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Tattoo on the Workplace

  • Updated October 31, 2021
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Tattoos have been described as mistakes, often as art, and passionately as the right to freedom of expression. How one’s work environment reacts to personal style choices may be the result of their predisposition to classify things into palatable groups. When identifying groups as a higher or lower class, one assigns a feeling of worth and belonging to themselves.

‘When we classify something as ‘bad’, we classify ourselves and seek to hoist ourselves above the denigrated ‘other’ by means of our classification’ (Stewart 2016:38). According to a 2018 Harris Poll, “…three in ten Americans (29%) have at least one tattoo, up from roughly two in ten (21%) just four years ago. What’s more, few inked Americans stop at one; among those with any tattoos, seven in ten (69%) have two or more.”

Perception of art, including tattoos, may be less about social norms and more about how someone feels about their own place in society. The crafting of non-essential items for body adornment is a cultural practice found across the globe. Preferences in clothing, jewelry, or body art is a journey of self-discovery that many enjoy taking. The personal development of style is based on choices one makes for themselves. ‘Ornamentation and stylization are advanced as two concrete devices through which human attention is captured and experience is ordered through aesthetic patterns’ (Fuente 2013:16).

“Tattoos can take any number of forms, from animals to quotes to cryptic symbols, and appear in all sorts of spots on our bodies – some visible in everyday life, others not so much. But one thing’s for sure – more and more Americans are getting them” (Harris 2018). In the workplace or classroom, visualized self-expression might prompt an ethics debate when there is disagreement regarding what is appropriate for mass consumption.

‘By performing the difficult task of identifying and distinguishing the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of evaluative judgment, we can gain a multi-layered understanding of what and how people value’ (Stewart 2016:49). Before judging someone else’s definition of art, unpack the possibility that your prejudice is based on inherent prejudice based on a need to elevate your class rank over others.

Works Cited

  1. Fuente, Eduardo De La. 2013. “Why Aesthetic Patterns Matter: Art and a ‘Qualitative’ Social Theory.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 44(2):168–85.
  2. Negrey, Cynthia. 2012. Work Time: Conflict, Control, and Change. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.  Chapter 3 Current Trends Stewart, Simon. 2016. “Evaluative Judgements: Ethics, Aesthetics and ‘Bad Taste.’” The Sociological Review 65(1):37–51.
  3. Thompson, Beverly Yuen. 2015. Covered in Ink: Tattoos, Women, and the Politics of the Body. New York: New York University Press. Chapter 4: ‘Covering’ Work: Dress Code Policies, Tattoos, and the Law Anon. 2018.
  4. “Tattoo Takeover: Three in Ten Americans Have Tattoos, and Most Don’t Stop at Just One.” The Harris Poll.

Cite this paper

Tattoo on the Workplace. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/tattoo-on-the-workplace/

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