By Mackenzie Viera |Staff Writer|
Dr. Brian Elzweig and Dr. Donna K. Peeples, professors from Texas A&M University, published an article highlighting the legal process of hiring and employing people with altered appearances.
Some companies prefer to stick to their traditional hiring practices, and will deny employment to those with visible modifications.
Many employees argued that some alterations may be due to class or religion, and used the first amendment as support for their claim. However, there are not any designated legal protections.
While discrimination in the workplace is illegal, asking an employee to cover a tattoo or piercing is completely within the rights of the employer.
Body modifications are not restricted to just tattoos and piercings.
Body modification is best defined as deliberately alternating one’s physical appearance. So if you have ears pierced, hair dyed, or even cosmetic surgery, you are considered a part of the body modification culture.
So what’s the big deal? There seems to be negative stereotypes surrounding body modification, and it might affect prospects of being hired in certain professions.
Student Amanda Perez began teaching studio art at a high school in Long Beach and shared her experience working with tattoos and piercings.
“I was asked to remove my ear gauges, facial piercings and cover as many tattoos as possible,” said Perez.
When asked if it affected her performance, Perez said, “No, they’re old enough to know it’s a form of art and don’t get encouraged to get any themselves. I actually like that they ask about them, it’s like telling a story.”
When shown pictures of the Stalking Cat, a man transformed himself into a cat by sharpening his teeth, receiving lip injects, and tiger striped tattoos across his face.
Student Katharine Hall said she would not hire Stalking Cat, simply because “he would scare people.”
However, when shown a picture of a young lady with a nose ring and blue hair, she said “I’d hire her, everyone looks like that nowadays.”
Some people with more extreme modifications such as the Stalking Cat, Zombie Boy, and Richie the Barber, have committed to a lifestyle as famous Internet personalities.
The clown adorns silicone implants in his eyebrows, face tattooed blue with a red, permanent smile, and of course, the matching red nose.
As a child, Richie the Barber–his legal name–became intrigued with clowns after visiting the Ringley Bros. show with his grandfather.
He also developed a passion for cutting hair, growing up with his grandfather, who was also a barber.
Recently, Richie the Barber volunteered to entertain and provide free hair cuts for troops in the military. In addition to cutting hair at Bolt Barbers, Richie continues to spread joy around the greater Los Angeles area.
Body modifications, including tattoos, piercings, and hair coloring seem to be more accepted in society, as well as in the workforce, but there are still issues that need to be addressed.