Tattoos: An Expression of Art, Not Unprofessional

Juli Lamparillo, Features Editor

Picture this: you’re sitting in an office waiting to be interviewed, when suddenly two men walk in. One of them is dressed in a business casual suit, looking very professional. The other is dressed similarly, but has tattoos on his arms all the way up to his neck, including two gauges in his ear. Who do you think is going to get hired? Most people would answer with the first man because it seems as though people with tattoos should not work in professional places. These same people might also believe that someone with tattoos all over their body can only work in garages and at tattoo parlors.

Something I’ve wondered for a long time is why tattoos look unprofessional and “dirty,” when in reality they actually require a lot of maintenance, responsibility, and up-keep. In fact, the people who have tattoos have to be the cleanest they can; otherwise it can ruin the tattoo. Tattoos are also a personal preference and beautiful pieces of art. This is nothing for anybody else but that person to have an opinion on.

Tattoos have been around for a while and over the years, they have become more popular. It’s upsetting to think that someone might not get hired for a job because of the way they decided to show off their body. That person could potentially be the best for the job mentally and/or physically, and they would most likely get rejected at first sight. The person who is hiring may not even listen to what they have to say in their interview and that company would have lost a great potential employee all because of this bias.

Speaking as somebody who has a tattoo herself and plans on getting many more, I would be furious if I was turned down from the job of my dreams to somebody much less qualified for the job because of a decision I made with my body to express myself. My boss recently just found out that I had a tattoo (because it is not easily seen as it is on my inner bicep) and immediately she gave me a “look” and said to me, “You better make sure nobody sees that.” Now, I understand she is a conservative woman and doesn’t want the wrong message to be given about her business. However, my tattoo does not say “No Ragrets” on it. It says “Sempre Famiglia,” which means “Always Family” in Italian. My brother and my mother both have it tattooed in the same spot. If you ask me, that does not give out a bad message at all. It shows that I actually care about things and have an incredible connection with my family. This is an admirable trait in the working field for the future.

My older brother, Mark, is one of the most successful people I know. Guess what he has on his body: a tattoo. His tattoo is of a big, blue dragon on the back of his head. Of course, he does have hair to cover that, but not when he shaves his head, which he does do on occasion. The tattoo and the location itself give off the impression that my brother probably works in some garage and makes almost no money. WRONG. Not only does he have this tattoo, but his gorgeous wife (who is also very successful) has at least 10 different, meaningful, and beautiful tattoos on her body.

The unprofessionalism of tattoos is getting way too old. So many people have them that have the appropriate skills for almost any kind of job. Somebody with tattoos could have gone to Harvard and the majority of people would be surprised at the fact that they went through college at such a high level and aspire to be lawyer. So how can we make tattoos look more professional? We can’t. But, what we can do is be proud of what we decide to do to our bodies (as long as it’s safe) and show off our beautiful, inked skin.