The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

Accepting Artistry

Accepting Artistry

Body art shouldn’t be discriminated against

I remember when I got my second earlobe piercings, they were small, but I was ecstatic for days. I knew that from there, I wanted more and more, including a tattoo. However, it wasn’t too long after that I learned about the certain stereotype that body arts holds; tattoos and piercings can be seen as unprofessional, and to some aspects, dirty.

Even before the modern era, tattoos and piercings had popped up here and there around the world. According to Tribal Rites Tattoo and Piercing, the first recorded tattoos were found in Ötzi, a man found in the Ötzal Alps in 1991, who was believed to have lived around 3300 B.C. The same can be said about piercings, when the oldest mummified remains found had been noted to have piercings, pointing to the practice of piercings being more than 5,000 years old. Nose piercings are also reported as far as 1500 B.C. The Aztecs, Incas and Mayans are famous for their gold septum rings. 

Not only does this point to body art practices being seen as possibly common, but this normalizes the idea of art in a human form. Tattoos and piercings are used for numerous purposes, and it doesn’t always mean that one is trying to look cool or is just doing it for fun. 

So, if they are extremely common, and have been around for a long time, why is it that they are seen differently now?

While some may argue that the hesitant reaction towards body art is understandable due to the fact that it’s “unprofessional,” could be a symbol for something bad or be a result from impulsive activities, that is not the complete truth. To put it simply, not all body art has a bad meaning, and not all are from impulsivity, and while some could be unprofessional or “unnecessary,” that shouldn’t apply to every single one.  

There are multiple reasons why many would indulge in body art.

Religion and culture is one reason. Buddhism and Hinduism are two religions that make use of tattoos. Native individuals get tattoos pertaining to their ancestry and tribal groups, and these are only to name a few groups who get them for traditional reasons. The nose piercing is also very common in Arab or Middle Eastern countries. 

Identity expression, commemoration for a thing or object, covering up certain things and fashion are other reasons people get pierced or tattooed, and these may not be the only ones. 

Some might think that tattoos and piercings are at the bottom of the line and don’t get looked at. However, according to Wilshire Law Firm, employers can refuse to hire any potential employees if they have any sort of tattoos or piercings.

This is not to say that covering tattoos, or taking out their piercings, shouldn’t be an option, because it can be and it is the better option than to outright refuse someone work. 

Most of the bad rep that comes to piercings and tattoos are because of their associations with gangs, violence, drugs and criminality. This could not be farther from the truth.

For me personally, my piercings give me more confidence and I feel more comfortable with myself. 

Tattoos and piercings may be looked down upon, but should the person be as well?

Humans have aspirations and goals, and at the end of the day they are just a person as well, and any type of body art shouldn’t stop them from that. 


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About the Contributor
Salem Ortega-Morales, Photographer
Hi! It’s Salem again for the second year in a row, writing another staff bio. I won’t be writing any stories, but instead, I’ll be a full-time photographer (with the exception of writing captions). This year I’ll be a junior, and I could not be more excited to return. Unlike last year, I don’t have my hair dyed anymore and I’m no longer a writer. Photography is something I gravitate more and more everyday, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Although I’ll miss writing (only a little), I can’t wait to start a new era. This past year, I’ve met so many people on The Journal who have helped me grow and branch out as an aspiring photojournalist. Despite changing my whole position, not much about me is different from last year. I’m still a Steve Lacy, Tyler the Creator, Arctic Monkeys and The Cure fan. I still have my two cats, and we added one more to the family over the summer. Besides all that, I can’t wait to bring you all this year’s photos, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity of being one of the ones to do so.

Comments (1)

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    lucy ld :)Mar 11, 2024 at 5:15 pm

    i love this salem ! great writing & angle 🙂