Discrimination Against Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace and What YOU can do to Change it.
Has your job been affected by your ink or metal? If you personally haven't, chances are that someone you know has been affected. How would it make you feel to be deterred from your dream career or your passion because you chose to use your body, your canvas, as you saw fit?
The tattoo industry alone generates around $200 billion a year, and 14% of the adult population has a piercing in an area other than their ear lobes. As you can easily see every day, many people choose to use their skin to express themselves.
Why, then is it still seen as taboo in the workplace?
Some workplaces such as restaurants, chain stores, and other more independent businesses are doing much better at allowing their employees to have modifications, but it is the higher up fields that we need to crack. Think of all the amazing doctors, lawyers, dentists, business execs, teachers and so on that MAY have made an impact on the world or even just their community by being allowed to pursue the career that turned them away based on their skin! They were NEVER GIVEN A CHANCE because they got a tattoo, or a piercing.
It is time for all people, young and old, to come to the understanding that tattoos and piercings are a form of very personal expression. They do not signify that we who host them are bad people, or have no work ethic. In fact, the majority of the most hard working, successful, and influential people in my life have multiple tattoos and piercings!
I had a coach in high school who was covered in tattoos, from head to toe. He was thankfully allowed a job, but had to wear long sleeves and pants in the Texas heat year round. His tattoos were a collection of religious symbols from all different cultures, and he was one of the biggest influences on my life to this day He was educated, wise, and the only one of the history teachers that didn't teach an advanced class but could convince his students that school was important, that history was important, and actually make the kids that had been labeled 'lost cause' excel! If he had not been allowed a job, all of those students lives, MY life, would be drastically different.
I have "c'est la vie" (such is life) tattooed on my forearm, and as young woman worked as a manager in a restaurant. Constantly people would ask me about the tattoo. (I never covered it, because I believe in order to change something, you have to BE the change!) I starkly remember one old man asking me with a disgusted face, what it meant. I replied as kindly as possible, reading it to him in French. His reply was angry, "You are probably just cussing at me!" I said, "Sir, it means 'such is life' and it is a reminder to me that things happen, but every single morning that we wake up with air to breathe we should remember we are lucky to be alive, and that that day can hold whatever we wish for it- unscarred by the day before" I watched the anger melt from his wife's face, who had previously agreed with him and had been repulsed by my ink. She now bore the face of regret, and eagerly apologized for her husbands still angry and ranting behavior.
So why? What reason did these two strangers have to assume that I, a young woman, innocent looking enough, would be cussing at them just because I had a tattoo? This immediate distrust and hatred of tattoos has no root, no meaning in today's society.
You would think that with so many adults having these modifications they would now be accepted not as a judgement of character, but as a personal preference. And guys, it's 2018, it is time to get the ball rolling, time to advance- time to be able to express ourselves in any way we wish without sacrificing our financial stability or our passions.
What can you do to help? Many people who have not personally experienced being turned away from a job due to their piercings or tattoos do not even recognize that the issue exists. With that being said, what we can do to make the biggest impact is very simple. So simple that you may be overthinking it! We have to get the word out. Get people informed that every day thousands of people that could excel in their careers are turned away, forgotten, and pushed down another path. They are wrongfully labeled and distrusted!
I hate to revert to this cliché, but no one should ever judge a book by its cover. Lets get the word out, lets do some good! If this sounds good to you, here are a few next steps you can take.
1. Head over to the Menu > Shop Other > Apparel tab on our website. Grab yourself and a friend a support tee, so you can SCREAM the message without, well, screaming. And we are adding new designs all the time, so check them out!
2. Go to @stapaw on instagra, and give those guys a follow. They do a lot in terms of informing people on this issue. Share some of their images on your own social media accounts.
3. Don't forget to post a pic wearing your Spirit Adornments support tee and tag us @spiritadornments on Instagram so we can repost your picture!
4. Ask your friends and family if they have been affected! Chances are, they have. Tell them what you are doing to help.
5. If you can, without risking your current career, reveal your tattoos or piercings or rock that colored hair to work and serve people with a smile and perfect attitude! Show them in every way possible that their judgements of you are SO wrong! And we want to hear your success stories, so comment below here or message us on Instagram @spiritadornments.
Thank you so much for reading if you made it this far. YOU are the one that will make a difference!