To Ink Or Not To Ink- The Perception of Tattoos


Vincent Shockley

This is an image of our very own Principal Capitano showing off his tattoos!

Vincent Shockley, Reporter

In history, tattoos were commonly seen as a warrior’s mark and something that the general public wouldn’t receive. TImes have obviously changed and tattoos are much more common and easier to receive, so why is there stigma and a tie to unprofessionalism with tattoos? This is a question that many would like to know. 

In an office job, or any professional setting for that matter, tattoos are frowned upon and are in some cases the reason people miss out on a job opportunity, or even lose their current job. The article “‘I lost a job because of my tattoos’ – BBC News”  gives the stories of multiple people who have the same cliche story of losing their job as well as being shamed for their own personal decisions. Whilst going over the story of Karla Valentine, Karla states that “I was good at my job and the children seemed to like talking about my tattoos. I did start a bit of a campaign but I didn’t want to work in an environment that said “because I have tattoos and a piercing I cannot do the job.” Just a little after a week later, Karla resigned willingly but only due to how toxic her work environment was with people talking behind her back about her “unprofessionalism”. The main concern of those who opposed her tattoos stated that “visible tattoos and facial piercings were not setting a good example”. Despite the children finding great joy and interest in their teachers’ tattoos. Another example is Adam Williiams who “had an employer hang up the phone on me when they found out I had tattoos.”  Different stories but the same result: unemployment. Many others have gone through similar experiences although they had not been covered by a large media corporation such as BBC. 

So the question is, why?

Tattoos have been around for thousands of years, and as technology continues to advance, proof of tattoos from even older times are being discovered. According to Tattoos | History | Smithsonian Magazine: after the discovery of the Iceman in the Italian-Austrian area with tattoos, the estimated date of the first tattooed cultures have gone back to over 5,000 years. It is even said that the tattoos the Icemen received were in points of stress and were used as a method of therapy. If tattoos were accepted thousand of years B.C.E. then why are they viewed poorly in the modern day? Even in ancient Egyptian history, they were used in mostly tasteful ways. As said in the article, “During pregnancy, this specific pattern would expand in a protective fashion in the same way bead nets were placed over wrapped mummies to protect them” The tattoos were used as a form of ‘protection’ over the babies in the womb which has no sign of vulgarity or unprofessionalism. 

Although, in recent history tattoos have had a bad reputation, younger generations are changing their perception. As younger generations grow into places of power, it is becoming more and more acceptable to have tattoos. According to Tattooed psychologists seen as more ‘confident, empathetic’: USask study |  ‘“Tattoos often are an indication of you know personal struggle or triumph that this person has decided to represent on their body,” said Gardiner. This, for mostly younger people, is a comforting sign and shows a person’s vulnerability. On the other hand, a majority of those in older generations find it unnerving and unprofessional for someone to have tattoos. 

There are still negative connotations in relation to tattoos due to great tragedies. During World War II, the Nazi’s would place Jewish people into concentration camps and would be assigned a serial number by tattooing it on them. These numbers have followed Holocaust surviors their entire lives reminding them of the terrible events that they were a part of. At Auschwitz alone, there were over 400,000 serial numbers assigned. 

Stances on tattoos, in some cases, is a regional issue. In Florida, for the most part, tattoos are much more relaxed. Even our own principal has a sleeve of tattoos (as shown in the cover of the article). Principal Capitano said he plans on adding even more tattoos to his sleeve. It is very refreshing to see a figure as important as our own principal with a full sleeve of tattoos. Personally, I have two small tattoos, although none of them are visible in fear of potentially not meeting job requirements later in life. 

Also, there are plenty of influencers and celebrities that have tattoos. For example, the NBA. Almost every player in the NBA has some sort of tattoo and most have plenty of them. On the other hand, if you were to watch golf, you would see very few tattoos. One sport that may not be correlated with tattoos is swimming which is currently being changed. Caeleb Dressel is arguably the best swimmer, as of now, and has one 7 Olympic gold medals. Dressel has tattoos all over his body and is bringing more fun and creativity to the sport. 

In all, tattoos have been villainized in recent years and have been viewed as “unprofessional” by the manythe people. As younger and younger generations begin to take places of power, it should be expected for tattoos to become more and more socially acceptable.