Deeper than body art

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Kennady Wade

Eddie Meyer, senior, got his tattoo in honor of his father who passed away when he was 3. His father was a police officer, so Meyers got his badge and badge number as a way to keep him close. “Tattoos, to me, would have to have meaning [to get one],” Meyer said.

From a young age we’ve been taught that looks shouldn’t matter; it’s what’s on the inside that counts. If we’re ourselves, the world will embrace us for who we are, regardless of our appearances. Being honest though, that’s not always the case. No matter how hard we try to be accepted, a major obstacle is, and always will be, dependent on how we look.

Prime examples of this are tattoos and piercings. The stereotypes of people with tattoos or piercings vary from poor judgement all the way to dirty, trashy and attention-seeking individuals. If the people judging weren’t so superficial in their thinking, then maybe they’d be able to see the people behind the body art.

Take Stephanie Imboden, junior, for instance. With her dad being a tattoo artist, it was natural for her to get piercings, starting with ear piercings at age 11. She has gauges and several piercings up and down her ears, an eyebrow piercing and a septum piercing. Seeing those, it would be easy to write her off as nothing more than your typical lazy, rebellious teen. Imboden, however, aspires to either become a tattoo artist or sign language interpreter.

When some people are confronted with a tattooed or pierced individual, minds automatically jump to the lowest jobs in society. In fact, in a 2008 Harris Interactive poll, 32 percent of people surveyed said individuals with tattoos are more likely to do something considered deviant. It’s hard for some people to make the connection that our lawyers and doctors could have “mom” tattooed across their bicep or a secret belly button piercing and still be good at their jobs.

Stephanie Imboden, junior, got her first piercing when she was 11 and the others followed. With art being a passion of hers, one of Imboden’s aspirations is to be a tattoo artist. “Just body art in general [is all about] being individual,” Imboden said.
Kennady Wade
Stephanie Imboden, junior, got her first piercing when she was 11 and the others followed. With art being a passion of hers, one of Imboden’s aspirations is to be a tattoo artist. “Just body art in general [is all about] being individual,” Imboden said.

In a vault.com survey, 60 percent of employers said they are less likely to hire someone with tattoos or piercings. Which is odd because according to The Washington Post, 24 percent of Americans ages 18 to 50 have at least one tattoo. That means one in four people may not get hired because some employers are too shallow to look deeper than some ink on skin. Same goes for piercings, as one in seven Americans have a piercing other than the first hole in his or her ears.

With tattoos and piercings becoming more common it’s a wonder people still insist on stereotyping them. But then again, with the number of people having tattoos and piercings on the rise, there’s an increasing chance of a future where the form in which someone chooses to express themselves is left as something personal. Maybe then the sentiment that looks don’t matter could actually prove true.