I was recently looking through some articles for some inspiration to write, and came across an article about tattoos and piercings in the workplace. This has long been a controversial topic, and here's why.
People assume that just because you have tattoos and piercings, it means you don't care about your job, yourself, or really anyone else. While that may be the case for some, that is not the case for all.
It was interesting, because the article I read was written by someone with tattoos (who does, indeed, cover them up at work), but when they described people to compare someone without them versus someone with them, they made the person with tattoos and piercings sound stereotypical, and much unlike themselves, according to the way they described themselves in the article.
So, I'm here to challenge that. I have piercings, so in this case, I will describe how I go to my interviews, versus someone without.
I walk in, wearing a nice blouse, a black pair of dress pants, no jewelry aside from my plugs, (which look like earrings), nose stud, lip ring, and tongue ring, my natural color blending in with my bleached hair in a nice, tight bun, a pair of black heels, my nails short and neat, and a black handbag to match. I pay immaculate attention to the person speaking to me, respond to all questions/comments/conversation accordingly with confidence.
Someone else also being interviewed walks in with just about the same apparel, but without the dyed hair and piercings. I don't know how their interview went, but they definitely look the part.
What matters more, the fact that I have piercings and dyed hair, or how my interview actually went, and my qualifications for the job?
Who is to say that the person who walked in without the piercings and dyed hair is even qualified at all? What if their interview didn't even go well? Does that mean they should hire them over me, just because I have piercings and dyed hair and they don't?
I do agree that professionalism in the work place IS important, and that you should ALWAYS dress nice for an interview. However, you spend most of your day sleeping and working. Being able to express yourself is important, but when you have to act professionally, that's unrealistic during the work day, so the closest you're going to get is expressing yourself with your body.
I don't know about you, but I don't wear makeup. My piercings are my make-up, which those of you who do wear makeup should be able to understand to an extent. Makeup is typically how a lot of people, men and women alike, express themselves, but it just isn't my thing. If you can't have tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair, then you shouldn't be able to have makeup, either. They are literally the same thing and serve the same purpose, just in a different form.
Tattoos and piercings aren't just for expressing yourself, either. They are used to cover up flaws and blemishes, just like makeup. My nose ring covers up a scar on my nose that I got when I was a child from an abusive person in my life. When I wear my nose stud, my lip ring is used to distract the attention from that scar, because it is more visible without a nose ring.
I don't have tattoos yet, but my most intricate tattoo that I have decided on is designed to cover scars that I would, and already have, gotten more judgement for than if it were covered up with a tattoo.
So, as you can see, tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair are a way to express yourself, and also cover up or distract blemishes with something that you feel is more beautiful and makes you feel, well, more like you, just like make-up. It does not change your intelligence, who you are as a person, your qualifications for a job, your behavior, or your attention span, which is why I think these things should be allowed and supported in the workplace.