Express Yourself Through Body Art – Is Tattooing Still Taboo in the Professional World?
This is an odd post for me to write as it took me a really long time to get my first tattoos and I think I might be hooked now; ok, I am hooked now :-).
Why wait so long before I got inked? Outside of a huge fear of needles, I think I was scared to get inked because of the stigma attached – especially in the business world. The connotation of a tattoo in the business world is mixed, with it still be viewed as maybe just a bit too rebellious in most of the conservative circles.
I have written in a past blog, that I had always wanted a tattoo (always being since university) and when I finally got the guts to do it, I was in my mid forties and feeling pretty good about where I was in life with respect to family and career.
However, there was a time, many years prior, when if I had encountered and business person, a medical professional, or a police officer, that maybe I too would have been intimidated by the persons tatts and would have prejudged character, or lack there of.
Has it changed much since my younger days? Have we grown to accept the fact that its not just pirates, bikers and criminals that are inked? Have we moved from the stage of judging those with body art (I guess we could also throw piercings into this mix – not my cup of tea – but again a form of expression that carries its own prejudices) as freaks and maybe just those who like tattoos? Nothing more, nothing less.
A number of months ago the police in Scotland ruled that no tattoos could be visible while in uniform (unless you already had them). That means neck, face, hands, and legs if you are in shorts, etc… They deemed it scary for the public to have to be assisted by an officer with visible tattoos. Does that still hold true for most people?
The medical profession has had rulings in recent times asking that areas that are visibly inked, be covered. Why? Same reason; making sure the patient is not scared of being treated by someone who has tattoos.
There is a “discomfort” with the owner of my employer and I think some of the more senior folks in our organization and probably within the industry at large, with respect to visible ink. I now even try and pick and choose the spots where I roll sleeves up or wear short sleeved, based on who is in the office (owners/executives) and whom I am seeing, as it is pretty clear that not everyone is comfortable with them. Certain industry events are “ok” while many others are just not…
Personally, I have had two distinct instances coming into Canada from the States where my tattoos were an “issue” with security at customs. One time I was stopped and questioned as to how old my tattoos were, and where did I get them; I had never been stopped and asked anything before I had my tattoos. The other time I actually got stopped for a bag search. I got smart when in line for the search though; I lowered my sleeves before I got to the customs officer (I was wearing a nice black dress shirt and nice black pants), he looked at me puzzled, asked what I had, and then immediately rushed me through. I think he was thinking; a professional looking guy with carry on and a declaration of $35 for a T-Shirt, what the hell is he here for?
For the one guard I am a “concern” as I have the tatts visible, for the other when sleeves are down, he is looking at me wondering, as I was, “why are you here?” I am a 100% sure and say it was tatts visible vs. tatts concealed that changed perceptions. And remember, these are smallish Tatts, in black, on the under forearm. There were only two of them and really “tame” at that time. However, after those incidents, and now with a larger red and black, dagger with rose and skull on the upper forearm, we only wear long sleeved shirts at the airport ;-).
There is still a stigma attached to body ink. Right or wrong. It is really a personal thing and I have to be cognoscente and aware of that and aware that not everyone is like me – yes, I hear all of the resounding “Thank God”!
Let me share some interesting stats that may surprise many readers and maybe illustrate why I am still confused with respect to the stigma that still seems to prevail. Take note, many of these stats are now over five years old! To say they are dated would be understating it! Here is some info that I took from the following WebPages; www.collegecrunch.org entitled “15 Surprising Stats About Tatts”, www.statisticbrain.com/tattoo-statistics, and www.tattoos.ygoy.com. These are widely reported numbers on many Internet sights, but these are the three that I pulled some “cool” numbers from.
Here we go;
– 36% of 18-25 year olds and 40% of 26-40 year olds have at least one tattoo (2006 Pew Research Centre).
– National Geographic News (2000) stated that nearly 25% of American Adults had tattoos (40 million adults – I assume they meant 18-65 years of age).
– 2010 the tattoo industry in America was $1.7 Billion.
– Average cost of a tattoo is $150 per hour.
– 70% of the millennials – ME Generation – report that they “hide” their tattoos at work.
– Almost and equal amount of men vs. women sport tattoos.
– Liberals were only slightly more likely to have a tattoo than conservatives.
– The West Coast was more heavily inked than the mid and east of the continent – Canada and States.
Still think its just pirates, bikers and criminals that are inked?
Ciao for now @Kootenayborn