Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to type the phrase ‘can journalists have tattoos?’ into Google.
Okay, maybe not only out of curiosity. There is perhaps a touch of paranoia in there too. That possibly the tiny red lines on my little fingers will hinder me from getting a job, or that by putting my hair up to reveal the tattoo on the back of my neck I somehow would then be unable to do said job correctly.
This is what I found:
I want to become a journalist, can I have a tattoo? –Quora (March 28th 2016)
Ask the career expert: will having Tattoo/Piercing cost me my job? (2008)
Can Journalists have tattoos? - Yahoo (5th April 2011)
Will piercings and tattoos put off potential employers? (3rd October 2008)
I didn’t have to dig for these articles/questions; they were on the first page of my Google search. Prospective journalists have been asking the same questions for years, and what was once seen as a sign of rebellion is now so commonplace that it begs the question, who the hell cares?
While I understand obscene and NSFW artwork that cannot be shown on certain TV channels first thing in the morning while your viewers are trying to shovel down what breakfast they can before work or taking the kids to school. If you have a tattoo on your arm and you are reporting from a beach in high summer, would you still be expected to wear a full shirt and not roll up your sleeves as everyone would?
If so many future journalists have made deliberate changes to their appearance to make themselves feel comfortable in their own skin, shouldn’t we be celebrating it?
I have nine tattoos, and while all but four tiny ones are easily covered, it’s these four that have me so worried. I have a bow on my left little finger and a simple line on my right. I have a simple symbol on the back of my neck and a rat footprint behind my right ear. They are tiny, hidden, full of meaning to me, and yet to some it means I cannot do what I am being trained for.
I dyed my hair red because it gave me confidence; I came out of my shell and felt stronger. I have a facial piercing because I wanted one, having the will to want something and then get it done makes me feel empowered. I have tattoos to cover up my healed self-harm scars, and I finally accept myself.
Type ‘can journalists’ into Google. Go on, I’ll wait. The second drop down option to finish that sentence is ‘have tattoos’. This is clearly a popular search option. So, to those (like myself) that had a sheer moment of fear and paranoia that the things that make me feel like, well, me are wrong I say remember these words:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo-Emerson