30 July 2008

Tattoo Taboos

The humble tattoo is no longer the world of just bikers, criminals, or other so-called undesirable elements of the community. I would not describe bikers as being undesirable elements of the community, if you were wondering. Tattoos have been going mainstream for some time and it seems that they have hit the mainstream vein as employers of all kinds are becoming more accepting of the idea of employees permanently inking their skin.

Just tracking the Sydney and New South Wales tattoo scene sees that from a mere three licensed artists in 1984, there has been a bit of an explosion with more than 50 licensed artists throughout the State. Tattoos were once identified as a moment of drunken stupidity in one's youth, this is clearly no longer the case! The quality of the artwork and the designs are testament to tattooing taking itself seriously as an art form.

I do not hesitate to add here that none of the tattoos that adorn my skin are the product of a drunken night on the town. Instead each has a meaning and each is significant to me as it tells my story and experiences.

Interestingly, in June 2006, Australia's biggest and most conservative employer, the Defence Force, lifted the rule that barred anyone with a tattoo from joining up. About bloody time if you ask me. It was a stupid rule because the armed forces did not kick you out once you joined up and then went and had some art done. If the defence force was serious then the ban should have been uniform and across the board. Perhaps better late than never.

Funnily enough the new defence rules would allow facial tattoos if there was a religious or cultural reason for such artwork. The idea that tattoos still carry social stigmas seems to be fading fast as tattoos become increasingly mainstream. Tattoos are also no longer immediately associated with youthful risk taking. If you do not believe this then watch shows like Miami Ink, LA Ink, and Tattoo Wars. Not everyone with a tattoo is a Charles Manson!

I have no regrets about the tattoos that I have and already have artwork ready for the next series of ink installments to be made on my skin.


GJ said...

You Bugger you have stuffed up my work life balance here!!!!!

Don't post for a week then BAM!!! too much to read at work, WTF am I to do now.

Please don't do it again!!!

Rob Baiton said...

okey dokey...my apologies for stuffing up your work day!

mia said...

I heard that Blue Bird taxi still does not hire drivers with tattoos.. I wonder how would they know? Do they ask each prospective employee to strip bare before them?

Anyway.. I also have a tattoo on my ankle, of a sea creature. I consider myself a clean and orderly person with god behaviour. If one day I suddently want to be Blue Bird's female taxi driver, I won't stand a chance! Haha!

Rob Baiton said...


Gee, do you think that "one day" will ever come around?

If it does let me know and I will keep an eye out for a tattoed female blue bird taxi driver!