She Said, He Said: Tattoos

The following is the 1st entry in a new season of “She Said, He Said,” a series of articles seeking to compare and contrast the various views, political, social or otherwise, of Millennials in today’s world. Elizabeth Lane is a 2016 Carson-Newman University graduate with a BA in Creative Writing, and has worked at the Jefferson County Post as a journalist and feature writer since shortly before her graduation. Jake Depew is a 2014 Carson-Newman University graduate with a BS in Philosophy. He is the assistant editor and a columnist for the Jefferson County Post, and is the Editor for the Gatlinburg Daily Post.

This article’s question: “With the rising popularity of tattoos, are highly visible tattoos acceptable, or should they negatively impact a person’s employment opportunities?”

Elizabeth Lane

Elizabeth Lane

She Said…

Younger generations have always found ways and made decisions that go in accordance to their need to rebel. For some generations it was the music that they listened to or the way that they wore their hair or clothes. Some of these rebellious actions came in and out like fads, and others crept in and found their way to normalcy. One such decision that has found itself to be a serious topic of debate and conversation lately is that of tattoos.

I would like to say before I begin that I do not have a problem with tattoos or people who decide that they like and want to get tattoos. Personally, that is not the choice that I have made for myself. Neither of my parents made that decision, either. I will say that people of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations seem to cringe when people mention getting tattoos, which is probably why their children and people of my own generation are so willing to line up and pay to get them.

For some people the idea of getting a tattoo is not out of rebellion or disobedience. Some people get tattoos to honor those that have passed and meant a lot to them. This is completely understandable if they choose to honor their loved ones in this way. It’s the people that decide to get tattoos of things on their face or right across their chest that might have a harder time gaining acceptance from other people. And maybe that’s just it, I don’t really think people getting tattoos are looking for acceptance from other people.

Either way, once you get a tattoo, it’s there forever: a simple and undeniable fact, I know. It has been mentioned that this permanence might come back and bite the tattoo-getter. It seems that people of older generations are less likely to hire those people who have undeniably visible tattoos. The argument has been brought up that it makes those people seem less qualified and professional.

Here is where I would have to say that I disagree. Just because a person has a visible tattoo where everyone can see does not make them any less qualified than a non-tattooed person. Everyone makes mistakes, and even if that person embraces their tattoos it doesn’t mean that they are any less. It all goes back to taking the time to look at the person for what they truly are, and not what is presented from the outside.

If we were only going to hire non-tattooed people, they might be in short supply in the coming years. Tattoos are becoming more and more socially acceptable. This is just a change in values in the generation coming up, not that that generation, by any means, is flawless and is going to make the right decisions all the time. Still, they will take their own experiences and shape their own world. That world might look and seem different than the world before them or the world after them. Either way, we should take the time to find the most qualified in whatever job field there might be and put the best people there for success, regardless of what they look like on the outside.

Jake Depew

Jake Depew

He Said…

Let’s start off with the obvious: tattoos are becoming increasingly socially acceptable. What was once reserved for military servicemen and gang members has been adopted by every 5′ 6″ brunette holding a white chocolate raspberry frappe. With this newfound popularity, tattoos have become something of a talking point with older generations, especially in regards to prospective employees. So, what’s the deal with tattoos?

Honestly, I love tattoos, assuming they aren’t trashy or poorly drawn. Trashy includes, “on the face,” and, “random pop culture references.” Otherwise, I think tattoos can be impressive mediums of expression, or, at the least, just look cool. I’ve never gotten a tattoo, and I can’t really think of anything I love so much as to permanently put it on my body. Socially, I don’t really have the problem with the rise in popularity, and I really can’t understand what is causing all the fuss.

Now, in regards to hiring, I am all for discriminating against stupid tattoos. People, especially my generation, have this annoying hangup with “judging” people, particularly about their outward presentation. Well, the sad truth is that readily visible tattoos are an indicator of poor decision making skills. While there logically isn’t a direct corrolation between physical presentation and job qualification, the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to trust my financial security and public image to a guy with a Mike Tyson who goes by the name, “Snakes.” If he got the tattoo removed, sure, that would be a sign of taking responsibility and learning from past endeavors. In the meantime, James may want to get his name legally changed back to normal and fill out some more applications.

Maybe buy a polo shirt.

My opinion on tattoos is fairly straightforward, really. If they’re visually pleasing and tastefully placed, awesome! If not, you may want to get that fixed. But, mostly, don’t try and make me feel bad for your poor decisions. Fix the mistake and move on. We often hear, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Well, that’s a nice sentiment, but sometimes the cover says things like, “co-authored the Anarchist’s Cookbook,” or, “names his switchblades after the days of the week.” I read a lot of books, and you’re right, you *can’t* always judge a book by it’s cover… usually. What I don’t do is overly risky gambling. I’ll leave that to Snakes.

Source: Elizabeth Lane, Jefferson County Post Staff Writer; Jake Depew, Assistant Editor