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Almost forty percent of Millenials (people ages 18-29) have at least one tattoo, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center study. The media-saturated culture in which they grew up may be a reason.

“Mainstream media, musicians and athletes — they were the jocks in school, and they were heavily tattooed,” said Kathouse Inc. Tattoo shop owner Cooper.

These Millennials may be trying to be part of the “cool crowd”, but tattoos still may not be completely acceptable to the rest of American society. Companies do have the right to refuse service to people because of their tattoos. For example, Disneyland’s company policy for tattoos states that visible tattoos that could be considered inappropriate are not permitted.

“As a business owner, you reserve the right to refuse service to anyone based on no reason at all, and if [a tattoo] is one of your reasons, then that’s one of your reasons,” said Juan Gomez, owner of Casa De Carlos Restaurant in Porter Ranch. The California Restaurant Association gives restaurant owners the right to implement neutral patron conduct rules, dress codes or other neutral admission policies that are equally applicable to all persons regardless of their sex, color, race, gender identity, disability or other protected characteristics.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve been [seated] in certain places at restaurants,” Cooper said. “I know I get followed [in stores], and I know I get treated differently by police officers.”

Tattoos can also have an impact on employment. Salary.com found that 76 percent of respondents said a tattoo or a piercing can hurt an applicant’s employment opportunities, although only 4 percent reported actually being discriminated against because of body art.

“My third tattoo ended up being on my hands, and we call those ‘job stoppers’,” said tattoo artist Brian, an apprentice at Kathouse Inc. “Every time I had an interview I had to cover my hands.”

Although Brian said he had some bad experiences with finding employment, Forbes Magazine reported in 2013 that some industries and some employers may be getting more relaxed with the idea of employee ink.

Many states, including California, have regulations about the process of getting and giving tattoos. California law requires that you have to be 18 or older to get a tattoo. California Department of Public Health regulations for tattoo parlors set sterilization, sanitation, and safety standards for tattooing, permenant cosmetics, and body piercings.

“We all take our blood borne pathogen [tests] to learn about cross contamination,” Cooper said. “The city comes in, we pay our fees, and [we] put [the certificate] on the wall.”

The popularity and acceptance of body art continues to grow.

“I don’t see it as a trend,” Cooper said. “I see it as something we just tapped into, and I think it’s going to keep on going.”


Moderator: Ashton Smith

Anchor: Nick Popham

Producers: Mirna Duron and Nick Popham

Reporters: Anna Akopyan, Mirna Duron, Nick Popham, Ericka Sims and Ashton Smith

Social Media: Anna Akopyan and Ericka Sims

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