[Vision2020] Body jewelry

Pat Kraut pkraut at moscow.com
Wed Mar 2 23:45:12 PST 2005

Oh Please! We all judge people by their appearance. Would you hire an attorney who didn't wear a suit?? You treat people based on where you are and what they are wearing. We all do!
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Tbertruss at aol.com 
  To: nanc3296 at uidaho.edu ; vision2020 at moscow.com 
  Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 10:49 PM
  Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Body jewelry


  I think it a sad commentary on the prejudices and unfair judgments people make of other human beings based on personal choices of appearance which do not harm anyone else that someone in Moscow has difficulty finding a job because of body jewelry.

  Of course employers think about the impact appearance has on customers and want to hire employees who will fit the image most favorable for their business success.  We all know this.  And within certain limits, employers are within their rights to assert a dress code.  Again, we all know this.

  The question is, should the public and/or an employer be so judgmental of someone's appearance as to reject them just because of their personal choices regarding how they wish to look?  I am not talking about identification that employees must wear so customers know they are an employee, or safety issues that require some employers to ban body jewelry because it can be a safety hazard, or other job related requirements that are essential to doing the job besides not violating the bigotry of customers, which is about the only reason I can think of to reject an employee with body jewelry, in most cases.  Women with pierced ears who wear jewelry in their ears are almost never rejected for employment just because of their pierced ears.  It is just a bias against other forms of body piercing that renders it problematic.

  There may be employers in Moscow who don't care if someone works for them with body jewelry, but they know the public will have a hissy fit, so they can't allow it.

  I can think of no good reason to reject someone for employment because of body jewelry except the narrow minded prejudices of people who just can't stand appearances that challenge their biases regarding how people are supposed to look.  This is nothing more than flat out prejudice by the public and employers, the same sort of prejudice that might have led to demanding women wear dresses and never pants, that Blacks must straighten their hair, that men be banned from wearing hair over their collar, that allowed bosses to hire blond secretaries over brown haired ones for their sex appeal.  

  No doubt this sort of discrimination against employees appearances continues to this day, but is it right?  Many practices that are legal in the workplace still are morally questionable.

  The argument that body piercings usually imply a kind of masochistic personality that is undesirable is just nonsense.  The process of piercing does not have to be painful with anesthetic.  And besides, we celebrate people in many walks of life who suffer great pain in their work without an extreme judgment that they are pathologically masochistic.  How much pain and suffering do football players go through, yet we applaud their toughness and grit?  We do not (most of us) turn off the TV during the game to shield the children from the crunching bones and moans from the brutal hits.  This argument asserting that body piercings are a form of wounding that implies a serious psychological impairment when viewed from the context of our cultures relationship to pain as a virtue is pure hypocrisy!

  I have been a long distance runner my whole life.  I can guarantee you there are times when you go all out running a long distance that it hurts!  And to keep going while it hurts, you suffer.  I recall the 1990 Bloomsday, when at 38 years old I wanted to set a sub six minute per mile pace for the 7.46 mile course.  I reached the top of Doomsday Hill at my goal pace, but still had about a mile and a half more to go.  I was dead.  The only way to keep going was to tough it out.  I had to accelerate after the hill back to my sub six minute mile pace.  This hurt.  And it kept hurting for the next mile and a half.  

  Don't employ me, please!  I am a monstrous masochist for doing that to myself.  Oh, it's OK to torture yourself for sports, you say?  In fact, you think that means I have determination?  That's the All American thing to do?

  Just don't do it with body piercings.  That's "un-American."

  Ted Moffett


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