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Parent Called Out For Helping Son Get Internship But Not Daughter With ‘Aggressive’ Tattoos

young woman with multiple tattoos working on laptop
LanaStock/Getty Images

Western society’s attitude about tattoos has changed drastically in the last 50 years. Once a complete taboo in many workplaces, the ban on tattoos has eased greatly.

When I was in my teens and working in retail, “unnatural” hair colors, piercings beyond a single pair on the lobes or for anyone who wasn’t fem-presenting, and visible tattoos were all against company appearance codes in most of the early workplaces I was in.

But by the time my younger sister entered the workforce, the restrictions on multiple ear piercings, nose piercings and eyebrow piercings had been relaxed. By the time my nibling began working, hair colors and arm and leg tattoos were gaining acceptance.

Face and neck tattoos, ear gauging and more creative hair colors were being seen in retail, service industry, and office settings.

However in some businesses, few inroads have been made since the 1950s. Women are still required to wear heels, hose and skirts or dresses. A tattoo is completely verboten.

A parent dealing with such a workplace and its impact on their children turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Realistic-Conflict43 asked:

“AITA for backing my son for an internship but refusing to dot the same for my daughter?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My son went into buisness and I passed on his resume for him to get an internship. He did extremely well and it was a good reference for him.

“I only did this because he was a good match for the company. Also all I did was pass on his resume and he did all the work with interviews and whatnot.”

“My daughter is also in buisness and she asked me to pass on her resume for the company. I told her no for one main reason.”

“She will not get past the first interview process due to her tattoos. The company is very strict on tattoos and doesn’t hire people with any in a visible area.”

“They work with many high end clients so the employees have a strict dress-code. Her tattoos are very visible and aggressive art.”

“I know the moment she shows up she will be out of the running. I also don’t want to put my name in that whole situation.”

“I explained my reasoning and she is calling me a jerk for not supporting her. I told her she can apply online if she really wants, but I am not throwing my name in especially since I know she will be turned away.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I’m backing my son for an internship at my company but refusing to do the same with my daughter since she will not get past the first interview.”

“I may be a jerk for supporting one child but not the other.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The majority of Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Facial and neck tattoos are going to make it difficult for you to get a job in a lot of fields. People can disagree but this is reality.”

“I’m all for people making whatever choice about their body they want, but if I’m interviewing someone for a job and they have a tattoo on their face or neck, I’m going to question their decision-making.”

“And that’s the issue. It’s not ‘she has tattoos’. It’s she decided to get tattoos in locations that are problematic for many jobs.”

“May that change someday? Sure.”

“But that day isn’t today. That doesn’t mean she can’t have her neck tattoo and a traditional job. It just means she’s going to have to invest in high-quality makeup to cover it up every day.”

“And maybe she needs to experience going for interviews and getting rejected. However, I imagine most places won’t tell her the issue is the tattoo. They’ll just say they found a better candidate.”

“I might suggest offering to connect her up with an informational interview—especially if you know someone in business with tattoos. Someone who can give her a realistic view of the difficult road that is likely in front of her.”

“She needs someone who isn’t her parent or an internet stranger to talk to her about this.” ~ rak1882

“NTA, it really sucks for her that your company is like that. But sadly, that’s the reality. You know your company, and you know they will throw her out immediately. This will also reflect badly on you.”

“A lot of commenters are ignoring or don’t care that this would reflect badly on you and your status in the company. You know your company and you know your daughter, I believe you are making the correct decision.”

“But try to help her somehow! You’ve been in this business a while, I guarantee you know somewhere or someone she would fit with. You can do something even if it’s not with your company.” ~ BigNathaniel69

“It’s also how I have approached hiring decisions I was in a position to make myself. If I saw a candidate with potential but not the ‘right fit’ criteria for my area, I would always offer to pass them on.”

“OP obviously has contacts in the business world and should show his support for his daughter by extending her search criteria. OP is NTA, but missing an opportunity to be a good networker.” ~ marvel_nut

“NTA. A ‘no visible tattoos’ policy is outdated, but you didn’t make it. You’re just relaying the facts as you know them.” ~ chill_stoner_0604

“NTA and really the bulk of those calling you one are people that haven’t the credibility to be a strong reference, themselves. So, totally worthless opinions.”

“A person with standing and respect to make a recommendation does so because they themselves respect the value and can be trusted for their recommendation.”

“Basically, you’re fast-tracking an applicant with the statement that you know what that business needs and are saying this applicant is strong for the role. I trust you.”

“Ignoring an absolute and known red flag damages your future credibility and will not change the fact that the applicant is an absolute poor fit for the role.” ~ rileyyesno

“NTA. If she was ineligible for the position, all you would have done is embarrass yourself by recommending her.”

“This reminds me of the recent viral video with the girl with demons tattooed on her face complaining that TJ Maxx wouldn’t hire her.”

“In both cases, their actions have consequences that they will have to live with.” ~ FHTFBA

“NTA. Crying about the dress code being outdated at OP’s workplace won’t change it. He didn’t make the dress code.”

“Many companies are still strict about this. He has every right to protect his reputation at his company, and no obligation to risk it in a situation where there is no true gain to be had by his daughter.”

“Getting her the interview would only waste her time and the company’s time.” ~ MasterToon

“NTA—it sucks but some jobs don’t want tattoos. That’s a risk anyone getting tattoos does know or at least should. I don’t agree with it in principle, but it is what it is.”

“Putting your name on a resume like she’s asking you to do carries weight, and if they don’t work out/look bad it reflects on you. ‘Helping’ her now might mean you’re not in a position to help her/others in the future.”

“She is TA because she lashed out at you rather than understand that this is, sadly, the consequences of her getting Tattoos and out dated sensibilities that you personally have no control/sway over.” ~ Reasonable-Ad-3605

“NTA… every company has the right to set their own rules and standards. You don’t have to push through a resume for someone just because she’s your daughter, knowing full well she’s not fitting the criteria for that company.”

“It’s not picking favorites. It’s not loving one child more. It has nothing to do with lack of support. It has nothing to do with any of that. One kid was a good fit for the company, the other kid was not. Plain & simple.” ~ Beck_irl

“NTA. When you recommend/refer someone to a company, they reflect on you. That company has a very strict dress code and tattoo policy, for better or for worse.”

“If you recommend someone that will never pass their policies, they will think less of you, as a professional in the field.” ~ KronkLaSworda

“NTA. There is absolutely no point wasting everybody’s time if her tattoos will fail the dress code. Your ‘lack’ of support may really just be disappointment at discovering that being edgy has its drawbacks in the world of work.”

“Your daughter needs to find a company with a better fit for her rather than expecting you to single-handedly redefine your employer’s dress-code. That’d be a real nepo move anyway, which I suspect she’d be against.” ~ Reddit

“Show her your company’s policy in the handbook and say that while her appearance isn’t a fit for your workplace, you still want to support her in finding an internship. Give feedback on her resume, put out feelers in your personal network and see if friends at other companies have internships she’d be a fit for.”

“NTA for not referring her when she’s not a fit, but YWBTA for not finding other ways to support her. Because she will perceive that as you caring more about her brother or punishing her for her tattoos.” ~ Flaky-Row1723

Body art and other forms of creative personal expression should be the choice for each individual.

Unfortunately not everyone or every workplace will appreciate or accept those choices.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.