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Piercing and Professionalism


BuffaloBuffalo
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So, I just received my first acceptance letter, to the University of Memphis' MA program (waitlisted for funding).  They were the school I applied to with the earliest deadline, and so I expect I'll start to receive the rest of my decision letters shortly.  I'm starting to think about going to schools, meeting professors, being a graduate student and possibly teaching undergrads, and, well, the question of personal presentation and "professionalism" is weighing on my mind.  As you might guess from the title, I have a fair amount of piercings in my face and ears (my septum, both nostrils, and then 4 in each ear) .  I know that wearing facial piercings is usually considered fairly unprofessional, but I guess my question is, how worried about this should I be? 

If it makes any difference, my writing sample (which I'm submitting to journals) was about body piercing (sort of a Foucauldian archaeology of the body piercing industry), and I'm intending to pursue this project further in my Master's, and I applied exclusively to continental programs.

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No idea how piercings are perceived in academia. May be okay since this is a long-term thing, not, say, a job interview. Just keep in mind that we're not at the point where extensive piercings or tattoos have no shock value at all, and that this probably goes for the general public and even more so in academia.

Writing sample topic sounds cool but honestly makes no difference to your concerns about professionalism.

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5 hours ago, BuffaloBuffalo said:

So, I just received my first acceptance letter, to the University of Memphis' MA program (waitlisted for funding).  They were the school I applied to with the earliest deadline, and so I expect I'll start to receive the rest of my decision letters shortly.  I'm starting to think about going to schools, meeting professors, being a graduate student and possibly teaching undergrads, and, well, the question of personal presentation and "professionalism" is weighing on my mind.  As you might guess from the title, I have a fair amount of piercings in my face and ears (my septum, both nostrils, and then 4 in each ear) .  I know that wearing facial piercings is usually considered fairly unprofessional, but I guess my question is, how worried about this should I be? 

If it makes any difference, my writing sample (which I'm submitting to journals) was about body piercing (sort of a Foucauldian archaeology of the body piercing industry), and I'm intending to pursue this project further in my Master's, and I applied exclusively to continental programs.

I've known some heavily tattooed and pierced philosophers, so you wouldn't be entirely without company. Academic philosophy in general is pretty casual. That being said, I think what's probably most important for making a good/professional impression is that a person dresses neatly and is otherwise well-kempt.

Edited by hector549
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2 hours ago, hector549 said:

I've known some heavily tattooed and pierced philosophers, so you wouldn't be entirely without company. Academic philosophy in general is pretty casual. That being said, I think what's probably most important for making a good/professional impression is that a person dresses neatly and is otherwise well-kempt.

After I posted this, I remembered that the director at one of the departments I applied to has an eyebrow piercing in her faculty photo, so I'm thinking this is likely the case.  I am generally a pretty clean dresser, actually kind of boring/normie in spite of all my piercings, and somewhat obsessive about keeping my face clean-shaven/my hair well groomed, so I'm feeling pretty good.  

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I think as long as you're well groomed (shower, clean clothes, professional dress), you won't get significant flack or stigma from any professor. Maybe a harmless joke from a traditionalist, but you don't need to be worried about that. Haters gonna hate.

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