Read BME and become the future

One of the very first cover images that BME had was a crudely Photoshopped picture of businesspeople with piercings and tattoos. As an amusing aside before I get into this entry’s meat, a funny anecdote — after posting this I got a very angry call from a well known piercer accusing me of making fun of him or insulting him in some way because he felt I had knocked off his backpiece in my editing of this picture. I think he get even angrier when I told him that it was pure coincidence, that I’d just tried to draw a generic cliché of a tribal tattoo. It really was just a random drawing with no inspiration being drawn from him, but the whole time I was keeping my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t notice that I had in fact used his ear, I think scanned from one of Fakir’s beautiful Body Play magazines. It’s also funny what garbage passed for acceptable Photoshopping at the time


Anyway, when this was posted, probably something like 1995 or 1996, most people were sort of like, “ha ha, tattoos and piercings on business people — we all know that will never happen!”

But of course the world did change, more than any of us could have expected. More than any of us could have hoped for. This morning I heard from my friend Matthew, who has worked in IT (networking to be specific) for years. He says, “I have always felt right at home with my facial tattoos, stretched earlobes, and other enhancements. The modified professional is nowhere more at home than working in network engineering, development, systems administration and product testing here on the West Coast — specifically, here in Seattle.”

He adds that he was watching a Cisco (a huge multinational megacorporation, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average) infomercial, and actor they chose to portray the “confident young ‘IT person’” is sleeved. That image that was aiming for the “dreaming big” future those long 17 years ago has really come true, at least in part. Yes, there are areas where we still have a way to go, but there are also areas where we succeeded years ago. Either way, things have gotten so much better, and they’re still getting better. We live in a world where it’s increasingly safe for a person to express themselves without risking their livelihood.


This reminds me — as some of you know, we’re currently making a push to repair some of the issues with BME, as well as adding new features. Something Rachel has wanted to do since I first met her, and gets mentioned practically weekly, is a database that keeps track of what employers are mod-friendly (and which are not). This has a prominent spot on my to-do list, and I think this is an excellent time to add it. It’s a useful feature for BME to have, not just for people looking for work, but also for consumers — I know that I would rather give my money to a company that I know tolerates personal freedom of expression among its employees.

11 thoughts on “Read BME and become the future

  1. I work in Russia in bodmod-friendly company. We are selling car tuning parts and autosport equipment all over Russia and nearest countries. We are number one and I working with customers directly. Yes, many of them are not ok with my light mods, but bigger part are ok now. I sell them what they need, they know that I’m a professional and they don’t care if I am modded)

  2. Having someone with “heavy tattooing” playing the role of an IT pro (in an advert) for a stuffy Fortune 500 company is one thing. Finding that the company actually employs someone like that is another. Even today, highly unlikely, unless the person kept their ink concealed.

  3. I remember that picture!

    For a guy, as long as we don’t have anything above our collar bones and nothing on our hands nobody will think twice. Even if you have something above your collar bone its probably ok so long as you dress up, are well groomed, and have a professional attitude.

  4. Actually reggie Cisco Systems regularly employs people with heavy modification. I use to do some work for them from time to time and I always saw heavily tattooed people working in their main corporate offices. They’ve always welcome me as well.

  5. Okay, that’s one company. Time will tell. Maybe others will post their observations or personal experiences.

    I.T. on the East coast, NYC metro area, AT&T, NYNEX, Merrill Lynch, Security Pacific Trust, others, even the NYC Dept of Social Services, not so accepting.

  6. I work at a law firm and before I got my first visible tattoo, I asked what the policy was. They couldn’t care less. Almost everyone there has piercings and/or tattoos of some sort. Since I plan to have a long term career there, I finally feel comfortable pursuing the other tattoo’s I’ve been planning on that I couldn’t have had in a regular office.

  7. Shannon, do you not remember Karl Elvis MacRae from rec.arts.bodyart? He was at Cisco way back then.

  8. Haha..I can’t believe it but I remember that old BME photoshop disaster. I think I actually saved it to my old computer cause I like it so much. 🙂 I use to take random pictures and shop plugs and piercings into them too.

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