Forehead Tattoo Causes Problems

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  March 9, 2008 — 25 Comments

The Elmira Star-Gazette takes a look local residents and their tattoos. After spending some time with brothers getting memorial tattoos and a cancer survivor (and her friend) getting inked, the article turns to a local Wiccan woman and her forehead tattoo. Unsurprisingly, this has caused her a variety of problems.


Camilla Nhamercedes

“Along with the attention, Camilla said her tattoo brought another thing: discrimination. She said that it’s difficult to get through the entire job interview process without her tattoo becoming a hindrance … She said that her teachers at her adult education program even insisted that she find makeup to completely cover her tattoo so she could prepare for the work force. Camilla recalls one time where she completed an interview fairly successfully, only to have the interviewer notice her tattoo as she was shaking his hand. He stared at her and then drew his hand back as if it had been burned, she said. Camilla said she has never judged people based on their physical appearance, so she finds the treatment she has received hard to understand. She added that the manner in which potential employers have reacted to her tattoo has been frustrating. ‘They just kind of look at me weird and then I hear later from word-of-mouth that that was the reason they didn’t hire me,’ she said.”

The crescent-moon forehead tattoo isn’t entirely uncommon among modern Pagans, and was apparently first inspired by the tattoos given to priestesses of the Goddess in the cult-classic book “The Mists of Avalon”. A work so pervasively popular in some Pagan circles that it has been acknowledged as a primary source of spiritual inspiration in The Paganism Reader. However, despite this popularity, and despite the ongoing growth of modern Pagan religions, it will no doubt be several years before visible religiously-motivated facial tattoos are accepted in the more conservative regions of our country.

But conservative or not, small unobtrusive tattoos that express a religious belief shouldn’t preclude someone from being hired for a job they are qualified for. If Ms. Nhamercedes can provide proof that a job passed her over due to her tattoo, she may very well have grounds for legal action.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • wild-heart

    Her disbelief is disingenuous. Sorry . . . she’s old enough to know better.

  • Deborah

    It’s certainly possible that she’s very naive; maybe she’s Aspie or something. Nonetheless, any responsible tattoo artist would have warned her. It’s just not socially acceptable. I do skyclad circles, that doesn’t entitle me to show up nude for an interview. I’m also heavily tattooed but I don’t do interviews with the tattoos showing.

    • Kendra

      showing up nude to an interview is completely different than having a small facial tattoo.
      public nudity is against the law, having tattoos, even facial ones, is not.

  • Sravana

    “her teachers at her adult education program” kind of says it all, as well as explains her misunderstanding of the tat’s effect on others.

  • Jason Pitzl-Waters

    “kind of says it all”Doesn’t it say she is interested in self-improvement? There are plenty of excellent “adult education programs” that provide retraining and additional skill sets.

  • Patricia

    I’m sorry the lady has had problems, but, as I’ve told my daughter many times over the years, if you’re going to do something that you know full well is going to attract negative attention, you’ve no room to complain when you get it.

  • Aedus

    Headline reads: “Surprise! Facial tattoo’s cause problems getting regular work”I don’t mean to sound callous, but its just the social environment we live in.However, I’ll give credit where it is due. The only way the social climate changes is if someone (lots of someones) is willing to go out on a limb and do it.

  • Jean

    I have a Tri-moon with a pentacle in the center of the full moon done in black on my left cheekbone. I have had no negative experiences because of it, if anything it has caused many folks to simply ask about it and they haven’t been negative at all, just curious. I know what it means to me and I got it done for me. Its my face, if someone doesn’t like it – they needn’t look. There’s no point or sense in being rude, crass or judgemental. Those that may react in that way will be scratched off my books because they’re obviously not the type of person I want in my life anyway. If someone decides to judge me or treat me bad because they don’t like my ink or my hair or my skin – they’re too shallow and transparent for me anyhow. I tend to stay close to those who are accpeting and loving beyond appearances.Also – I really like her tattoo.

  • Erick Luiz

    I think it beautiful of her to show herself and her belief in such a way. Tattos are closely related to who we are and they speak for themselves. I haven’t got a tattoo and I’m a Pagan myself, and if I had the guts to have one, i’d like it to be a blue crescent on my brow. What keeps me from doing it is the fact that I’m terrified of needles and that society does not accept that in good terms, unfortunately. One must be totally aware of the consequences before such a thing. She was very brave and/or very naive to do it with no second thought, knowing that people does not see it well in majority.

  • staceee

    ew.

  • S’vanahsky

    I believe that too many pagans have kept a low profile for too long. And the fact that this woman was discriminated against because of her tattoo is evidence to me that it’s high time that the rest of us got out of our shells and let the rest of the world know that we are pagan and proud of it. Let’s face it…if she had a tattoo of a cross no one would have minded. It’s okay to be a Christian but not a pagan? That’s a bunch of bull. This country was founded on the fact that we are supposed to be able to have religious freedom. It’s just too pitiful that most non-christian religions are not granted the same freedoms. If this woman was Hindu and had a religious dot in the middle of her forehead no one would question her choice or turn her down for a job. Nor would they murmur behind her back when she left. We’re used to seeing this and it’s okay. If she were discrimated against for this reason I’m sure a lawsuit would have followed. Shame on everyone for being so damned judgemental!! I believe I will go out and get my forehead tattooed and maybe if others did the same it wouldn’t be so out of place.

  • Sharmia

    I agree with S'vanahsky comments, I am a pagan and proud to be so, I have just had the cresent moon forehead tattoo done myself, it is after all my face, my body. and no one has the right to judge another.

  • DrumhellerDryad

    she could always cut her hair so she has bangs. show it when it doesn't effect her job or get a job that it doesn't matter if it shows. i've seen some pretty funky, inked up or dreaded massage therapists, even in texas. *grin* we only live this incarnation once. why not get facial tats if it makes you happy.

  • ash

    why not just trim your bangs and wear a little concealer for work and interviews? it's tough that the world dosn't see things the way you do but it's something those of us in the Pagan/Wiccan community have to learn to live with and work around.

  • mysteria

    if it was a cross would anyone act negatively? no, because people should at least be tolerant. She's proud of her religion, so what? don't hate her just because she's proud.

  • Unegv Ugugu

    I recieved a similar tattoo a year ago as part of my initiation. It was my personal choice to choose the blue crescent (mine isnt filled in) because Mrs. Bradley's book is close to my heart AND it traditionally symbolizes the Goddess. I have had no negative reactions, but many questions. When I went for an interview to work at a law-firm i used concealer, then asked about the policy on visible tattoos AFTER i had the job, telling my boss that i had it the whole time. I told him i would cover it during work, but he said it was perfectly okay–we need more brave souls! Can I ask what you guys think about the crescent moon tattoo as a symbol of devotion?

  • Lori F – MN

    The company I work for has specific dress code rules. NO visible tatoos. No beards – technicians may need to wear resperators on the job. Men's hair must not touch the collar.
    Women are expected to wear nylons [as if!] and skirts at the office. [not likely]. And hair can't be dyed to unnatural colors. So, i guess bright blue or purple hair is out of the question.
    MANY companies have dress codes regarding visible tatoos. Trick is to find a job that doesn't have that particular dress code requirement.

  • Susan

    I was given the tattoo as well–I was initiated into a coven of Devotional Wicca and recieved it as a symbol of my devotion to the Goddess, as well as to mark me as Her priestess. It's been a year, and I've never had any problems. But I admire her devotion and bravery. She has as much right to wear it as I do, even if she's not a part of my tradition.

  • AMH

    I live in Northwest Alabama and met a youngish woman who has a similar crescent between her brows. I do admit to liking my former neighbors tatoo more than the one displayed above, primarily because the size is smaller and the crescent less noticeable due to lighter ink coloring I suggest. But it's not uncommon that you make a choice. I have chosen to not mark my body and while I didn't choose not to as a religious matter I dont doubt that I could begin to think of it as such.

  • Kathy

    I am also getting a crescent moon on my forehead for my birthday. It is my symbol of the Goddess and I will be proud to wear it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hanna-Klinkhammer/100000571111410 Hanna Klinkhammer

    I'm wondering why anyone could be discriminated for a work of art. I'm planning on getting a bat tattoo down my left shoulder, while I can easily cover it with a buttoned shirt things like this make me wonder if I should do this. I've always wanted a tattoo, but my mother constantly told me about the problems with getting one. I don't want to be rejected from a job just because I have a beautiful peice of body art and wear it proudly, i'm only 20 and the job. I wish I could be braver, but things just arnt working out that way. Life isnt fair though, and people shouldn't treat it that way or complain about it.

  • Maire

    If someone is hiring you to do a job, they generally don't want you to stand out in any way that may attract negative attention. The world is not fair and this is how the world of work is. A second issue is her weight. Unfortunately, people who are significantly overweight are at risk for not getting hired. Again, employers want healthy, high energy employees. for the most part. Lastly, judging by her photo taken for this article, she appears poorly groomed and dressed. Grooming and professional polished dress are "must haves" in todays employment market. I would suggest that she cover it up so that it only shows faintly. In the move, The Mists of Avalon, I like how subtle the tattoo is.

    Employers discriminate. Everyone discriminates on some level. Even neo-pagans. It's the way of this world.

  • Morgan

    I am a priestess of Devotional Wicca, and all the priests and priestesses in our covens have the same tattoo–we also hold jobs like everyone else, but i am aware of only one incident where it was a problem…on of our priests was threatened with expulsion from the trade school he attended, but once the lawyer was called in to ensure this didn't happen, everything was okay. there are about seven of them at that school now.

  • Sable

    err, here’s a thought. why not cover it with your hair?

  • Sable

    err, here’s a thought. why not cover it with your hair?