Enjoy this re-write of a uni article about how pissed off I am at the fact that I felt I had to get my elephant tattoo on my ankle and not my forehead, for the job opportunities.
In a time where we are working hard towards equality in all aspects of society, we appear to be behind with just one minority: people with tattoos. Labelling this as a minority may be incorrect, as, according to The Guardian, a fifth of all British adults have at least one tattoo. Despite this, it’s still common to see people with tattoos refused work, asked to cover them up in the workplace, or asked not to get them in the first place.
For this reason, the majority of tattoos are in places where an employer will never see (so feel free to get loads of tattoos in your arse crack). Temporary tattoos are also being used in order to get the experience of a tattoo, without the consequences. (And the temporary ones don’t sting like a bitch).
We now have laws in place to ensure that your race, religion, culture, sexuality or gender identity cannot affect your chances of landing a job. It could be argued that getting inked, is a life choice similar to these characteristics just mentioned. Just as being a Muslim, gay, or non-binary does not affect your ability to do a job, neither does having a tattoo. Essentially, refusing work to someone with a tattoo is rejecting a part of their identity. Could this be considered discrimination?
Ruby, a second-year English student (my housemate lol) agrees that tattoos should not be a reason to get fired or rejected. Although she doesn’t have any tattoos herself, she believes that the physical attributes of a person should not be an advantage or disadvantage. Whether you have a face tattoo, no tattoos, pink hair or natural coloured hair, ‘it should be your individual skill set and only your skill set that is considered during the recruitment stage and beyond’.
For jobs that involve working with children or a vulnerable population, it’s understandable that visible tattoos that say ‘F^€K THE P0L1C3’ or some crap are allowed to be rejected. This wouldn’t be discrimination, as the safety of children or a vulnerable population is the priority. Yet, if a carer for example, had a small elephant tattoo on his or her wrist, no one is going to view that carer any differently, or receive a different level of care.
Face tattoos seem to have a particular stigma attached to them. The reason behind this may only be because the face is the least common place on the body to get a tattoo. In customer service jobs, it’s common to see that face tattoos, or all visible tattoos, are not allowed as part of the uniform policy. Their reasoning behind this is because they want to maintain a professional reputation of their company, but this suggests that tattoos do not give off a ‘smart’ look. This is a common attitude because the majority of society have been conditioned to view them in this way. If companies begin to be more open to hiring tattooed applicants, perhaps the stigma will start to disappear.
Rather than suggesting that it is more practical to go for a temporary version or have them in less visible places, companies should encourage their employees to embrace who they are, and freely express themselves. Once a few businesses make the move, it’s likely that other businesses will follow in their footsteps and conform to this new, open-minded attitude. So if any CEO’s happen to be reading this, come on, take one for the team mate.
My first tattoo is a little elephant on my ankle. I say first tattoo, it’s my only tattoo, but I plan to get many more (if anyone wants me to send me some money and/or inspo for this that would be highly appreciated). I got it on the inside of my ankle with the issue of a job in mind. Also the issue of my mother – she isn’t a fan. She took me for a pedicure a week after it was done, which was the moment I realised I could no longer hide it from her. Her reaction wasn’t too bad, though.
The meaning behind it all? It was basically a bucket list thing – I wanted to get at least one tatt in life. Several meanings behind the tattoo came to me after I’d actually had it done. Firstly, I have huge ears as we already know, so I am basically part-elephant anyway. Elephants represent strength, among other things. As I got it done after signing up to do a marathon, I envisioned that the elephant would hopefully run the marathon for me if elephants are so ‘strong’.
If you want the cringy meanings, here you go. The little cutie (I don’t have a name for him yet, please help me out) is looking upwards, so the English student in me interprets that as him looking up or forward in hope or excitement of what is to come. Sometimes he’s also looking up at me, watching me grow, looking at me as a role model, or as a queen. If I’m wearing socks, the little blue dots are all you can see just above the sock line – these are little bundles of magic.
But is deliberately getting it in a hidden place just contributing to the issue of tattoos in the work place? Shall I go ahead and get a huge graphic clitoris on my forehead in retaliation, proving that you can have tattoos and still be amazing at your job at the same time?