevent some clients to not trust you with their thousands of dollars,” said MCCC student Tyler Davis. Tattoos are permanent, expensive, and extremely painful, especially when attempting to remove them. If these pieces of art were not accepted in the workplace, every person who plans to obtain a “respectable” job would be forced to remove all of their visible tattoos and piercings.
MCCC student Rehanna Boissonneault in her freshman year wanted to get gauges. She later was happy she didn’t when she met a girl who had gages and needed to have surgery to fix her ears for her job. The risk of not being able to obtain a respectable job is not always a major worry for some students. MCCC student Brad Grodi has small gauges and has aspirations of being a lawyer. “I have years of college left before I can even start applying for jobs,” said Grodi. When Grodi got his gauges he knew he would have to keep his business life professional.
To hide the gauges he bought glass gauges that are hard to see even at a close distance. “Honestly, if I wore my usual gages, I don’t think I’ll be taken seriously because I’d be seen as a punk or unprofessional. Also if I go any bigger in gauge size, it’d be unsuitable for any professional career,” said Grodi. Many MCCC students agreed that there should be boundaries for tattoos and piercings, such as a face or neck tattoo and the larger sized gages. “I don’t have any issues with body art, but I do when it comes to altering the face.
People say tattoos are to be unique and show personality, but your face is the most unique thing about you. I do not understand why someone would do that,” said MCCC student Carly Hicks. Other students say that there are not any boundaries and that body art is a person’s way of expressing themselves and there should not be boarders with expression. “I am currently accessorizing with eleven piercings and am in the process of getting tattoos that have symbolic meaning to me. My body is my canvas and there are no boundaries.
If you disagree with the fact that I support tattoos and piercings in the workplace, that is perfectly fine but, you are saying that I shouldn’t alter my own body with things that I find meaningful,” said Michael Ansell. Whether tattoos and body piercings are permanent, temporary, a fad or for the rebellious side of this generation is unlikely they will fade out anytime soon. The primitive art of tattoos and body piercings have made a strong impression on this generation. Seeing body art in the workplace is something people should slowly start getting used to.