Editorial: Breaking society’s standards

The unfairness of body expression


Edna Hernandez

A student holds up a phone.

No tattoos. No piercings. No colored hair.

These are words you always see or hear.

You see it in the manual under the dress code section of your new job or school.

You hear it at school, work or even coming from your own parent’s mouth.

When did freedom of expression through appearance become so restricted?

When did these modifications to your own body become a problem?

Why are body modifications viewed so negatively?



Tattoos, piercings and colored hair are a way to express yourself freely. Your body is your personal canvas. As long as your appearance doesn’t hurt others around you, it shouldn’t be a problem.

One major place where these modifications are frowned upon significantly are schools. When students begin the school year, they are forced to make changes to their appearances if any of the above is restricted. If students fail to meet the dress code, they could face suspension until they comply, which is completely ridiculous. The level of punishment schools take in order to make sure students follow these “rules” is unrealistic. Schools seem to value dress code more than a student’s education.

Work is another place where the allowance of tattoos or piercings are refused. According to Stapaw (a website that raises awareness against the discrimination of piercings and tattoos in workplaces), 76 percent of employees feel tattoos and piercings hurt the chances for you to receive a job interview. The disadvantage of having a slight change in your appearance solely because you chose to be different and change your own body seems to be offensive to the public.

The mentality people have toward what’s socially acceptable is too sensitive. The truth is, the average person cannot fit a certain standard. There is no “normal.” As cliché as it is, people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, with unique hairstyles and eye colors. Our prejudices shouldn’t be based on appearances but for the character and actions of the person.

Although schools claim they don’t allow piercings for safety reasons, many accidents that occur are because of lack of hygiene and are rarely life threatening. According to the Huffington Post, “Problems most often are the result of a lack of experience or hygienic practice of the practitioner, materials used or a lack of proper aftercare by the recipient.”

Individuality shouldn’t be limited to quirky traits you were born with. Tattoos and piercings are purely for originality and freedom of expression. People should not be shunned or treated unfairly due to their personal choices of how they express themselves. The mindset that any sort of body modification makes you less qualified or less of a person should be thrown away.

At the end of the day, self-expression should not determine how qualified one is. Their qualities should.