Last week it became known that HMV had introduced a new uniform policy for their staff, after announcing making their lowest profit since they opened in 2002. Part of this new uniform policy states that staff must be clean and presentable (fair enough - no one likes to be shrouded in B.O while browsing the easy listening section) but also that they must not have tattoos on show.
Although I respect that tattoos aren't for everyone, and that they must be covered up for a variety of companies and professions, I had not thought that a company like HMV would be so judgemental against them after showing such previous acceptance. The last time I checked, being tattooed does not make anyone less able to carry out their job role, it does not make any one less capable of providing excellent customer service, and it does not make anyone less capable of hunting out that Tori Amos CD from 1996.
When I was younger, most of my time was spent in HMV mooching around listening to the 'CD of the week' on those huge headphones, testing out the latest PlayStation game, flicking through Kerrang! or excitedly telling my friends that the fit one with the barbed wire tattoo just served me. We went there because we thought the people who worked there were cool, and we thought we were cool for being in there.
Since then, tattoos have become far more mainstream, and without falling victim to stereotyping I would have thought that HMV would have realised that their target market are obviously into gaming or music (or both), in their teens or early twenties, and are likely to be tattooed themselves - so not only are they discriminating against their tattooed staff, but they are also potentially alienating their target market.
Why is it still okay for people to be discriminated against because of the choices they make about their own bodies? I face judgement from people on a daily basis - as a woman with her arms, chest and hands tattooed I am stared at almost everywhere I go. When I got my hands tattooed I was told I'd never get another 'normal' job again. It saddens me that my ability to work hard and do a job well is dependent on whether or not I have writing on my knuckles.
I am a kind, thoughtful and intelligent person and I work hard six days a week to support myself but I am branded a 'thug' or a 'scumbag' by people who do not know me. I will probably be turned down for jobs and rental houses among others, based on the way I look, and I don't see how this is fair.
The art of tattooing itself has come a long way from the 'Tramp Stamp'- I fail to see how anyone can look at the work of tattooists like Nikko Hurtado,Jeff Gogue, Liz Cook, and Matteo Pasqualin without seeing it as art. Maybe if the ones who judged knew about the real tattooists out there and didn't automatically think of a backstreet studio in some seaside resort, they would think twice before making a split-second assumption on someone they don't even know.