Negative Views of Piercings and Tattoos Should Be Re-examined


By Alisa Patience

For years tattoos and piercings have been stereotyped as negative and as a sign of a criminal personality. There are several TV shows about tattoo art, and according to most surveys, just thirty percent of adult Americans have one or more tattoos. Villains in television and movies are often seen with excessive piercings or tattoos and it’s fairly common for those who have visible tattoos or piercings to have a harder time getting a job than those who don’t, even if they’re more qualified. According to an article from the Huffington Post, hiring managers feel that hiring people with visible tattoos will make them unappealing to customers and customers prefer staff to not be tattooed.

It’s not at all uncommon for an establishment to have a dress code, but there aren’t any laws that protect someone from not getting discriminated against in the workplace. Job applications often make some restrictive distinction along the lines of “may not have any visible tattoos or piercings.” Some jobs, like employment at Zaxbies, a fast food restaurant, don’t even allow unnatural hair coloring. Some police departments don’t allow their officers to have tattoos visible when wearing a uniform.

When doing research for this article, I found that some students think it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to not be hired due to tattoos or piercings because it’s something that they chose. “Wouldn’t you be uncomfortable if your doctor had tattoos all over his face?” As a matter of fact, no. I’d say “Sick ink bro,” because a person’s physical appearance has nothing to do with their ability to practice medicine. Getting a piercing doesn’t take away your MD. Other students found that it was strange for someone to be discriminated against because of those things.

There’s a post going around the internet explaining how body piercings and tattoos act as correspondences to Satan. Seriously. Here’s what the post says: “nose piercings mean the person receives instructions from Satan. Eyebrow piercings show a person is ready to kill. Gages are used to hide marijuana. A tongue piercing means someone can sing to Satan. And a piercing on your genitalia means you enjoy having sex”. If you don’t believe me, look up “Satan exposed in popular culture.”

These crazy beliefs are encouraged by movies and shows like “The Craft,” where the antagonist has piercings and worships Satan, “Elektra” where one of the bad guys have tattoos that come to life, and “Prison Break” where the main character has tattoos of demons all over his body to cover up the tattoos of the prison map. Other villains that cater to this idea that people with marked faces are evil are Darth Maul from “The Phantom Menace” and El Diablo from “Suicide Squad.” Even the thugs in Spongebob are drawn with tattoos. There are innumerable examples linking tattoos to bad moral conduct, though no correlation exists in real life between tattoos and bad behavior.

We don’t need tattoos to let us know someone is a villain. We can see that in their actions.

Back in high school several of my friends who had nose piercings talked occasionally about how hard it was for them to find a job to start saving for college. Even though very few people in government or office jobs actually have visible tattoos, according to, the actual views of hiring managers regarding tattoos seems to be changing. Hopefully, within a few years, no one’s body expressions will keep them from getting well-paying jobs or decent representation in the media.

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