Publicly Pierced -By: Cora Fredette

Written by on May 13, 2022

I have facial piercings. I have been denied fantastic job opportunities due to my piercings, even though I was the best candidate for the job. When asking what I could work on in hopes of getting the job next time, the employer said, “We would have hired you but simply can’t because of your piercings.” All over the world, people have piercings for a variety of reasons. Discrimination in the workplace over facial piercings, regardless of qualification or the current world culture, is simpleminded and outdated. 

Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against someone for reasons of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity) or religion. Under that falls employment choices based on stereotypes or assumptions about abilities, traits or performance of individuals because of are illegal to discriminate upon. In many religions like Hinduism, a nose piercing is a sign of maturity in young girls and is important to the religious community. Many of the people who see piercings as unprofessional and will not hire those with piercings are also contributing to religious discrimination. 

     In the current culture and climate piercing is still seen as unprofessional even though it ranges extremely far back. The nose piercing was recorded as far back as 1500 BCE. Piercings of these types have existed almost everywhere, while lip and tongue piercings were historically created in Africa and the Middle East. If an employer is, for example, hiring for the ever-growing IT profession, would piercings matter to the skill of fixing computers? Years ago, piercings were seen frequently as a sign of deviant behavior and something only marginal lower-class people would acquire. But in today’s day and age, body modifications such as piercings have developed into a contemporary fashion statement and are regarded similar to any other product in a consumer-driven market. This can be easily changed with a change in attitude and perspective.

Our bodies are also the products of culture. That is, all cultures around the world modify and reshape human bodies. 

In current times, the popularity of piercing has exploded. In my school I have seen people with piercings that their parents did not permit but they wanted so badly they did it themselves, regardless that in NY piercing of a minor is legal within reason and with parental consent. Self-done piercings can foster infections which possibly can lead to amputations and even an elevated risk of developing cancer. All created and fostered by outdated ideas. 

My parents are concerned about the discrimination I may face from piercings when applying for colleges. Yet most colleges are becoming more accepting of body modifications such as piercings. Most colleges and universities are going purely by grades. Shown as many are test-optional, meaning they allow all or some applicants to decide whether to submit SAT or ACT. Colleges were the first section of the modern economy to not care about visible body modifications. 

With a simple change of an outdated mindset companies and industries could flourish. They are filled with people from every walk of life. Many industries are already there, but even more are clouding the public’s eyes. The older generations such as Generation X and the Boomer generations mindset is the main factor for piercings still being seen as derogatory to others. 

Many don’t experience discrimination due to body modification, due to not having any visible body modification such as tattoos or piercings. But discrimination in the workplace over facial piercings is more favorable than you would think. Qualification should be the leading candidate factor of choice, but it’s not. Instead, piercings are.

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