The act of becoming ‘heavily tattooed’, with its historical association with deviant subcultures, continues to carry a social stigma and evoke negative sanctions. This is…
The act of becoming ‘heavily tattooed’, with its historical association with deviant subcultures, continues to carry a social stigma and evoke negative sanctions. This is especially so for women, who must also contend with gender norms within the highly masculinised tattoo subculture. For women, the experience of becoming heavily tattooed comes to represent an embodied resistance to normative ideals of beauty, against which the participants construct their own alternative gender and beauty philosophies. Besides gender norms, the tattoo world has specific ethos which divides the serious subcultural member from those more casually connected to it. The physical parameter of the subculture finds people gathering in tattoo studios and at tattoo conventions, as well as consuming tattoo-oriented media, such as magazines and television shows. This study draws on in-depth interviews with 36 participants across the United States who consider themselves serious tattoo collectors. From their stories, we learn about the importance of participating in this leisure activity and how becoming heavily tattooed impacts their sense of self, gender and identity.
As employers are purportedly becoming more receptive to tattoos, the question arises whether tattooed employees are nonetheless subject to unfavorable treatment. In this…
As employers are purportedly becoming more receptive to tattoos, the question arises whether tattooed employees are nonetheless subject to unfavorable treatment. In this light, the purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of different tattoo characteristics on four outcomes: annual earnings, fair interpersonal treatment from supervisors, perceived discrimination and perceived overqualification. The specific tattoo characteristics were tattoo number, visibility and content.
Survey data from a sample of 162 tattooed hospitality employees were obtained from a Qualtrics research panel and analyzed using regression.
The results demonstrated that employees with a greater degree of dark tattoo content (content of a more threatening and intimidating nature) received less favorable treatment, as demonstrated by significant relationships with fair interpersonal treatment, perceived discrimination and perceived overqualification. Tattoo number was related to increased perceived discrimination and perceived overqualification. At the same time, tattoo number was related to increased annual earnings, signaling a benefit.
Measures of tattoo characteristics and workplace outcomes were collected in a single survey. An analysis of data collected at different points would potentially provide a more definitive test of cause and effect.
On one front, organizations should establish grooming policies that specify what is acceptable with respect to tattoos. To help minimize personality-related tattoo stereotypes from influencing hiring decisions, organizations could use personality assessments to make the hiring process more objective. Moreover, diversity training could address tattoo-related stereotypes, bias and prejudice.
Even though prior studies have demonstrated that tattooed people are viewed as less suitable for employment, research focused on the relationship between tattoos and actual discrimination has been limited. The results from this study highlight that employees with tattoos may still be subject to maltreatment, despite the mainstreaming of tattoos.
Over the last decade, there has been a substantial rise in the popularity of tattooing in the UK, and a subsequent increase in tattooed female bodies. As explored by…
Over the last decade, there has been a substantial rise in the popularity of tattooing in the UK, and a subsequent increase in tattooed female bodies. As explored by Walter (2010), key for the women of today is that they have a choice, to conform to stereotypical constructions of femininity, or resist them. However, tension lies in the ways that these choices are already constrained by socially imposed boundaries. In exploring constructions of tattooed female bodies, a stratified sample of 14 tattooed women were interviewed, with the transcripts being analysed using a discursive–narrative approach. Reflexivity forms a key part of the analysis, as I research a tattooed woman, with some of the insider–outsider intersections informing the analysis. Here, the discourse of unwritten rules and social norms is explored, with a specific focus on how tattooed women construct ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ choices in respect to the tattoos they and others get, the expectation and the normalisation of the pain of getting and having a tattoo, and finally, the generational difference in respect to how tattoos are accepted and understood.
This paper brings a fresh contribution to the role of space and places in Consumer Culture Theory. Investigating the context of tattooing, it conceptualizes the various…
This paper brings a fresh contribution to the role of space and places in Consumer Culture Theory. Investigating the context of tattooing, it conceptualizes the various articulations that link the body as a topia and a utopia, and the street shops (as “other” places or heterotopia) where consumers’ identity projects are undertaken.
Our approach is based on an ethnographic work, that is, the observation of the shop and interviews conducted with its two managers, three male tattooists, and a young female apprentice.
We show how the changes that affect heterotopic places in the world of tattooing impact the way body identity projects are taken care of. We highlight the material and symbolic exchanges that “take place” and “make place” between the shop as a heterotopia and people’s utopias of the body.
The research involves a single fieldwork and deliberately focuses on the female apprentice as the main informant of this study.
This paper draws attentions to the emergence of women in the world of tattooing and their transformative role of highly gendered meanings and practices.
Originality/value of paper
In articulating the links between bodies, their utopias and heterotopic places where these are carried out, we contribute not only to the understanding of the meaning that consumers attribute to the transformation of their body, but also to the role played by spaces – sites as well as gendered bodies – in our understanding of these phenomena.