Fact: When my mom was growing up, there were 2 kinds of people in the world:
-people with tattoos and piercing and other body modifications
Modified folk found themselves in a very different social category.
In terms of employment, they could not access conservative professions such as medicine, law, business, etc.
Most people were under the impression that tattoos were gang symbols, or membership badges to organized crime groups, hence ostracized those who sported their ink in visible places.
But the times, they are a'changing.
Yes, there is still body mod discrimination, especially in the workplace, no doubt about that.
It's the reason I only have piercings in my ear, a less visible and easily concealable area.
However, we must not forget that the unmodified, sadly ignorant people mentioned above are still around; they hold the mid to high level positions, they make hiring decisions, they are still in charge of our body mods and how they will affect our future; no shit discrimination is still going strong.
It's not just Hell's Angels and high school dropouts who are inking their bodies nowadays; college students, studying in every major, from every background, of every race.
Excluding an enormous demographic of freshly graduated students from entering even conservative workplaces is becoming a Herculean task. Limiting the job pool to clean slate kids is no longer a viable, profitable option.
Consequence: Generational Clash
As the two generations intertwine, and the latter succeeds the former, an inevitable confrontation about
body mods and their place in professional fields looms in the air.
And I am freaking pumped.
Why you ask? Because this is about more than just a silly infinity sign on your dainty white girl wrist, this is the reason I wrote this piece in the first place:
Accepting Body Mods Is Accepting New Definitions of Beauty
In order to understand why tattoos and piercings are body positive causes worth fighting for, I invite you to think about why they are so taboo in the first place. My interpretation is this:
Body mods are not considered traditionally, conventionally beautiful.
I may be wrong, but lemme explain myself:
Tattoos are decorations, to enhance and express identity and style.
Working with that definitions, why is jewellery, or nail polish, or makeup, or any superfluous fashion piece, accessories or decorations to enhance beauty and express style, not banned?
Because it is considered to be beautiful in the mainstream.
By slowly integrating a more diverse community of workers in all walks of life who happen to be tattooed or pierced, the definition of these mods change.
No more: tattoo=bum or gangster
Simply: person with tattoo=person who can work in any field who just happens to be wearing a decoration
Changing the mainstream definitions of beauty is obviously a cause near and dear to my heart, but change such as this one doesn't happen over night.
Not everyone will wake up one morning finding a tattoo sleeve beautiful like I do.
But the eradication of hiring discrimination and the integration of body modified people into an engineering firm or a sales department as Dunder Mifflin teaches society an even more important lesson than beauty. It teaches tolerance.
Some old grumps won't change their minds about you and your eyebrow piercing, okay.
But, as you are the most competent applicant for the job, said old grump must work along side you.
And he must learn to be tolerant:
tolerance: not necessarily loving, but simply living, without protest or insult, with the reality of the situation.
Beauty and tolerance, I notice, go hand and hand.
By not closing the door, shutting yourself into a darkness of judgement, you open yourself up to new ideas.
When faced with bright lights, the eyes must first blink a few times, let the retinas adjust, before opening their eyelids to the bright glory of the sun.
You don't love that those "fat chicks" pose sexily on the covers of Vogue, but by not excluding the possibility entirely and looking at their beautiful curves a little while longer each day, you find yourself mesmerized.
You fall into beauty like you fall asleep: As John Green best wrote:
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once"
Here's the truth: I won't have to struggle through this myself as a midly, secretly modified human.
But I'll be an ally, rallying the troops, screaming at the top of my lungs, and you can bet your tattooed little ass that I will hire the most competent of employees, regardless of their skin status.