THE BLOG

Raising The Bar: Why Are Facial Piercings Deemed Unprofessional?

29/04/2013 13:46 BST | Updated 25/06/2013 10:12 BST
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Here I am finishing my university degree and finding myself once more in the tedious ceremonial that is the job hunt. The constant string of CV printing, interviews and searching. This is a fairly unpleasant process for most, but for someone with facial piercing it's always a bit more uncomfortable. We're always told to not get piercings because they are 'unprofessional' and will apparently hold us back from jobs but I'm still unsure why this is even a problem. In India, Pakistan, Nepal and even Aboriginal culture nostril piercing is a traditional and cultural practice. More and more young people are becoming interested in body modifications, many of whom start getting facial piercings and tattoos in their late teens and early twenties. Why is it that employers still seem so against piercings?

Since my early teens I'd wanted a lip piercing. The desire kicked in when I was around the age of fifteen. Of course at this time I wasn't able to get a piercing and even when I was I waited. It seemed such a big change to make that I wanted to wait and be sure if I wanted it. At the age of nineteen my opinion on the matter hadn't changed and so I excitedly scampered off to the tattoo and piercing parlour around from my apartment. Of course, before doing so, I had done a lot of research. I wanted to know about post-piercing hygiene and maintenance. I researched different piercing methods. I looked up all the piercing places in town before getting pierced to ensure it'd be done in the most hygienic way.

The sheer amount of care and effort I put into the process spanned years. It certainly wasn't a spur of the moment decision. I have my nose pierced as well as a single stud through my bottom lip. I had no problem with it until at my most recent job. I had asked during the interview if my piercings would pose any problem since I was working within the food industry. I even offered to get a clear retainer piercing if it would help. The interviewer simply said no and essentially hired me on the spot. We agreed that the only way my piercings could be unhygienic or problematic would be if I was rubbing the pierced area directly over the food, a crime which stands on its own merit. Later, however, a fellow employee felt it necessary to inform me how lucky I was to have a job with piercings. She made several rude comments about how it looked unprofessional and how next time I looked for a job I wouldn't be 'so lucky' despite the fact that she herself had several blotchy, self-inked tattoos on her hands and up her arms.

Some may say that as an employee you are the face of the company or establishment you are working for and that, should the face have a piercings, that is a negative representation. Again, I ask why? What harm does a little amethyst nose-stud do that it entirely misrepresents the whole company? Is the company so shallow that they are utterly undermined when their receptionist has a lip ring? We seem perfectly fine with earrings, but why does a lip ring seem so offensive? Perhaps because facial piercings are seen as something other from the perceived norms of Western society. This argument, however, seems illogical if ear piercings are accepted whereas other piercings, including those that are traditional cultural practices, are not. The only difference is where the item of jewellery sits.

If someone has got the strength and patience to hold still whilst someone carefully pushes a needle through their face I think that shows a level of obedience and trust that your workplace may, in fact, require and benefit from. I personally feel that having piercings is not in any way unprofessional. What is unprofessional is turning down a hopeful potential employee based on something as arbitrary and superficial as where in their body they choose to wear jewellery instead of focusing on their skills, experience and enthusiasm.