Since the launch of Things&Ink Magazine, a new publication by Alice Snape that embraces female tattoo culture, my ideals and opinions on tattoo’s in the work place have re surfaced. I am by no means a fully fledged tattooed lady (yet) but since I had what I consider to be quite a large piece of ink drawn on the inside of my arm, I find myself covering it up at work and this is because of the stigma still attached to women with tattoos. I am not merely ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ by saying this as I have experienced first hand the odd looks and perhaps inappropriate comments such as ‘your very pretty but then you’ve got that on your arm’….Classic.
I currently work in Buying/Retail (much to my disappointment but it’s all I know) and operate in a fairly corporate environment. When I first started I suppose I made a conscious effort to try and dress like everyone else, this was because I was temping and I really needed the job, plus I know far too well how fickle the industry is and no one wants ‘that weird girl’ working in their team if they don’t fit in. I know, I even gasp at writing that because I don’t consider myself weird in the slightest but for those who don’t understand why I choose to look this way it’s the only word they know. This word is flaunted about to describe the old fashioned things I buy or the jeans I wear, mainly in jest but all the same I’m thinking ‘you’re the weird one’!. It infuriates me how many people STILL question my lifestyle and dress sense without sounding the slightest bit interested, its even more of a shock to me that out of such a huge company I appear to be the only one who isn’t ‘commercialised’.
Anyway, I waited till I was offered the job permanently before I wore short sleeves and even now I’m not sure the more senior members of the team know I have tattoos. It’s not that I’m embarrassed because I certainly am not, I love my tattoos and when outside of work I always show them off. Perhaps it’s that I don’t feel confident in myself to think ‘this is me, this doesn’t change my performance and I don’t care what you think’ but after so many people looking at me in confusion as if to say why in God’s name did you get that, it has quite frankly become boring.
Perhaps I’m trying to protect them?
Of course now I have been there a while, we can all have a playful laugh about my old fashioned ways and my dress sense. I still want lots of tattoos but until i know where my career is heading or I become self employed the uncertainty in such a competitive climate is still holding me back which I think is a shame. A lot of tattooed women I’ve either met or read about have all said similar things – either cover up or work for yourself because it will only hinder your chances of finding work. I feel incredibly torn between the life I aspire to lead and the harsh reality of societies standards but hopefully some day soon I’ll find the perfect job that allows me to be me…truly.
Well a girl can dream!