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richmarshall's avatar

Are Tattooed People stereotyped?

Asked by richmarshall (1037 points ) May 5th, 2008

When you go to the store to buy something and the sales person is tattooed do you think twice? Are you a tattooed person who feels the need to cover up for fear of being stereotyped?

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15 Answers

peedub's avatar

I think I’m the first one to get hit up for a cigarette. I’ve never smoked in my life. The assumptions that annoy me the most are when other tattooed people, mainly certain people I would never otherwise have anything in common with, think we are in some way connected or should instantly bond based on the fact that we both have tattoos.

As far as stereotypes go, I think I’m lucky to have lived in areas, NYC and the Bay Area, where people are accepting of [tasteful] tattoos. There’s still the occasional elderly lady that runs for cover, but that’s kinda cute.

PupnTaco's avatar

I think of them as proud, fierce warriors or carnival/circus workers.

Is that stereotyping?

pattyb's avatar

growing up in the 70’s, there were three types of people that had tattoos: bikers, prisoners, carnival workers and maybe some navy vets. That’s why you will get the cold stares once in a while. Nowit seems there are more young people that
have them than do not. Personally i dont like the idea of having something so permanent. Hell, you ciuld go thru a few wives, a few houses, lose your hair even shrink a few inches in your lifetime, but that stamp will ALWAYS be there.

Ccccccc. permanent. them than don’t.

wildflower's avatar

I think it’d be impossible to sterotype people with tattoos. Everyone’s got their story. To some it’s art, others it’s commitment and for some it’s self expression and other times just a bit WTF.
It’d be like sterotyping people with long hair….

osakarob's avatar

In Japan, tattooed people are asked to cover up their art when they are in public places such as gyms and public baths. Many hot spring resorts will forbid entry to people in tattoos.
The association with the yakuza, the Japanese mob, is still prevalent despite the fact that most people who get inked here now have nothing to do with the criminal element of society.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Of course they’re stereotyped. Just not by everyone. Different tattoos lead to different stereotyping, as well. I believe the same to be true of people having body piercings.

The better question is why do people have a need to stereotype, are they willing to face that they stereotype, does the stereotyping lead to discrimination, and, if so, are they willing to work on it to make the world a better place for everyone.

wildflower's avatar

We stereotype because we all have a need for patterns and predictability to varying degrees and catagorising people based on appearance or other things helps us do this.

It’s when we start to project things (attitudes, preferences, intellect, skills) on to these stereotypes that it becomes prejudice and ignorance because you treat people based on your perception of them, not how they actually are.

As for discrimination, I would say that’s quite seperate from stereotyping. Since discrimination is differential treatment based on age, gender, family status, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Whereas stereotyping is often a case of ‘jumping to conclusions’ that may or may not be true.

There can be cases involving both discrimination and stereotyping, but I think they are two very different things (both are bad and wrong though)
note: I am of course using ‘we’ and ‘you’ as a generic terms

Sloane2024's avatar

Although I personally will never tattoo myself, I hold nothing against those who do. Thats their business & who am I to judge?

ljs22's avatar

Depends on the tattoo.

syz's avatar

I think it depends on the tattoo and the degree of tattooing – full sleeves or face/head work get a different reaction from me than other tattoos.

I had a female friend who has to get a buzz cut because of a horrible dye job accident – she was constantly annoyed by the assumptions that people made about her based on her hair cut.

bulbatron9's avatar

Tattooed people are essentially “colored people”! Idiots will always judge people by the color of their skin! I have sleeves, thighs, and a tramp stamp! Only a simple minded fool would judge someone for their skin!

I am everything you can never be!

DeezerQueue's avatar

@wildflower I agree that stereotyping and discrimination are two separate matters and I think I my statement doesn’t imply that they are the same. Stereotyping can, however, if not checked, lead to discrimination, in a broad and not strictly a judicial sense.

My husband, for example, stereotypes Americans formed largely on a lifetime of exposure to media bias. The issue of discrimination has not been severely tested because he does not live there. When on vacation, however, he did act out a few times in a fashion that I considered to be discriminatory, based solely on his stereotyping issues.

As a blonde, I can tell you that I’ve been stereotyped, both positively and negatively, strangely enough.

wildflower's avatar

I understand your point. However, the way I see it, discrimination is changing the way you treat someone based on some fact about them that should not affect the treatment, whereas stereotyping is projecting attributes on to people without knowing the facts.

You could of course have situations where people change the way they treat others based on what they’ve projected on to these people. And that, in my view, is actual stereotyping and hypothetical discrimination – because what you base your different treatment on may or may not be true/real, but it raises the question of why treat them differently because of it.

F.eks. if I didn’t know that you’re blond, but only because of your avatar I decide you probably are and I decide to treat you differently because of that. Then I am definitely guilty of stereotyping (assuming that anyone using an avatar with blond hair would have blond hair themselves) and guilty of discrimination if it turns out you are in fact blond – if you were not, I’m not sure it would qualify as discrimination because the reason for the difference in treatment doesn’t actually exist outside my head.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Where I work tattoos must be covered. I have an eyeball tattoo on the back of my head, and due to male pattern baldness, hair won’t cover it. I keep my head shaved anyway. So a two inch piece of ‘coach tape’ covers it up at work. The tat on my hand I am working at having lasered off. I wouldn’t recommend that particular process, as it feels like having your skin welded by a laser. tattoos on the back of your hand is a BAD idea.

mclaugh's avatar

I have three tattoos, two on my wrists and one on my ribs. I choose not to cover the ones on my writs most of the time because I like to see them. If other people choose to judge me based on my body art then that’s their perrogative. They can think I’m a rebel or whatever they want to think but, as long as I know the truth, that’s all that matters. And as for jobs asking people to cover up piercings and tattoos with tape, I think that it’s just plain stupid. Tape looks way more stupid on someone than a unicorn or dragon or whatever tattoo. To me, asking me to cover my tattoos is just like asking me to cover the scar I have on my forehead, it’s stupid and ill-mannered.. It just won’t happen.

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