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Tattoos for All

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Tattoos for All
Americans are always encouraged to support and enjoy art. We are taught to appreciate paintings and listen to different genres of music from a young age. We are told that being different is okay. Creativity and self-expression are constantly being encouraged. Then why are we so judgmental of body art?
Many people choose to cover their bodies with tattoos and piercings. In fact one out of five adults in the United States, according to Harris Interactive, one of the world's leading market research firms, has a tattoo and many people judge them for it (Stevens). Just because someone has a tattoo does not mean they are in a gang or are violent, and it does not mean that they are not as capable or achieving as someone without a tattoo. Tattoos are not character traits. People with tattoos may not be considered for certain jobs, just because of the choices they make on their own bodies; and they may be falsely accused or judged.
Some people in older generations cannot accept tattoos as well as younger generations. In June 2012, a survey by Captivate, a digital media firm, found that different age groups have different opinions and views on tattoos. Participants in the survey over the age of fifty often were more likely to find tattoos distracting than those in the thirty five to forty nine age range (Stevens). While age is just a number, and it is okay for views to vary; many of the high ranking employers who hire are in this age range, which can give a tattooed person an unfair chance. While, granted, it would not be the best idea to show off every tattoo you may have in an interview; tattoos are permanent and cannot be hidden forever. They will always be there.
Tattoos also can take away job opportunities. A survey in 2011 that focused on human resource managers, by CareerBuilder,an interview advice website, still named tattoos as the third most common physical trait that could stop an employee from being promoted (Stevens). Also, Houston-based attorney, David Barron, found that employers have the legal right to create workplace policies that ban tattoos, or even discriminate employees with tattoos (Stevens). While the boss is in charge for a reason, their opinions should be based on work ethic, not body art. Conduct should count more than appearance. That is just like judging someone based on their hair, or their clothing. A tattoo should not be the deciding factor for a job, but it often is.
I am not someone who plans on going out on my eighteenth birthday and coming home with twenty tattoos. It’s not who I am. But I don’t think that a single meaningful tattoo should be discriminated against. If the tattoo is in any way, shape or form offensive, I completely get it. I do not think that judging someone on an offensive tattoo is wrong. Some things are not meant to get tattooed on. But a single rose tattoo because it was someone’s late mother’s favorite flower? I see nothing wrong with that. I see nothing wrong with a quote inked onto someone if they have a connection to it; or they simply enjoy it. A matching tattoo with your best friend? Again nothing wrong. Getting a tattoo is not like committing a crime, and is not a big deal in reality. Tattoos will not and cannot change a person’s character. In my mind getting a tattoo is a personal decision, and I should have no say in it, and no judgment. Some individuals want their interests to be on display to the world; that is their decision to make.
Walking down the street, you can see people with body art getting sideways glances from complete strangers. That is not fair to someone who finds body art a way to express themselves. They are automatically labeled as a “freak”, or someone to be avoided. Someone with a tattoo can still be a good person. They can lead successful lives and have a family. People without tattoos can be violent or bad; body art is not a personality trait. People should be solely judged on their character, not their outwards appearance.
We often can accept people’s religion and their personal views. Living in America, we have the freedom to express ourselves. And tattoos are a form of expression. Just as we are told to appreciate inventors and artists, we should respect the people around us; tattooed or not. So all I’m asking is that we can look at tattoos as self-expression, not as a label. So can the diverse country of the United States of America start to accept tattoos? I think that if we can open our minds, we can.




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