Tattoo Studio Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Tattoo Studio Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

OPINION: Tattoo outrage is missing the point

TATTOOS are cool.

In a week when the election for the leader of the free world officially became a two-horse race, you would think there must be a few more important news topics than that.

But ink caused a stink this week, with a flight attendant hopeful missing out on her dream job due to a tiny anchor on her ankle.

There's her first mistake; an anchor is hardly a relevant symbol for someone clearly passionate about air travel.

Equally irrelevant are the complaints from people labelling this rejection as "discrimination".

This is not discrimination.

Discrimination would be the tattoo artist refusing to do his work on someone due to their ethnicity, age or sex.

I mean, come on: people miss out on flight attendant jobs due to something as uncontrollable as their height.

So... why are we getting so worked up over something that was actually controllable?

Now, I'm not here to blast people with a bit of "skin ink".

My sister has a tattoo.

Many friends of mine have tattoos.

Put simply, ink in (or on) skin is not the issue here.

The issue is pretending we didn't have a choice over the ink being put there in the first place.

What does it matter if we agree that an employee's tattoo tarnishes a business's image?

For the record, I don't agree.

Perhaps tattoos are too cool.

But still, what does it matter?

If that's what an employer at a business thinks, then the buck stops with him.

Heck, if a CEO's stakeholders want only employees who wear blue hats, red suspenders and leopard-skin tights, then chances are that combination would become a well-recommended outfit for the job interview.

Probably for the first time ever.

However, if that's what that CEO thinks is best for their customers, aren't they just doing their job?

As an actor, I work in an industry where a prospective employer could turn me down for my hair colour, complexion or, yes, my tattoo (which I haven't actually got, so don't stress, Mum and Dad...yet).

I could whinge and whine so much that I discover elusive emotional lengths which would ironically help my acting quite a lot, but I'm not so sure that would fix the aforementioned barriers to employment.

My other option is to simply accept that something as blatantly unavoidable as genetics is ruining my chances of a sustainable career.

Now you can stress, Mum and Dad.

That all said, who am I to blame the director for choosing someone who matches the "look" of a certain character over me?

Like our airlines, they have an audience - customers - to please.

Whether or not I agree with what it is that pleases that audience is irrelevant.

Just like the fact that tattoos are cool.

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