Column: Tattoos are not unprofessional

Hope Leinen, Staff Writer

The United States, much like other countries, has a stigma surrounding tattoos. They are oftentimes seen as taboo and improper in the workplace. It’s recommended that you make sure your tattoos can be covered, or that you cover them for interviews. 

While the United States is not the worst when it comes to this, it’s still highly stigmatized in the workplace.  

I’ve found that people don’t really have an argument beyond that it looks “unprofessional.” I could argue, though, that covering up one’s tattoos could be seen as untrustworthy, and just as unprofessional. 

Isn’t the idea of telling someone to cover up their ink a means to deceive and alter the perception of that person? Isn’t the idea of “covering up” more distasteful than letting them be seen? 

Tattoos, much like any other art, are a form of expression, a way to carry a statement with them forever. While not everyone gets ink for a specific reason, it can universally be deduced that they’re a form of expression, be it meaningful or not. 

I’ve never understood why tattoos have become so stigmatized in today’s culture. If anything, I think they provide an insight as to who an individual is and what they may value. I also don’t believe that tattoos make any individual less intelligent than another. 

There has always been this idea that tattoos and intelligence are mutually exclusive; however, that has never made any sense to me. How can something I decide to put on my body be linked to a measure of intelligence? 

However, it’s such a prominent point made by teachers, professors and parents. In school, you’re always told exactly what looks “professional” depending on what you plan on going into. If you have a tattoo and it’s visible, you’ll often hear that they hope you plan on covering it up for any job interviews you have in the future. This can also be said about relatives and parents. 

I am not saying that people should show up in tank tops and spaghetti straps to work. What I am saying is that people shouldn’t have to wear long sleeves when it is 70 degrees outside just so they can cover up their tattoos. 

As someone with tattoos, I personally have chosen to get them in locations where they can be easily concealed. That was a conscious decision I made in considering the different career paths I may pursue later in life. However, shouldn’t I have just been able to get them without considering this? 

While you have the right to decide whether or not you get tattoos, you are also subconsciously restricted by the societal ethics designed by the masses. 

I think it’s time to destigmatize tattoos and the notion that it makes you any less capable of doing your job. 

Not only this, but they could also symbolize a place of financial stability. Tattoos take money and planning. People will often put away money and save up for tattoos, which shows a responsibility in financial delegation. 

Tattoos are a part of life. They are a form of art. You wouldn’t tell the Louvre to hide their most popular pieces, so why ask an individual to cover their most prized possessions?