Editorial: Tone down statement tattoos for work (+poll)


There are some things in life that are just plain nasty. Net curtains, profuse swearing, bad table manners and farting in public are just a few of my bugbears.

But the thing that really gets under my skin is women with tattoos.

I find them not only ugly but, rightly or wrongly, they immediately give me an impression the person is of a certain type.

I am in the clear minority in New Zealand, where inking your body has become mainstream, particularly amongst generation Y.

What was once an ancient ritual has now become high fashion.

Claire Nathan, the woman who was barred by Air New Zealand from working as an air hostess because of a ta moko on her forearm, says her tattoo has cultural significance and depicts her children and her heritage.

It is her belief that for this reason, Air New Zealand should change its policy, saying "for our future, our kids, the policy needs to change".

In my view, for my future and my children, this policy needs to stay. I hope more policies like this make my own children think before they ink.

Ms Nathan says the right to show her tattoo is a human right, but the reason she was refused employment was not because she had a moko, but because she was applying for a front-line hospitality position and had a tattoo that couldn't be covered.

Many people who have tattoos claim they are meaningful to them, even culturally significant. But if an employer says you must cover it up or refuses to consider you for a job then it has every right to.

Tattoos may be the norm in New Zealand but Air New Zealand says others may see tattoos as "frightening or intimidating".

Companies have the right to create and enforce standards for their front-line staff, given image is so critical for their bottom line.

If people choose to have a tattoo as a personal statement, that is up to them.

But when it comes to a professional working environment, we have to adapt or tone down our personal statements in accordance with the party line.

Ms Nathan should seek employment with an employer who embraces tattoos.



- Bay of Plenty Times

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