The Tattoo Debate

Even in this modern age we are still at war as to whether decisions we make to alter our appearance should influence our career aspects. Tattoos, piercings and even certain hair colours seem to be frowned upon in certain industries and the main question on my lips is WHY?

Why in 2014 is there still an issue regarding ink or metal on someone’s body? My argument, and that of many people, is that if someone has taken the training and is aware of how to carry out a job, why should it matter if that person has a visible tattoo, or a piercing which is deemed ‘different’ in society?

Perhaps I’m biased as someone with a tattoo and a septum piercing, but it seems a stretch ridiculous that someone could be stripped of their skills given their appearance. Whilst tattoos, body piercings and eccentric hair colours are decisions we make, it isn’t acceptable to remove someone from a working environment because of, say, skin conditions or other impediments, so why is it acceptable to exclude someone for their decision to self-express?

This debate has recently been ignited by the story of Charlotte Tumilty, a trainee teacher who was sent away from her work at a Catholic school, for her tattoos.  Now it’s somewhat understandable that an environment which may be less accepting of tattoos chose not to employ Charlotte, but given that she was interviewed before taking the position, you’d think that the school might have noticed her neck tattoo then, rather than humiliating her when she arrived for work.

If someone, such as Charlotte, has had the required training to teach and is a mother of children themselves, then why should her ‘alternative image’ affect her future career prospects?

Tattoos are decisions made by a person, and they are used to either express a personal meaning or simply to look good. It seems inappropriate to me that this decision should affect anyone else. With regards to showcasing a professional image I have a friend with several visible tattoos and ‘alternative’ piercings who works with children and has never had an issue completing her job as an au pair. As long as the employee and the people who their job affect are happy, I don’t think it should be a problem whether their hair is orange or blue, or if they’ve pierced their nose or cheek. C’mon now, it’s 2014, let’s be a little accepting of the fact we can’t all be clones of one another.

Aimee Costa