Monday, September 17, 2007

Heavy metal

A Heathrow Airport worker has been dismissed for wearing a nose stud. This via the BBC news website.

We are reminded that, last year, British Airways got into a tizz about the wearing of an ornamental cross. BA backed down when the defenders of the faith came across loud and aggressive.

This time round:
Amrit Lalji, 40, of Stanmore, north-west London, who worked for caterers Eurest, said she wore the tiny piercing as a mark of her Hindu faith.
Well, fair enough, thinks Malcolm. To each his own, etc., etc.

However, what about the aesthetic susceptibilities of the rest of us? Since Ms Lalji is, it seems, working with the public, does the customer have a right to a point of view? Can, or should a line of "decency" be drawn? What are the limitations on acceptable dress-code and appearance? Malcolm wonders when he is entitled to walk away from something or someone whose manner or dress (or lack of it) or openly-declared and advertised beliefs offends him.

Malcolm admits to a prejudice against mutilation, especially that which is voluntary, self-inflicted and in the cause of personal adornment. Even worse is that which is imposed as some kind of property-brand. The child-in-arms with ear-rings is, to him, an open-and-shut case of child-abuse.

Permissiveness works both ways. At what point does another's objectionable attitudes, behaviour and appearance intrude on our life-style? Is it the first or the fifteenth tattoo? The "tiny piercing" or the full faceload of metal? Sphere: Related Content

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