I have been thinking of getting a tattoo for a long time. I have thought through the design and location, I know exactly what it means to me and why I want to do this. And the more I think that tattoos have a very negative image in our society, the less I stop myself from getting it.
The main reason is, well, in the end it’s my body and who are all those self-proclaimed deciders of people’s worth to tell me I become trash immediately I have some ink on my body?
Somehow (at least where I live) we think it’s acceptable to comment on a tattooed person passing by or a movie character, but I have rarely heard positive comments. Of course they wouldn’t say it so that person would hear, but would share their opinion with friends or co-workers, or other semi-close people. Mostly there are negative outbursts with a pinch of hostility (a little, but still noticeable). I have heard it so many times and came to a conclusion that just for keeping it safe it’s better not to try shut this Great Judge of Worth up, or, God forbid, try to express an opinion on tattoos different from their.
Despite my own friendly attitude towards tattoos (or I’d better say, I don’t care for the most part if a person does or doesn’t have it, because it’s why? Right, none of my business, not my body, not my story, not my life etc.), there are plenty of individuals who think they can evaluate others by them having tattoos or not.
In case of office acceptance, I prefer to explain that HR managers are just trying to keep the office environment safe and clean (sterile I’d say). Traditional offices most of the time contain a bunch of unhappy people randomly squeezed together in a badly ventilated space (cheers if yours is well ventilated, mine wasn’t and it was not fun at all), it’s always better to keep the environment as calm as possible and not escalate tensions. We have dress codes, images how an office dweller should look like, and tattoos/piercings/vividly dyed hair just don’t fit in this image. Most of the time, a traditional office is still a sacred environment only for Good people, we get it.
Some people have negative thoughts on tattoos no matter if they are visible or hidden by clothes.
However, it’s funny how some preach about people having a tattoo being low class and uneducated while not realizing (or it just doesn’t fit into their picture of the world) that even someone in high position might have it, it’s just YOU can’t see it. Because it wasn’t meant for YOU, stranger. It was not meant to be seen by you, judged by you, evaluated by you, a distant person who I happened to share a means of earning money with. Or who works for me. Or who I work for. Combinations are countless, but the question remains the same: who exactly are you to judge, despite not knowing a thing about my life/background? Tell me why you are an authority on what people should do with their bodies, I’ll wait.
Researches aside, how many times have you had a conversation with someone who hates ink, and doesn’t stop talking about it, not knowing the one they’re talking to has tattoos hidden under their clothes? Or, okay, just doesn’t stop talking about how Bad Tattoos Are?
While times where tattoos were a sign of a criminal background or low education are long gone (according to this piece of statistics most commonly found, 45 millions of Americans have at least one tattoo, I wouldn’t dare say they all fit into a common image), why do we still have to deal with hostile verbal expressions towards tattooed people?
Of course, a lot depends on environment. While the statistics above is about the USA, I haven’t lived there long enough to notice attitudes towards tattoos, or at the time I wasn’t paying attention at this aspect. But I have heard countless times a person give off their opinion (mostly negative, I guess people who don’t care don’t feel the necessity to let everyone around know how BAD they think *insert* is) about a tattooed person walking by or appearing in a movie, or when a conversation drifts in that direction. I lived in Europe, and now live in Asia, and attitude is surprisingly close. While it has historical explanation (indication of belonging to the world of crime), this stereotype is surviving despite the fact that more and more young people decide to ink their bodies.
Of course I am not preaching ‘everyone go get a tattoo’, because the body’s yours and you do with it what you think will make you happy. There are so many things we cannot control in our lives, at least decisions about our bodies could be in our competence. I wish there would be less radical judgement of people with tattoos, there would be no necessity to start dissing people with tattoos as soon as the topic somehow feels close (as if someone is trying to distance themselves from tattooed people, when in reality they own one or two and feel ashamed and regretful about once making this decision). If people wouldn’t play God judging what another person decides to do with their body, wouldn’t the world be a little closer to a more peaceful state?
In the end, if someone is a jerk, it doesn’t matter where they are from or what gender they are, or if they have a tattoo or no. Jerks will be jerks, and judging book by its cover has never done anyone any good.