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Facial piercings

A changing perspective in the workplace
Facial piercings

Society has come a long way in accepting body modifications, such as tattoos and piercings in the workplace, but stereotypes and stigma regarding facial piercings still exists. Certain professions discriminate against facial piercings and modifications more than others. Within the education field, stereotypes about teachers with facial piercings and other body modifications remain.  

Teachers are expected to have a certain professional appearance and eccentrically dyed hair or other body modification go against this ideal image of the teacher. This relates back to the common societal view that nose piercings are “unprofessional” and people with facial piercings have poor decision making skills. This societal view is even more prevalent in the teaching profession because some parents do not want their children taught by someone who looks “unprofessional” or does not conform to their picture of what a teacher should look like in a position of a role model.

Mr. Lebb, AHS Principal says facial piercings and other body modifications may potentially make the person be perceived as unprofessional. Mr. Lebb said, “I guess it depends on a few things. It depends on what the professional setting is. A courtroom is probably not the best place to have facial piercings, but there are some retail positions that it could be appropriate to have a facial piercing in.” Mr. Lebb also said the type and  quantity of facial piercings can affect how professional it is perceived. For example, a person with multiple facial hoops could be deemed unprofessional, whereas a person with a small nose stud wouldn’t be.

However, Mr Lebb said that facial piercings would not affect his opinion on a possible teacher he was interviewing. He says, “Having a facial piercing would not alter my opinion of a person I was interviewing for a teaching position.” A facial piercing would not be a factor in deciding if a person was a good teacher or not, and we are living in 2024 where people are more free to express themselves.

To get a better understanding of facing stigma in the workplace because of facial piercings, I interviewed Gianna Dethomas, a junior at Audubon High School with facial piercings who has previously worked with children as a camp counselor. When asked if she worried about her facial piercings affecting her job opportunities in the future she explained, “[I] wasn’t thinking about piercings affecting my future job because if I need to change who I am and how I present myself then that’s not the right job for me.” When asked if she’d ever been discriminated against because of her facial piercings, Gianna said “I feel like people who are hiring may not say it but subconsciously will pick people who look more normal than people who express themselves through piercings and hair color.

Lily Zimmerman also shed a lot of light on the subject of facial piercings in the workplace in a teaching environment. Lily, a senior at Audubon High School, works at Haddon Learning Center with 4 and 5 year olds.She has a septum and eyebrow piercing. When asked if she had faced judgment from her coworkers or parents of the children she takes care of she explained, “Some of my coworkers stare, but the kids don’t know what they are of them asked if it (my eyebrow piercing) was for pimples, so I think I’m in the clear.” This was not how Lily thought her facial piercings would be received, however. When getting her facial piercings, Lily thought her work would say something to her and she would be written up or even fired from her job.

Lily’s positive experience with her workplace and their acceptance of her facial piercings is a good sign regarding facial piercings in the workplace. It demonstrates how facial piercings and other body modifications are being more widely accepted as a form of self expression even in the workplace.

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