Tattoos as self-expression

Artist Shawn Tronix tattoos a woman's shoulder at The Arthouse Inc Tattoo and Piercing studio in Kensington, Calgary. (Photo by Rebecca Hardcastle)

Artist Shawn Tronix tattoos a woman’s shoulder at The Arthouse Inc Tattoo and Piercing studio in Kensington, Calgary. (Photo by Rebecca Hardcastle)

The current craze for trendy tattoos has caused some to be concerned that people are getting inked impulsively without considering the long-term effects of their decision.

While some people may never change their opinion on their tattoos, potential workplace restrictions on visible tattoos may cause conflict.

Alex Heppner, a legal assistant at a downtown law firm, said that during her practicum it was mandatory to hide all tattoos, as they were seen as inappropriate for the work place.

“I don’t necessarily agree with that policy, but I think in our day and age, there’s still a level of professionalism that is required,” said Heppner.

“I’ve considered getting a tattoo, but I don’t want to lose out on potentially getting a job simply from having a tattoo,” the legal assistant said. “I want to enjoy wearing whatever I want to wear and don’t always have to cover it up.”

Tattoos can be removed or covered over by other tattoos; however, those options can be costly, time-consuming and painful.

According to Tori Antolovich, an associate at Tribal Expression that works with tattoo removals, the tattoos that young people consider to be trendy these days will likely phase out within the next few years.

“Even though it’s mostly older clientele who are coming in for tattoo removals, we’re seeing that it’s the trendy tattoos, such as barbed wire armbands that they don’t want anymore,” said Antolovich.

Tattoo Removal Canada recommends that tattooees wait a minimum of six weeks before getting a tattoo removed.

“We are already getting a lot of young people coming in to have their tattoos removed after getting one and realizing a week later that it’s not for them.”

Michael Fong, a graduate from the Hospitality Management Program at SAIT, said while some people are shortsighted when getting tattoos, most are not oblivious to the lasting effects of their decisions.

“I feel that societal stigma towards body modification has reduced significantly, but to say it has completely vanished would be naïve,” said Fong, who has never had issues at work regarding his own tattoo.

“Employers at a certain level of industry should put value more on the merit of the individual, rather than the appearances they portray,” Fong said.

According to a 2014 post written on the Law of Work website by Dr. Doorey, employers can discriminate on the basis of appearance, with the exception that dress codes must be reasonable and must not violate human rights statutes.



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