Don't Tell Me About your F**king Neck Tattoo
So, for the past week, social media has been buzzing about blogger Jane Marie and her little "Don't Tell Me I Can't Get a F**cking Neck Tattoo" rant on Jezebel. Her post reads like an angry Yelp review, as if her mimosas were not properly chilled at brunch, but instead of a bubbly treat, she complains that she wasn't served up a neck tattoo on demand by Dan Bythewood at NY Adorned, a premier tattoo studio in Manhattan.
As Jane only had three little tattoos, Dan refused to put the name tattoo that she wanted on her neck, as a matter of ethics. He wrote a wonderful response explaining why.
There's a fantastic debate about the issue of tattoo ethics, entitlement, insiderism, feminism, and lots of other -isms, in the comments to the articles in our Needles & Sins FB group page.
My take: I wish people would stop telling me about their f**cking neck tattoos.
But they tell me often (via email & social media). And what they tell me is about the hardships in their lives. Because they got a neck tattoo.
There aren't that many heavily tattooed lawyers who talk about being a heavily tattooed lawyer as much as I do online, and so if one is searching for someone to take his/her case -- for free of course -- against the unfair universe because of body art, my name tends to come up.
And what I tell them is this: Generally companies have a great deal of discretion in hiring and enforcing their workplace appearance policies as long as they don't discriminate on the basis of religion, sex, race, color, or national origin under Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act.
Appearance-based discrimination is largely poor policy, poor business, and poor judgment. But outside of falling under one of the protected classes named above, it can be legal. Judgments in hiring and firing decisions are commonly based on tattoos that impact a company's brand image. That's why tattoos that are difficult to cover are called "job stoppers," which Dan rightfully notes in his reply:
As all tattooers know, a neck or hand tattoo is a big commitment, and traditionally are reserved for those heavily covered and ready to confront society on a daily basis as a heavily tattooed person. Although tattoos are more accepted now than ever, we are still judged daily for our appearance. A hand or neck tattoo may mean the difference between that next job or promotion, and also may spur daily judgmental looks and harassing comments from strangers as many of my friends have experienced. It's not a thing to be taken lightly and I long ago drew an ethical line in the sand for myself as professional tattooer to turn down "job stoppers" on those who are not already committed to living as a heavily tattooed person.There isn't some secret code among tattooers to reserve neck tattoos for just the cool kids. It's a decision weighing how the artist's work can negatively impact someone's life.
The world doesn't owe Jane Marie a tattoo, and it also doesn't owe her a job. So I hope I don't see any legal pleas from her when she realizes this.