Taboo tattoos? A study of the gendered effects of body art on consumers' attitudes toward visibly tattooed front line staff

Chris Baumann, Andrew Richard Timming, Paul Gollan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The purpose of this experiment is to examine the gendered effects of body art on consumers’ attitudes toward visibly tattooed employees. We analyse the reaction of 262 respondents with exposure to male and female front line staff in two distinct job contexts: a surgeon and an automobile mechanic. The results demonstrate differences on three dimensions: a) job context, b) sex of face and c) stimulus (i.e., tattooed or not). We demonstrate significant interaction effects on those three dimensions, and our findings point to the intersectionality of gender-based and tattoo-based discrimination. Consumers have a negative reaction to body art, but perceptions of tattoos on male and female front line staff differ significantly. A key marketing challenge is how to balance employees’ individual rights to self-expression and at the same time cater to consumers’ expectations regarding appearance of staff. Our study forms the basis for this debate that is only just emerging.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-39
    JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
    Volume29
    Early online date21 Nov 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

    Keywords

    • Body art
    • Discrimination
    • Front line staff
    • Gender
    • Intersectionality
    • Tattoos

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