Is the Corporate World Taking Away the Right to Self Expression?
Ron Carter’s Starbucks’ Coffee uniform includes pants, a shirt, an apron, and wristbands to cover the tattoos on his arm (Feldstein, 2011). Many people have to cover up their body art while at work. Some businesses do not even hire people that have visible body art such as tattoos or piercings other than the typical ear piercing. This is not uncommon in the United States today. However, the question comes up as to whether this is demoralizing or mandatory for the workplace. With the latest changes in people’s self-expression, businesses are finding it hard to have a specific dress code that will fit all of the employees associated with the business.
With the latest trends in today’s society, it is not unusual to see people with tattoos on a daily basis. Typically, if you visit a business you are more likely to see someone who has body art hid in the back with the least social occupation, so that the public does not see the tattoos or piercings. Many businesses have a specific dress code where employees have to have long sleeve shirts, bracelets, or other types of traditional jewelry to cover the not-so-typical body art. The strict dress codes that businesses have set up regarding body art are too drastic with the latest changes in society, and should probably be loosened up to allow people the opportunity to express themselves.
As a citizen of the United States, everyone is entitled to freedom of speech. With this freedom we are given the right to express ourselves. A nose ring or a flower tattooed on a wrist is a way that people have chosen to express their personality. Colleen Harris is a librarian at the University of Kentucky’s research library. With her arms covered in a pirate queen motif and black scrolling tattoos that cover her body she does not fit the stereotype of the buttoned-up librarian. Harris has multiple master’s degrees which set her above the typical typecast of the tattoo covered group. Harris believes that her qualifications should speak for themselves when applying for a job (Body Art, 2006). In Ron Carter’s case, he feels that his tattoos are not serious, nor gang related, so they should not be appalling towards customers; his tattoos are his own expression of himself (Feldstein, 2011).
Body art has become more accepted over time. From 1850 to 1900 tattoos were the citadel of “carnival freak shows.” Until 1950, tattoos indicated a Sailor or Marine. In the early 1950’s, tattoos became popular with bikers, social outcasts, and the mentally ill. The age of “prison tats” was from 1960 to 1990, where having a tattoo indicated toughness. Today, many young people are receiving tattoos without having a distinct reason other than wanting one (Professional dress, 2008). A recent poll shows that thirty-six percent of eighteen to twenty-five year olds and forty percent of twenty-six to forty year olds have at least one tattoo. Tattooists also...