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Proposal: Creating A Equal Employment Opportunity For Those With Tattoos & Other Forms of Body Art

Tattoos are a form of expression and individuality. People can get tattoos for all sorts of reasons, to have a reminder of a loved one, to celebrate something, to worship something, to show union or a belonging to a group or cause, or for fun or trend. Some people consider them as art, or jokes, or as memories. They can let others know what they have over come, such as cancer, a death of a loved one, or even wars. they can be violently depicted, and have violent meanings like a gang name or sign, or a gory photo of a horror flick. Why should that stand in the way of a job?

The Issue

Problem Defined

The limitations on all professions involving body art, whether enforced by any companies or employers. We are trying to support those with tattoos who are being turned away from jobs that they meet the requirements for. We are also trying to break the tattoo taboo society has created over the many years. 

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The rich do not benefit from tattoos and do not establish wealth. Although it is common to see lower to middle class people to have significantly more tattoos than any one in the upper class. It is more about the background and the experience. So someone who started out as a dishwasher in a ghetto neighborhood can work their way up to CEO of a bank and have many many tattoos, but it is not due to wealth but individual empowerment. 


Info In the U.S. 45 million people or 21% have at least one tattoo. There is no real balance between having and not having tattoos, it is the same as dying hair or putting makeup on. Tattoos are just becoming more of a social norm, just being accepted more. more people are getting tattoos. it's not a grave issue or a problem that needs a balance.


How is this considered fair employment opportunity? Why are companies so worried about body art ruining their image? This would be were individuals tend to group people with graphic body art as gang affiliated and criminals because we do see individuals come out of prison tattooed head to toe. This is such a common stereotype given and obviously big companies do not want the “bad boy/girl” image with their employees interacting with customers and possibly sensitive information they would rather avoid it completely, but this is also not how we should treat everyone with graphic body art!

Auschwitz-Birkenau: The Evolution of Tattooing in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Complex

George Rosenthal (Auschwitz Survivor) - Auschwitz-Birkenau


The tattoos of the survivors have come to symbolize the utter brutality and of the concentration camps and the attempt of the Nazis to dehumanize their victims. The tattoos are also a testament to the resilience of those who bear them. (Rosenthal)

History of Tattoos - Meaning and Origin

History of Tattoos -


Tattooing is an art form and form of body modification where a pigment is inserted into a skin to change its color permanently. It is a very old tradition and today is more popular and socially acceptable than ever (historyoftattoos),

Go deeper
Tattoos and Jobs: Find Out How Tattoos/Piercings Can Limit Your Career

Salary.com - Tattoos Hurt Your Chances of Getting a Job (Invalid date)


Getting tattoos and/or piercings is a personal decision, but you should take future earnings into account when making it. Whether it’s a career-ender or no big deal at all will vary from person to person, and the easiest way to figure it out is a hefty dose of common sense. (salary.com)

History & Origin of Tattoos

Dan Hunter - (October 28, 2019)


Tattoos are an inherent part of some cultures. In the Western world, it has taken time for decorative ink to become socially acceptable. It’s really only in the last fifty years that tattoos have become popular and mainstream. (Hunter)

Support Tattoos And Piercings At Work: "My Body Is Not My Resume"

Stapaw - (January 1, 2012)


Professionalism isn’t based on how you look, it’s based on how you interact and treat others. We believe negative stereotypes and discrimination are dissolved not by words, but by actions, work ethic and character.(STAPAW)


We both are sociology students at Allegany College of Maryland and we both believe that tattoos should not limit our job opportunities.

Emily McKenzie

The Solution

Proposed Actions
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People with body art can and should cover up as much as possible during an interview or meeting with executives, this is a good way to look professional. Makeup surely isn’t just a girl thing when it comes to landing good employment or making a good impression. Body art is just another form of self expression as said before and should not hold anyone back from their goals and what they aspire to be in life. Remember it's your choice if you are going to let your tattoos define you, THINK BEFORE YOU INK.


Companies need to push the initiative to allow individuals to show who they truly are by their personality and work ethic, and that includes tattoos. The more we learn to stop judging and undo these stereotypes. This will help those who actually want body art not be ashamed of wanting them and those that do receive less judgement. If more people in higher up positions showed their tattoos or their support we could open up the jobs to those who need it.


 Laws should also be put into place that do not give companies the choice to turn away qualified workers over body art. If someone can show the experience and a good first impression then who cares if they have body art? Get in touch with your congressman, get them to to create a bill on the equality for tattoos. Set up protests, and support this action whether you have a tattoo or not. 

Expected Results
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When you think about it on the flip side it is understandable why companies care about who they hire and what they have tattooed on their body. We represent who we work for even out of the office or the kitchen we are still the face of a company. There are people being fired everyday by showing ugly characteristics outside of work. I can also understand why we label tattooed people as troubled considering growing up I was even under the impression that rock stars or, gang members usually had sleeves and those type of people usually do bad things. When the clarity that tattoos project no real harm, then people will become more open and accepting as a community. We won’t have to readily assume that that one person is dangerous. We will become more equal and respecting as individuals and businesses.


Tattoos aren't temporary why should your jobs be? A research question asks employers “would a candidate having tattoos affect your decision to hire them?” 13.85% said “yes, they would likely not hire them”, while another 35.08% said “it would depend on the position they’re trying to fill” in its entirety of research 77% of these employers would possibly not hire an individual just because of tattoos(Workopolis).

Lets reverse those numbers, we want results of at least 75% or higher of business accepting those with tattoos. we want combines to accept and show their work force that tattoos are acceptable with moderation. 


We want to see more tattoos in hospitals and schools as well as government facilities. Often it is considered unprofessional to have tattoos, and it can make someone offended. Someone for a gaming company or a coffee shop could work with tattoos. However is unlikely to see a doctor or school teacher with visible tattoos; visibility is key. To a parent someone with tattoos can mean trouble, however the social norms of the soon becoming parents are being more accepting. Schools want parents to feel safe about letting their children learn in their care. Tattoos are just becoming more of a social norm, just being accepted more and it's not a grave issue or a problem that needs a balance.


Educating everyone about the history and use of tattoos would be a good way to end the stigma that individuals with body art are bad people. The more we fight about the judgement that these people face, the more we can prove that this is just another way towards self expression and tattoos are permanent art on the human body that should be appreciated while not being feared. We want to be running petitions for supporting people with tattoos to get jobs. Contact businesses that have no issues with tattoos and help people to get work. Getting the word out is the first step, then diving at the problem by setting up job fairs with no bias companies. we would try to keep everything nonprofit, as to spread awareness and concern.

The Conversation

5 months ago
Everyone eventually learns of the near genocide of the Jews during WWII and the tattoos that branded them for life. A numeric tattoo was branded onto everyone while in concentration camps to identify them from nationality. That tattoo has a dark past, it is a symbol of history, a symbol of survival. I knew a boy who went to my high school, who was seventeen at the time, he and his father both had tattooed on their arm their grandfathers identification number, they did not share the experience but they shared the story and had a close connection. Tattoos carry significance and meaning even if they hold no meaning at all, and they will be created daily on people of all different reasons.

I always look at my wrists and I came to the conclusion long ago I need something happy there. I have had depression and anxiety since childhood and gone through dark paths, so I am a dark individual. I love Halloween and spooky things, tattoos wrap around everything that matters to me. I am getting a small black heart on the side of wrist to the left of the thumb when looking at the palm. My boyfriend used to be a tattoo artist and before he met me he got extremely depressed and tattooed a small black heart on the inside of his leg. It meant how he couldn't find someone and that it was his heart, a small dark part of him no one wanted. I constantly have drawn before I knew him a little black heart on my wrist, and the fact that we both fell deeply in love I wanted to get a permanent heart there for him and us. I am getting a cat skull with cat ears tattoo on my wrist, when looking at the palm with a black cat in a crescent moon above it. I have always loved cats, they are my favorite animal. I have had well over 30 cats over my lifetime, some have passed and live in different homes but I still remember them and have a strong connection with them today. I grew up in a household were tattoos were dirty, evil things that ruined your life and relationships with people, but now I see they are so much more than that.

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