While the United States has grown as a country throughout the years, along with it, the idea of discrimination has become less and less tolerable to the typical American. From our very well known reputation of freedom, to the abolishment of slavery and segregation, to fighting for gay marriage and women's equality, overall the American mind has broadened and put in an effort to accept the endless amounts and types of people that this world has to offer. Even then, with every new generation of employees and employers in this country, issues about appearance never fail to stir up, such as woman being required to wear dresses or policies being put on facial hair for men. The newest cohort of professional appearance issues is revolved around the restrictions of tattoos and piercings in the work place or an educational facility. Although the First Amendment protects the practice of religion and other forms of free speech and the Fourteenth Amendment promises due process and equal protection, when it comes down to it in the business world, a professional image is crucially important to an employer. The censorship of one's act of self expression through tattoos or piercings is anticipated to bring about controversies within religion, the constitution, equality, and discrimination. Furthermore, this said right and want to exercise what is promised in the First Amendment in every humanly way possible while at the same time trying to maintain a completely professional appearance is no more than set up for conflicts and court cases.
Centuries ago, being marked served as a form of punishment but is now used very popularly as a form of decorative body art. These once involuntary signatures of shame have now been refurbished into voluntary symbols of pride to those who have them. When recently polled, research showed that 40% of Americans from ages 25-40 had at least one tattoo, in comparison to the 1980's when that percentage was 3%, or the 1950's when it was 0.5% of the population [ (Martin, 2010) ]. In American society, however, tattoos and piercing are easily a label of deviance, a behavior, trait, belief, or other characteristic that violates a norm and causes a negative reaction. The table below demonstrated the thoughts of some individuals and their mostly negative thought towards others that do have tattoos [ (Corso, 2008) ].
ATTITUDES OF THOSE WITHOUT A TATTOO
"Please complete the following sentence:
'Compared to people without tattoos, I think people with tattoos are...?'"
Base: All Without Tattoos
More Less No Difference
Intelligent 1% 27% 71%
Sexy 6% 39% 55%
Spiritual 5% 25% 70%
Rebellious 54% 3% 43%
Attractive 4% 47% 49%
Athletic 5% 13% 82%
Healthy 2% 25% 73%
Strong 8% 10% 82%
Although these bodily modifications may come across as deviant to the great part of the population, many of these tattoos that individuals permanently imprint their skin with have very significant meanings behind them, for example the name or representation of a loved one that has passes away or is very dear to them, some symbolic depiction of their lifestyle, or a demonstration of their religious beliefs. This significance to their body art, gives a great number of marked citizens...
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