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Addressing the stigma around body modifications

As younger generations enter into the workforce, two questions arise. Is there still a stigma surrounding tattoos and piercings? Are they considered professional? These are important questions to answer because body modifications are a growing trend among young people, especially those using online social media platforms such as TikTok.

Body modifications are a growing trend in society today, and the stigma is being addressed. (Photo by Marisa Sedillo/Unbreakable Tattoo Studio)

There are many reasons why someone might decide to get a tattoo or a piercing. It could be to gain confidence, tell a story, honor someone or simply because the individual wants art on their body. 

Marisa Sedillo, the body piercer at Unbreakable Tattoo Studio in Las Cruces, agrees. Sedillo says body modifications can be a “confidence booster.”

Though many people in society today have body modifications, there still seems to be a stigma surrounding tattoos and piercings, especially in a work setting. Kaitlyn Warczinski, an NMSU student with multiple tattoos and a nose piercing, shared her experience working in the fast-food industry.

“I have gotten treated differently in the work environment,” Warczinski said. “I would get customers that would give me a weird look, act like they didn’t have to treat me with respect, or think that I wasn’t smart enough to get their orders right.”

Sinnoh Davila, another NMSU student with multiple piercings, shares a similar problem she faces working in retail.

“It’s weird because the moment they see facial piercings, they’re like ugh,” Davila said.

NMSU professor Michael Hout poses for a photo with his dog, Penny. (Photo courtesy of Michael Hout)

NMSU psychology professor Michael Hout has seen a recent influx of students with tattoos and piercings within the science field and feels there shouldn’t be a stigma associated with them because they have no bearing on whether people are qualified to do their jobs.

“I feel like there shouldn’t be a stigma, certainly, because at least speaking from my own profession, [tattoos] have nothing to do with my ability to be a scientist, or with my ability to communicate or mentor my students. None of that has anything to do with the way I look,” Hout said.

The stigma can also be found within families and in home settings.

“My family would tell me that I’m a prime example for my younger siblings and shouldn’t get piercings and tattoos because they’re a bad example. But for me it wasn’t a bad example, I just wanted to express myself,” Warcinski said.

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