July 13, 2024

By Bradley Zorgdrager

The mainstream acceptance of tattoos and other body modifications is not at an acceptable level. Sure, many employers would feign acceptance, but when push comes to shove – as it often does in today’s competitive job market – it seems they’d hire a “clean” individual to protect their image over a tattooed one who could improve their productivity.

That the objection is made by many individuals who would claim acceptance of others’ beliefs and choices is even more disturbing. Though religious freedom – a personal choice as opposed to a predetermined genetic trait such as race or gender – is protected in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, personal expression through tattoos is not.

The days of tattoos being exclusive to sailors and criminals are long over. The slick imagery and suburban locale of many tattoo shops is the perfect comparison to the art form’s overall move from underground criminals to everyday Joes.

So why does the world at large refuse to budge on their collective consciousness on this unique and indelible art form?

Simply put, the answer is fear – fear of change.

Though the logical reasons have long since been abolished, employment of a visibly tattooed individual (in a visible position) remains an anomaly.

As the old adage goes, one should be innocent until proven guilty, but when it comes to being tattooed, it seems the inverse is true – you’re guilty until proven innocent.

The world needs an open-minded and courageous company, led by a like-minded individual, to open their doors to modified individuals, in order to prove their “innocence” or more appropriately, ability.

Tattooed individuals are no less capable than their virgin-skinned counterparts. Personally, I find many of the heavily tattooed individuals I know to be more intelligent and accepting than others.

As the workforce is replaced by younger individuals who didn’t grow up during a time of hostility toward tattoos, hopefully they are more accepted, though a quicker change would be ideal.

Though gradually fading, as tattoos do, the stigma associated with the art form is still present, and that needs to change.