Things certainly have taken a broad leap forward. It used to be that tattoos were vexed, a mark of sin placed on rugged outlaws, profanity-ridden sailors, and jailhouse dogs Tattoo shop in London . Now though, it is hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one tattoo. These permanent forms of self-expression are widely sought after by people of all walks of life, the young and old alike. However, tattoos are a choice, and they end up on the skin somehow. The safest and, obviously, the most contemporary tattoo application technique is notably the tattoo gun. However, the tattoo gun, while widely used, is not the only tool utilized to lay ink into the skin.
Tattoos have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Although, you can imagine that the extremely sharp, sterilized tattoo needles were not in existence then. Instead, if someone wanted a tattoo, he or she had to undergo a more crude and primitive process. Typically, the first tattoos were applied meticulously with anything that could be fashioned into a point. This could range anywhere from a simple stick sharpened to a point, to bits of turtle shell, to the bone of an animal taken for food. While these methods were not as sanitary as the modern methods utilized today, tattoos performed this way was a rite of passage, an entryway to manhood for some cultures. Still today, some tribes and cultures still practice primitive, often painstaking methods of tattooing.
The “jailhouse” tattoo has been and still is a prevalent method of tattooing for, not only incarcerated persons, but for younger kids not yet old enough to acquire a tattoo legally. A jailhouse tattoo, essentially, is just a homemade tattoo. This method originated in prisons and penitentiaries around the world due to the demand by inmates for tattoos, coupled with the lack of proper equipment. Just as with primitive tattoos, jailhouse tattooing methods were similar in regards to the diversity of the tools used. Common tools used in conjunction with this method are guitar strings, nails, sewing needles, electric toothbrushes, pens, and batteries.
Now, the most recent method of obtaining a tattoo, the tattoo gun. While there are several different types of tattoo guns, they all follow the same general concept. The “Shader” and “Liner” style guns are the two most popular types of guns among tattoo artist and advocates alike. Just like its name suggests, the liner-style gun is used to create the outline of the tattoo, the first initial “lines. ” Once a healthy foundation is laid, the shader-style gun is used to “shade” the tattoo according to the desires of the person receiving the tattoo. Skilled artists are now able to add realistic texture, depth, and even three-dimensional effect with a combination of lines and shading. Despite all these statistics, tattoos are still not commonly accepted in the workplace. Quite a few employers do not permit visible tattoos. This means that millions of people all over the world make an effort to conceal their body art on a daily basis. Employees working in such fields as health care, shipping, banking, retail and the service sector often have to maintain two personas in order to keep their jobs. One persona represents the professional image they must project and the other persona represents who they really are.
A double identity wouldn’t be necessary if tattoos were not prohibited in many corporate and institutional environments. Respected brands such as Starbucks, Office Depot, Panera Bread, The body Shop and AMC Theatres all enforce a no visible tattoo policy in the workplace. Freedom of expression is protected in the us by the First Amendment but this does not apply in the workplace. According to Burleson Consulting employers have the right to discriminate against what are deemed “optional” appearance traits. However, not all major employers restrict or ban tattoos in the workplace. Ford Motor Company, Boeing, Subway and Wal-Mart all allow employees to display “non-offensive” tattoos while at work. This does allow for some interpretation as to exactly what a “non-offensive” tattoo is.
While the overall trend may be shifting towards more relaxed tattoo policies, there are still pockets of conservatism that crop-up from time to time. Sky News reports that a large number of restaurants and hotels in Sydney, Australia are now banning patrons with tattoos. All visible body art is to be covered at all times in many popular Sydney restaurants and watering holes. One restaurant owner is even quoted as saying that the policy is designed to “keep out the common riffraff. ”
Entire industries have come into existence because of the prejudice associated with tattoos. Tattoo cover-up sleeves, concealer makeup, skin toned body tape and laser tattoo removal are all businesses based on the need to cover or get rid of tattoos. Laser removal has a reputation for being expensive and painful. It can take up to ten treatments to remove darker tattoos with lasers.
It is estimated that over 100 million people worldwide have one or more tattoos. Much of the prejudice associated with tattoos comes from a lack of understanding. Most people with body art are simply expressing themselves. The tattoo industry also employs some of the most talented artists working today and their canvas is the human body. As long as people judge others by their appearance there will be a need for some to maintain a double-identity in order to be accepted and function in mainstream society. Only time will tell if tattoos become commonly accepted in the workplace.
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