Monday, January 4, 2010

The neck tattoo is a bold statement. Like hand and facial tattoos, neck tattoos are very hard to conceal, meaning that every first impression - be it an employer, a police officer, or even a neighbor - can be colored by their perception of tattoos. Tattoos have clearly become more mainstream since the 1990s, but are the more visible and more difficult to hide tattoos following the trail blazed by the tramp stamp?

An article in the New York Times on Tuesday asserts that neck tattoos, once reserved for “gang members, prison inmates, members of the Russian mob and the rapper Lil Wayne,” are now entering the domain of the mundane. However, the article also goes out of its way to acknowledge that those who sport facial and neck tattoos, as well as those with unusual or excessive piercings, still face plenty of obstacles to acceptance in the workplace. Courts have repeatedly upheld workplace appearance requirements, including those that forbid visible piercings and tattoos. However, times are changing and workplaces are certain to evolve as our culture’s perception of tattooed people changes.

While the New York Times piece reads more like a cautionary tale than a real look at the increased prevalence of hard-to-conceal tattoos, the fact that the NYT has taken on the subject at all is a statement in and of itself.


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