Diminutive blonde Jessie Morgan is surprised when people call her scary.
Senior citizens shoot her disgusted looks in shopping centres and at bars, 20-something men suggest she is ‘‘not very girly’’.
Miss Morgan (pictured), a child-care trainee, is convinced she would never have got her job if, at the interview, she hadn’t concealed the half-sleeve tattoo she believes is responsible for all the disapproval.
‘‘People want that clean, professional look,’’ said Miss Morgan, of Towradgi.
‘‘If I go for a job I wear a jacket because I don’t want people to think I’m out there and bad - because that’s the image people have got.’’
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Miss Morgan, who turns 21 tomorrow, said prominent tattoos were on the rise because her generation appreciated its artistry and liked to mark important moments or life lessons with ink.
But she is frustrated at the ‘‘discrimination’’ she says the tattoos are attracting in the workforce and at bars and clubs, where overt or informal policies exist banning entry to people with visible body ink.
She is furious that the NSW Police Commissioner is considering denying entry to the Police Academy to new recruits with prominent tattoos.
‘‘I work five days a week. I’m really good at my job. I’ve never been in a fight,’’ Miss Morgan said. ‘‘We’re not bikies getting tattoos these days. We’re just kids marking moments in our lives.
‘‘It angers me that I have to cover my tattoos up.’’
Miss Morgan had her brother Shae’s name tattooed on her wrist shortly after her 18th birthday when, after years of fighting between them, she realised she couldn’t live without him.
Next she got a script tattooed around one of her thighs in appreciation of her mother, ‘‘my rock’’.
‘‘Continually failing these trials but you stand with me nonetheless,’’ it says.
Her half-sleeve tattoo, showing Little Red Riding Hood and a hollow-eyed wolf (‘‘she kind of faces the bad guy but she still gets help in the end’’ - the story has parallels with her own life), her date of birth and a clockface, took nine hours of work.
‘‘I wouldn’t get a full sleeve because if I want to go on and become a primary school teacher you have to cover up.
‘‘I wouldn’t want to take away the chance of my getting into a career,’’ Miss Morgan said.