Man Looks Annoyed

Getting pierced is a deeply personal choice, and the only one who needs to love your piercing is you. However, many of us struggle with the idea of people judging us because of our fashion choices. It may seem ridiculous that in 2020, people still care about the way that you choose to decorate yourself, but the fact is that you might receive some judgment.

If you’re considering a new piercing, but you’re afraid of what other people might think, here are some things to consider.

Piercing discrimination will likely depend on your location

If you live in a large city, especially a more alternative one, then a handful of facial piercings likely won’t turn many heads. After all, when your city has a guy who regularly dresses up as Darth Vader, hops on his unicycle, and plays the bagpipes down the streets, piercings won’t be the weirdest thing others will see.

If you live in a smaller town or in more conservative places, your piercings could draw attention. Although piercings are becoming more common, there are still piercing styles—like surface piercings, multiple lip piercings, and tongue piercings—that are still considered quite alternative. While you might only get a side look or a snide comment, some piercees have claimed that they receive some negative feedback and distrust based on ignorant assumptions of the piercing world.

If this doesn’t bother you, then don’t worry about it; you won’t be in any danger because of your piercings. However, if this is something that you know you’d be uncomfortable with, choose dainty jewelry styles or piercings that can easily be hidden.

Piercings can affect your employability

Although both piercings and tattoos are becoming more accepted in professional environments, many larger corporations still have strict rules surrounding alternative fashion choices, especially if you work in customer service.

If you have piercings, you might have to learn how to hide them for your job.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t get piercings at all. If you have a job interview coming up, you should probably wait to get a new piercing because you won’t be able to take your piercing out. Once the piercing is healed, you can put in piercing retainers to keep the hole open in a discrete way, or you can take out the jewelry entirely. Keep in mind, however, that some piercings can close within a matter of hours, so you do run the risk of losing your piercing if you choose the latter option.

Be aware of cultural acceptance when you travel internationally

Most Western countries hold a similar view to piercings and tattoos as the US, so you often don’t have to worry too much when you’re traveling to Europe or other similar places. You only might consider wearing daintier pieces of jewelry when you fly in case you come across an ignorant immigration officer that might judge you for your hardware.

However, many countries in Asia and the Middle East and other cultures have a different view of tattoos and body piercings. For example, in Japan, those who have visible tattoos aren’t allowed in many of their hot springs. While it may be frustrating as a tattooed/pierced person to deal with these cultural differences, it is important to remember that, as a traveler, you’re a guest in their country and should do your best to adhere to their practices.

woman traveling in Asia

Always be respectful of how other cultures view piercings.

Do your research beforehand, and if you’re going to a place that frowns upon piercings or tattoos, make sure that they aren’t visible or that you’re wearing piercing retainers.

It’s also important to note that you should keep your jewelry to a minimum when you’re in poorer areas. Besides the fact that it’s a bit rude to flaunt your jewelry, you might inadvertently make yourself a target for robbery. Be safe, and either wear subtle jewelry or piercing retainers.

Final discrimination advice

Piercings are an individual expression, and you shouldn’t care what others think, but we understand that it’s easier said than done. If you’re uncomfortable in a situation where you feel as though you’re being judged, invest in some daintier jewelry pieces that are less likely to draw attention. Be aware of the local culture, even domestically, and plan your jewelry choices accordingly. And, if you know that you won’t be okay with discrimination, make sure that you’re choosing piercings that are more widely accepted, like cartilage or nostril piercings.

When in doubt, choose high-quality gold jewelry. Things like diamonds are timeless, whether they’re on your finger or in your lip. Those who might judge you may be less likely to do so if you’re wearing a beautiful gemstone ring versus bright neon acrylic jewelry.

Looking for some dainty body jewelry designs? Check out some of our favorites.


  • Nanc

    June 21, 2012at9:21 am

    As a visibly modified parent (3/4 lobes) and numerous visable large tattoos people do judge my parenting on them. But I’ve come to a point in life that Inhonestoybdon care anymore. I will raise my son to be the most respectable smart little man that I can. And that’s all you. An do, prove people wrong. It’s sad that in 2012 people are still being discriminated against because they wanted to add a little decoration to themselves. Stay strong, don’t give up piercings that you love just because people are close minded.

  • Kim

    June 21, 2012at11:41 am

    I feel for you, I have 12 piercings and I get looks too, stay strong sweetie <3

  • Bill Olson

    July 22, 2012at2:26 am

    I have 6 ear piercings when I was younger. I got stares from old people and admiration from younger ones.

  • March 11, 2013at9:42 am
  • Beazbear

    September 30, 2021at8:35 am

    My daughter goes to a college where they’ve said nose studs are ok (largely because of the sub Indian cultural representation at the institution) but no nose ring is allowed which is frustrating because she has a septum piercing. I’m fudged off about it all!

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