Monday, June 19, 2006

Tattoos in the workplace

Thanks to Red and Wrinkled Weasel for alerting me to this news story at the BBC about one Rebecca Holdcroft.

This sort of thing really annoys me. Really, can anyone explain and/or justify why a person who does not have to interact with the general public at all should not be able to wear, for example, a strappy top in hot weather?

I don't know this woman, but it seems that her employers' only beef with her is that she has tattoos. We can assume with some certainty, therefore, that she is capable of doing her job. If she weren't, she would surely not have said job any longer. But she has pretty extensive tattoo coverage, it seems, and that is clearly upsetting for some people of a sensitive disposition.

She's not got racist tattoos. Or sexist tattoos. Seemingly the subjects of her ink are not, in and of themselves, offensive. It's just that she has them at all and they are on display. Other employers have small tattoos -- undoubtedly bog-standard designs that are barely the size of my left bollock and cost about £20 ($37) -- and these are permitted. But she, who has spent thousands of pounds on getting good artists to do good work, must cover up.

Judging by the comments at the bottom of the BBC article, I, along with "victim" Rebecca, am in a minority in thinking this is an injustice. Well, isn't it? The only people who see her tattoos during the working day are her co-workers, managers, etc. All of whom know she has them. So what the fuck does it matter?! One London-based commenter says: "I think it looks vulgar, and would refuse to sit next her if she was an office colleague." This is a great attitude to have about someone just because their skin is a different colour to your own, isn't it? It really lets you feel the love in our own capital, which is supposedly a cosmopolitan melting pot. Get over your fucking self, you twat.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Society generally views tatoos as taboo still or degenerate. Businesses appeal to the stupidy of culture and thus have the same views. if you can't hide them you can't have them at most businesses... and hey, that is their perogative.

Personally I could care less whether you have ink or not, just know how to do your job and be good at it.

19 June, 2006 16:32  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Thanks for your comment, FAA. Yes, it's the employer's prerogative, but what's the big deal? It's 2006, and this girl has no dealings with the general public in person.

If there is a dress code, then there's a dress code, and it should be the same dress code for all. But why should she be exempt from said dress code just because of her tattoos? Should a woman with a false leg be disallowed from wearing a skirt because, well, it's not very attractive is it...?

As for your last sentence: exactly!

19 June, 2006 16:38  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

I was just saddened that most work places are so conservative, so fucking boring and so ultimately depressing that the sight of somebody with a bit of personality is intimidating and offensive.

I think she looks wonderful, but I guess I don't pay her wages.

She will, I am afraid, have to suffer the consequences of trying to assert her own personality.

It's a bummer.

19 June, 2006 18:30  
Blogger tideliar said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have to keep my ink covered up because its seen as unprofessional. I'm expanding a couple of my tats and I have to make sure they don't show either on my neck or below my T-shirt sleeve. My personal take on this is "bollocks to you mate", though. At least one will be visible on my left arm when complete and I'm wearing a T-shirt. Then again, I have a little more leeway. Facial piercings though...right out.

It is depserately unfair. If she had some job where she leazed (sp) with the public that would be one thing, but a fucking office job?!@

Fuck the man.

19 June, 2006 21:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she looks great! Wonderful tats (no smutty jokes). Work sucks the life out of us, shortening our life span and keeping us tired all the sodding time. She (to me at least) represents something other than the slavery we willingly sell our selves into.

19 June, 2006 22:59  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

This is sad. No wonder I choose to be self employed. As a woman with both arms covered in ink to the elbows, I have yet to encounter negativity directly to my face concerning my tats. In most cases, people stop me on the street and ask to see more of them, want to touch them (yikes!) and ask me why I don't show them more often. Rarely, do I leave my house in a tank top. I don't blantently advertise that I have them. Why? Because they are mine. I didn't tattoo myself for anyone other than me. If people happen to notice them, well, that's okay too (just don't touch them!). I will say that I originally intended to only go to my elbows. Now that I am there, it saddened me to think that I was done with the tattoos...I have a few more pieces I would like to include. I have made the desision to go past my elbows to my wrists, but only on the inside of each arm. Only the insides, because the outer portion of my arms get too much sun exposure and I refuse to waste the art to the sun. All and all, I could care less what anyone really thinks of me having tattoos. Why should I?

ps. I am so glad you have returned. Missed you plenty...

20 June, 2006 00:56  
Blogger the cappuccino kid said...

body fascism. simple as that. if someone in her office has a bad hair do must they wear a bag?
she is damn hot, and it stinks. i am knackered, sorry for the grammar!

20 June, 2006 08:36  
Blogger Melanie said...

In Seattle, tattoos are pretty much the norm, so this lady wouldn't have a problem in a job here. If the general public doesn't see her, there is no direct, negative impact on the business, and her work productivity is great, then what's the problem? Some prudish commenter may not want to sit by her, but a lot of other people would welcome the opportunity to get a closer look at her ink work. I know I would.

20 June, 2006 08:41  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Hi Melanie, and welcome. And thanks to all of you for your comments on this.

I was lucky when I worked for The Man that I had no grief about having my tatts out cos everyone knew I could do my job. And that's the way it should be. Now, like Camie, I'm self-employed. This has led to me getting tattoos below my elbow. I could have done so before, I suppose, but just didn't.

In an ironic twist, I feel a greater need to cover up now on the rare occasions that I go to meetings and the like. I have to present a "more professional" facade in order to secure work. Not everyone is as open-minded as us lot... Shame, but a fact of life.

20 June, 2006 09:13  
Blogger a.c.t said...

Whilst I love tattoos and believe that people have the right to do what they want (within reason) to their own body, there's nothing wrong with a company having a policy on this. Say for example, you're a lawyer and you have to meet clients, of course you should have to cover up and create a professional image (sadly people still see people with tattoos as offensive). But on the other hand, if you're in an office and you don't have to meet anybody then I don't see what's wrong with it. The thing that is ridiculous about this girl's situation is the fact that her tats were visible in the interview. The fact that they employed her implies that they think she is capable to do the job. As for that prick who thinks they are vulgar and wouldn't sit next to her. What if someone refused to sit next to him cos he's too ugly. That wouldn't be acceptable. Same thing surely?

20 June, 2006 11:33  
Blogger The Wanted Man said...

From that pic she looks awesome. I don't get that shit about not sitting next to her. With that shit attitude I wouldn't want to sit next to him.

21 June, 2006 11:31  
Blogger Cynnie said...

I got my first tat when I was 17..thats almost 30 years ago..I was even fired from one job, cause "ladies don't have tattoos"

21 June, 2006 14:12  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

I have one tattoo. Wanted more but never got around to it. A manager once said "Cover that up, it's ugly" so I put a carrier bag over his face.

21 June, 2006 17:36  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

ACT: Exactly. By all means have a dress code. But be real. No mingling with public; surely no real problem. It's not like this girl's wearing something outlandish...

TWM: Agreed.

Cyn: "Ladies don't have tattoos." That's gold, Cynnie.

4D: Just the one, eh? But quite right: if we were to cover what other people thought were ugly, there'd be a hell of a lot of stuff getting covered up. Plenty work for Christo for years, you might say.

21 June, 2006 17:50  
Blogger Cerella said...

People are just ignorant and intolerant.
I think that she looks awesome!
I'd sit next to her at work! :)

25 June, 2006 05:55  
Blogger Tanya said...

My friend Ralphie reckons tattoos are great bullshit filters. And honestly, she's cute and she has beautiful artwork on her body. I would be sacked for staring at her all day - in a good way.

20 July, 2006 17:21  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Damn right, Tanya. What is up with people?

21 July, 2006 16:30  

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