I had recently been in a job interview. During our discussion with the interviewer, he stressed out the importance of "professional appearance" in the workplace, which included covering any visible tattoos someone might have. It is a fact that visible tattoos and other body modification often make gainful employment difficult in a great deal of jobs. Employers still look down on tattoos or regard them as contributing to an "unprofessional appearance". Why are tattoos treated like that? Why are they considered to be extreme and why do they still create negative associations to the public's mind despite their increasing popularity?
In many cultures, tattoos are generally associated with criminality. Therefore, those who choose to be tattooed in such countries usually keep their "ink" covered for fear of reprisal.
For example, many businesses such as gyms, hot springs and recreational facilities in Japan, still ban people with visible tattoos, in part because of their association in the popular imagination with jakuza, or Japanese mafia.
According to popular belief, most triad members in Hong Kong have a tattoo of black dragon on the left bicep and one of a white tiger on the right; in fact, many people in Hong Kong use "left a black dragon, right a white tiger" as a euphemism for a triad member. One other reason the Chinese associate tattoos with criminals is because historically, criminals who were released from prisons for minor crimes were given a tattoo on their face as a "warning sign" to other people.
In the US and other western countries, many prisoners and criminal gangs use distinctive tattoos to indicate facts about their criminal behavior, prison sentences and organizational affiliation. This cultural use of tattoos predates the widespread popularity of tattoos in the general population, so older people may still associate tattoos with criminality.
Tattoos can have negative associations for women; tramp stamp and other similarly...
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