One day in the early eighties I was flipping through albums at a local music shop. Back before the Internet it was a common way to pass the time and to see what music was out there. One album cover in particular caught my attention. It was the album Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones.
While many albums had outlandish covers, this one had a person with his neck and face covered in tattoos. I was not a prude by any stretch of the imagination but that image struck me. I am a child of the sixties and in my youth very few had tattoos. Most who did were like my father and got them in the military and the tattoos were symbols of their service. Others who did were not looked upon favorably by society. Generally speaking, folks who are older (forty something and older) don’t have a positive view of tattoos.
Fast-forward to the present and the situation has changed. I teach at a small university in northwest Tennessee. Many, if not most, of our students across campus have tattoos. I am no longer surprised when I see them but I do have concerns. While social norms may have changed, some agency/company policies have not. Many still have regulations/rules stating that tattoos are not to be visible. I worry that tattoos (or piercings for that matter) may hobble a student’s ability to be hired. What do you think?