When I went for a job interview last month at a jewelry store, I was in for a shock: The hiring manager told me that not only would I have to cover up my tattoos — all five of them — but I couldn’t even mention their existence to my future co-workers.
I was confused. Tattoos are works of art. Why would I feel the need to hide them?
According to Tattoos in the Workplace Statistics, approximately 40 per cent of Canadians in the workplace, a lot of whom are young adults, have been under the needle at least once.
Consider how much exposure they’ve achieved. Many celebrities have promoted tattoo culture by getting inked. Prime examples include singers and actresses such as Rihanna, Drake, Cara Delevingne, Scarlett Johansson, and Beyonce. Among their distinctive tattoos are, respectively, the Goddess Isis (chest), a flower and bee (right shoulder), a lion (finger), a sunrise (left arm), and an angel (left hip).
Today, the tattoo industry is worth more than $50 billion, according to a recent article in Business Insider. Tattoo culture has become so mainstream that tattoo artists have become celebrities just by tattooing celebrities. For example, Kat Von D tattooed Beyonce; Nikko Hurtado tattooed Drake; and Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy tattooed both Justin Bieber and Rihanna.
Combine that with the power of the internet, and you have an instant platform for tattoo artists to expose their work. No wonder the term “tattoo” has been the most searched beauty term since 2003, according to online resource The Vanishing Tattoo.
Such broad acceptance has made the tattoo less a rebellious object of disapproval than a mainstream act of creativity. Which makes it all the more puzzling that the stigma around tattoos in the workplace lives on.