Business instructor Martha Laham breaks taboos with body art

 (Zack Becker)

(Zack Becker)

DVC business instructor Martha Laham has the professional look of any other business instructor on campus.

But under her long sleeves and high boots, she is canvassed almost head to toe in an array of intricately detailed “Sailor Jerry” and Disney character tattoos that map out her life.

Laham got her first tattoo back in the mid ’80s when tattoos were still somewhat taboo, certainly for someone in the business environment. She noticed people treated her differently after she got her first visible tattoos.

Since then the popularity of tattoos has grown to such extent about one third of the Y generation has physically altered their appearance, Laham says.

“A lot of our students have moved away from ‘tribal,'” she says of the on-campus trends. “They are starting to get ones that tell stories.”

Although bi-coastally, tattoos have become more accepted, Laham says the middle of the country is not as liberal.

“My one caution to young people is, tattoos are permanent,” she says. “It’s important, if they are going to get into tattooing, that it be in places they can cover up.”

Laham plans to get more tattoos, mostly on her legs.

“Don’t be fooled by appearances,” she says, half seriously. “Come test time, I’m as much an authoritarian as any other instructor.”