Why is there still a stigma around women having tattoos?

We don’t care what you think of our ink


Tattoos are the ultimate form of self expression. The trend of permanently marking one’s skin with a piece of art, or with words, has become increasingly popular – especially within the millennial generation. And according to The Harris Poll, 47 percent of millennials are inked. 

So why is it that in the media, those who are presented to us as tatted are burly, biker men, and rarely women?

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For as long as I can remember, I have loved the idea of tattoos. So, on my 18th birthday I got this small pair of quotation marks on my left foot to symbolize not only my love for writing, but that life is unscripted and I can write my story in whatever way I please.

Of course tattoos don’t always have to have some deeper meaning – sometimes they just look damn cool.

Because of my fascination with tattoos and the stereotypes surrounding them, I took it upon myself to talk to my fellow inked chicks and ask they about what they have gone through with their body art: the meaning behind it (if any), why they got it, if they have ever felt discriminated against because of their tatts, etc.

In doing so, it is my hope to show that women of all shapes, sizes, and colors are inked and important.

Valerie Beeston

I’ve got two tattoos, but my parents only know about one. My dad absolutely hates my ankle tattoo, but my mom told me she doesn’t mind if I get tattoos or piercings as long as I never dye my hair.

The tattoo has meaning (it’s an unalome), but if I’m being honest, I got it for purely aesthetic reasons. Tattoos don’t have to have super important in my opinion. People are always shocked that I have tattoos because I have a baby face, but then again mine are both small and not really on show most of the time.

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Stacey Astill

I have a large tattoo on my left arm, and a lady face on my right calf. Neither of them have any particular meaning – I just really love the artist so always go back to her.

My first one was the arm, and I just told her I liked books and tea. She designed it and I didn’t see it until the morning of! Some people can be a bit funny about it. My parents don’t like how big it is, but grudgingly admit they like the art.

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I’m fat, so I’m not generally considered attractive enough to be ‘told off ‘ for art. I definitely get more comments from people about my leg tattoo.

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Remi Nicole Monaghan

My mom and I got our tattoos together. When I was young she would sing this song to me every day, so it actually has a lot of meaning.

I personally haven’t had anyone say anything negative to me about it, but sometimes I wish I would’ve gotten it in a more private location. Oh well, no going back now!

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Millie Olivia Sansoye

I have 12 tattoos, and I couldn’t give a fuck what people think.

I get dodgy looks when I walk around my hometown because it’s predominantly Asian and I’m Asian. . . Asian women do not do stuff like get tattoos and piercings.

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My parents are really liberal and their attitude is that it’s my body and my choice, so I can do whatever I want with it so long as I fund my tattoos myself.

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Caroline Phinney

You would never think it because media is a sly devil, but I have seven of them.

The first is the most meaningful to me: (i carry it in my heart), E. E. Cummings. I am a writer, he is one of my favorite poets, and this is one of my favorite poems.

Some believe seven is “too many,” but they are not just on me – I consider them a part of me.

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My parents have never reprimanded me for them. My father once said, “My telling you that I don’t like something isn’t going to make you like it any less,” and he was right.

I have no desire to preserve a ‘perfect’ body. I would rather look back one day – grayed hair, wrinkled skin, faded tattoos – and know that I didn’t hold back (and that I looked like a total babe while living it up).

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Lauren Sarah Cocking

My ankle tattoo is a paper airplane, and it signifies my degree and aspirations – travel and writing.

I drew it myself too! My sister told me it looked like a biro drawing. I was in my second year of uni when I got it, so I guess I was 19.

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My wrist tattoo is the female symbol, and it is because I identify as a feminist. I told my parents via email after getting them, and they weren’t too bothered. I got the wrist one in Mexico when I was 20.

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Nicole Brabender

I have two tattoos. One is on my ribs and it says ‘long live’ – it’s a reference to the Taylor Swift song because she’s always been there for me.

It’s even more special now because she followed me on tumblr in May and asked to meet me after I flew to Singapore to see her in November!

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My second is my Grandmother’s handwriting – I absolutely love it, but it’s a bit wonky. I got the long live tattoo when I was 18 and the wrist one about six months later.

I don’t regret either of them, but some people do look at me weirdly for my wrist tattoo – especially in job interviews. But if someone doesn’t want to employ me because of my tattoos, then I don’t want to work for them.
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My dad wasn’t a fan of the first one but he couldn’t complain about the second because it was his mum’s handwriting.

My mum made a really big deal of the first one and demanded to see photos of it and everything – she’s never actually seen that one in person, but by the second she didn’t care at all.

Mared Emlyn Parry

I have quite a few tattoos. I had my first two on my hip when I was 16-17, obviously without parent’s permission. They had no clue!

My mom flipped out when she found out about the first, but she got used to it after about a week. I’ve always loved tattoos since I was a little girl, and used to look at my granddad’s arm tattoos that he got when he was in the army and say “I want pictures on me too.”

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I’m 19 now and I have 7 tattoos. I love them and I plan to get more. I get them because I like them – none have “deep meanings.”

A few guys have said to me, “I don’t think tattoos on women are very feminine,” but I just laugh in their faces. Why do they think I care about their opinion on my body. Luckily it’s mostly compliments I get about my tattoos – people start conversations with me because of them.

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Caroline McMullen

I have a micro tattoo on my wrist. I got it when I found out my sister had thyroid cancer. Clearly I’m not great at reacting to things, but I love it.

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Emili Stevenson

I got a rose on my leg about two days after my 20th birthday, and it doesn’t have any particular meaning. My mom is not a big fan at all (she thinks it makes me look rough), but my dad likes it.

Some people have definitely eyeballed it on the bus or in the gym, but I’ve only ever had one guy be outright rude, saying, “It makes you uglier” – kind of a pointless statement seeing as it’s my leg and I put it there.

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A lot of people are surprised when I say it’s my first tattoo because it’s pretty large. There seems to be this idea that women only get tiny tattoos and men only get full blackwork sleeves, but that’s not necessarily true.

If it’s on your body and makes you happy, who cares? I also have a black star on my arm, which was done as a Bowie tribute tattoo. The parlor did a charity Bowie flash day after he died with all the money going to cancer research UK.

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Carly Weiss

This is my first tattoo! These words, ‘a heart feels a heart,’ are words my Mema (grandma) always used to say.

They are the words printed on her foot stone, and that is why I placed them on my foot. After I got this tattoo I felt closure from her passing. It is amazing to be able to carry a little piece of her everyday.

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Suzanne Stone

I have one tattoo, and I got it when I was 18. It doesn’t really have meaning – I just wanted a flower and my grandma’s name is Lily, so I got a lily!

My parents were not very keen at first. My dad is quite funny about tattoos because of what employers might think, but my mom was more lax (just so long as I got it somewhere I could hide it). My only regret is that I can’t show it off more. I can’t wait for my next one!

The only problem I’ve had is getting the right shoes for work, because I am not allowed to have it on show.

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Victoria Fleurat-Smith

I was born in China, and I lived there until I was three. It’s always been my idea to get ‘made in China tattooed,’ and when I turned 18 I finally did it!

My parents were both supportive. My 75 year old dad even came into the tattoo shop with me! It was a great experience. Everyone thinks my tattoo is hilarious, and I love it.

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There you have it! Just a couple of babes who DGAF about what you think of their ink.

As more and more people go through with tattoos, hopefully the stigma surrounding people with them, especially women, will diminish.

I mean what would be cooler than an office full of people who are not afraid to show off the body art they worked to pay for?