A new Army tattoo policy is set to ban visible ink on its soldiers, prohibiting tattoos below the elbows and knees, and above the neck, reports the Huffington Post on Sept. 24. The new regulations are meant to update the standards of personal appearance for those who serve in the U.S. Army, but the backlash over the proposed directive is already being felt.
The changes will update Army Regulation 670-1, which prohibits tattoos that are considered “extremist, indecent, sexist or racist.” The new regulation will ban young men and women from joining the Army if they have visible tattoos on their arms or legs. Those with existing tattoos in these areas will likely be grandfathered in, although recruits with unacceptable tattoos may be asked to cover the costs to have them removed.
Those who volunteer to join the U.S. Army may be expected to lay their life on the line in defense of the United States and its people. The ultimate sacrifice better not come from those with ink on their arms however, as the Army looks to raise the standards of acceptability.
Commenters on the Huffington Post article are mixed; some are praising the Army for the move in raising the bar, others are crying foul.
“I love our younger generation for their self expression. Too bad Uncle Sam is still just a cranky old buzzard,” writes one Army vet.
“As usual, when they can’t discriminate against you for one thing they will just find another,” writes Rebecca Howarth.
“So I guess because I have visible tattoos, which by the way are covered up COMPLETELY while in combat or fatigues, I wouldn't be able to protect you or anyone else in combat? I'm sorry that I couldn't protect you because I had a tattoo that was below my elbow. My condolences to your family,” writes another commenter.
Tattoo artist Christopher Nash, who runs Triple 7 Studio in Tennessee, said he has recently inked a number of existing soldiers who saw this new policy coming. Nash is not opposed to the rule change, although he also said that if the art doesn’t upset some people, “your art isn’t worthwhile.”
“This is like the last rebel art form,” Nash said. “I can see the benefits of it being accepted into the mainstream, because that means more money for me. But I'm not only in it for the money.”
So ‘be all you can be,’ says the Army, (as long as we can’t see it).
What are your thoughts on this new policy? Sound off below.