Want to know what I have never fully understood? The disdain with piercings, tattoos, and unnatural colored hair in the workplace. Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that there is a certain social standard of what looks business-professional or not. However, in the world we live in today, where individuality is embraced and social norms are being redesigned, I don’t understand why certain industries still look down upon people who have any of these aesthetic, artistic expressions on their body.
Once again, there are always extreme cases, where certain hair colors, piercings, or tattoos are way too over the top, and wouldn’t really be accepted at all by society in any industry. Those few individuals who have their face completely covered in piercings, have weird demonic-looking implants in their heads, have their entire bodies covered in tattoos, or have hair colors/designs that are a little frightening are the people who would never in a million years be taken seriously in a professional work environment. This I completely understand. Yet, when people who have a few cute tattoos, small piercings here and there, and maybe a beautiful head of blue-streaked hair are looked at as unprofessional and unemployable…Well, my blood starts to boil a bit. Freedom of expression has grown in popularity over the last decade, and trends that were once seen as delinquent are now being showcased in a better light. These ways of artistic expression of the body are seen as a beautiful way to make yourself unique.
I, along with many others out there, do not want to be judged solely on our appearances. Although society is more open today to artistic expression than it has ever been, certain aesthetics are deemed unacceptable in certain careers. For example, if I were to apply for a position as a reporter but had a few blue streaks in my hair, I can almost guarantee you that I would not be hired. I could even have the absolute best credentials, references, and overall experience, but because of my artistic hair style I would be passed over.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a middle ground that needs to be found. I don’t think even I could take a reporter seriously if they had a head of rainbow hair and a big flower tattooed across their forehead. However, if a female reporter had a small nose piercing, or maybe a tattoo of some stars behind her ear then I would definitely still be able to focus on the reason I was watching and listening to her in the first place; to hear the news.
Even though society is moving in the right direction when it comes to accepting those with tattoos, piercings, and colored hair in the professional world, there is still a large presence of discrimination. Upholding a professional image is definitely important in the business world, but society needs to decided where the new boundaries should be set. Reasonable artistic expression of the body shouldn’t be condemned, but embraced. Individuality is power!