Tattoo ban n the army?

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560
Tattoo ban n the army?

U.S. Army Set to Ban Tattoos Below the Elbow or Knees - NationalJournal.com

The U.S. military and tattoos have an entangled history. The rise of the tattoo in popular culture started with floods of inked veterans?especially from World War II?returning home with them. The first tattoo parlor in New York City, established in 1846, served to mark up Civil War soldiers.
It is that strong history that's probably the reason why a blog post on the Army's website declared in 2009, "Today, it seems, you couldn't throw a rock into an Army formation without hitting a Soldier with at least one tattoo."
So it might be strange for the Army to put forth a new rule banning them on commonly tattooed portions of the body.
At the Stars and Stripes, Josh Smith (a former National Journal reporter) reports that Secretary of the Army John McHugh has approved, but not yet signed, a change to the Army's appearance regulations that would ban tattoos from the forearm, below the knee, or above the neckline. The Army will also require the removal of offensive tattoos, Smith reports,
Current soldiers may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers will still be barred from having any tattoos that are racist, sexist, or extremist.

Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will sit down with their unit leaders and "self identify" each tattoo. Soldiers will be required to pay for the removal of any tattoo that violates the policy, [Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler] said.
Forcing the removal of offensive tattoos is a step up in severity from current regulations. Currently, "commanders may not order the removal of a tattoo or brand. However, the commander must counsel soldiers, and afford them the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration of the tattoo or brand." If the soldier does respond to the counsel, the commander is to make sure "the soldier understands the policy."
For reference, here's what the Army considers offensive in tattoos.
(2) Tattoos or brands that are extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist are prohibited, regardless of location on the body, as they are prejudicial to good order and discipline within units.

Angel Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities. Extremist philosophies, organizations, and activities are those which advocate racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance; advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, ethnicity, religion, or national origin; or advocate violence or other unlawful means of depriving individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, federal, or state law (see para 4?12, AR 600?20).

(b) Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, or propriety; shock the moral sense because of their vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature or tendency to incite lustful thought; or tend reasonably to corrupt morals or incite libidinous thoughts.

(c) Sexist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender, but that may not meet the same definition of "indecent."

(d) Racist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.

Debate - What do you think? Good policy or not?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Wow. Just....wow.

Dumbest thing I've heard of this week, but it's only Tuesday.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

Overall, I am not personally a fan of tattoos. However, I think this is a waste of time and will discourage otherwise good soldiers from enlisting.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I think that even when you're in the army, your body belongs to you.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think that even when you're in the army, your body belongs to you.

While I agree that this is a stupid rule (a tattoo is not going to interfere with you job in the army), I do think an employer has the right to enforce a dress code including no visible tattoos. Most places that I know of that have a policy like this though just require a long sleeve or high necked shirt under their clothes.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

This isn't really that new. Previously that is what the rules were, and they relaxed them a little to boost enlistment during the Iraq war. They are just going back to the old rules since now they are cutting back personnel again. Each service branch also has different rules. It isn't just tattoos, there are a lot of rules about makeup, piercings, hair, nail polish, etc. The funniest rule I think is that military are not allowed to talk on a cell phone while walking around. It always seems so strange when I am talking to my son on the phone and he tells me he has to hang up to hang up to walk in somewhere. Smile

Army tightens rules on hair, tattoos, makeup | Army Times | armytimes.com

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

While I agree that this is a stupid rule (a tattoo is not going to interfere with you job in the army), I do think an employer has the right to enforce a dress code including no visible tattoos. Most places that I know of that have a policy like this though just require a long sleeve or high necked shirt under their clothes.

I would be okay with the army forcing active duty soldiers to cover their visible tattoos with long sleeves and pants. I'm not okay with them forcing soldiers to undergo tattoo removal.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Thanks for putting your a$$ on the line in service of your country. Bye the way, we hate your tats and if you wanna keep your job you need to get them removed....at your cost." Nice....