Kelly Kehoe of Petaluma High School

By KELLY KEHOE
PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL, 17

Today’s younger generation is interested in a new form of expression: Tattoos and body piercing. Instead of a new hair cut or color, or maybe even a new pair of shoes or a new shirt, younger people like to get a new tattoo or a new piercing.
I myself enjoy piercings and tattoos; it is a great way to express oneself in a specific way and to make your self-image more individual. People also use tattoos and piercings, but mostly tattoos, to remember someone or something in their lives. Tattoos for family, friends or a special event are common to keep sentimental memories. Because tattoos and piercings are a form of expression, then why do so many people have a problem with them? The most evident example of unacceptance of tattoos and piercing emerges is in the workplace.
Anytime I go for a job interview or go to try and apply for a job, my mom always says, cover your ears. I have piercings and gauges on my ears. She herself does not have a problem with piercings or tattoos, but many employers do. Whenever I talk to my mother about tattoos I want to get in the future, she always tells me to get them in places where I can cover them easily. The point of a tattoo is to show others the meaning of your tattoo choice. Why would you want to conceal them?
As I was discussing this with my mother, I came upon the conclusion that tattoos and piercings will only be accepted when the younger generation replaces the older generation in the higher-up positions of the workplace. This will not occur for many years, but I still have hope that one day it will be accepted. It is a hard fact, but the truth is that people who have tattoos and piercings that are seen to the naked eye have a harder time being employed.
What upsets me is that employers accept people for birth marks, disabilities, race and sexual orientation but not for piercings and tattoos? But why should employers accept all of these aspects of a person but not piercings or tattoos? Although tattoos and piercings are by choice, they still should be accepted in the workplace. The major reason why people do not hire people with alternative body art is because they find it distasteful or it looks unprofessional.
I could understand how people could see tattoos as unprofessional because it causes a distraction, but other things cause distractions, too. Not necessarily traits that a person is born with but also the color or cut that a person does to their hair or the way they dress. All of these are accepted in the workplace but yet tattoos and piercings are not. It may be because this trend has not quite been accepted by the older generation, or maybe it won’t be at all. Just because a person has tattoos and/or piercings does not mean they should be judged by their character. Everyone should be accepted for their personal decorative choices.