Look behind the exterior

Why are piercings, colored hair and tattoos still considered unprofessional?

I remember growing up my mom always fussing over if my hair was combed or my clothes being wrinkle free. Now as a somewhat adult with jobs I am constantly told the dos and don’ts of my appearance at the workplace. Why does it matter if my tattoos aren’t covered 24/7 or my hair is colored abnormal colors if I get my job done? What I look like should not be how people base their opinion about me.

Working at a gas station we are told that we can not have any unnatural colored hair, facial piercings other than a single nose stud and “tasteful” tattoos. When I applied I thought this was going to be a place I could easily express myself, I mean it’s a gas station–if I couldn’t have blue hair here, where could I have it?

I was always someone growing up that didn’t want to look like the rest of the kids in my school. From dying my hair bright red to wearing knee high socks with shorts I didn’t care what the other kids thought. But now it is starting to feel like a penalty for not caring. Every time someone notices something “off” about me I lose points in some invisible game. I’ve gotten told by family members that if I get certain piercings they would just about disown me. My ex-boyfriend didn’t like taking me to the bar because I couldn’t fit in with his friends.

Over and over people have judged me for what is on the outside but very few have spent the time to learn about what is on the inside of me. All the nice things I do and all the hard work I have done is just pushed to the side when it comes to the choice of wearing the same Ugg boots every girl has or my beat up combat boots that look like they actually went to war.

Who decided what professional was? Why is black pants more accepted in a work place than my beat up jeans? I want to be able to wear clothes I feel myself in at work and not be judged for it.

We should normalize telling our kids “don’t judge a book by its cover” and actually meaning it. We can only make a change if we actually set an example. Instead of sitting in your car laughing about the couple going into Walmart wearing their pajamas tell your kids to be kind because not everyone has money for “real” clothes or a way to wash them. There is more to everyone inside their heart and that is what should matter, not if they have bright green hair and an eyebrow piercing.