3 Misconceptions People Have About Women with Tattoos

3 Misconceptions People Have About Women with Tattoos

Everywhere you look, someone has a tattoo: Teens have them. Celebrities have them. Girls on Pinterest have them. It appears that body art and modification is no longer classified as strictly deviant behavior (my dad still likes to tell me that when he was a kid tattoos were for criminals and sailors) and is now considered fairly normal. Despite my parents’ (and their generation’s) general disapproval of body art, tattoos have been recorded as being a part of human history for thousands of years. Mummies have been discovered with tattoos, some dated as older than 5,000 years. And today, 36% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 have at least one tattoo.


I had my first tattoo done at 18 and have added many since. I was expecting the various issues with work (stay covered), parental disapproval (my mom cried), and general weirdness (people uncomfortable with my presence or asking what my tattoos represent), I never expected the random comments from some people regarding stereotypes of women with tattoos.

Intrigued, I began to search – and though there were some rather interesting findings showing that men are just as likely as women to be tattooed – unfortunately the majority of what I stumbled upon were opinion pieces; mostly expressing how women with body modifications were “broken.”


1. Women with tattoos are promiscuous.

It would seem that several of the generalized preconceptions emerged with an attempt at connecting these “facts” to a woman’s sex life (such as this heartwarming post – be warned, it can be considered offensive if you take it to heart. Read this response if you feel outraged). These notions are outdated, most often expressed by those who do not have a high opinion of women to begin with. Being liberal with your sex life has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you are tattooed, and more to the point, it is anyone’s right to behave as they wish – sexually liberated or abstaining. Your choice.


2. Some women use tattoos make themselves seem attractive to the opposite sex.

Someone even posted on reddit that because women find tattoos attractive on men, they tattoo themselves to become more appealing. They felt that this was equivalent to a man growing breasts because he finds them attractive.

This argument obviously falls flat when you take into account that some women are attracted to women, or not attracted to anyone – there is a very wide range of sexual attraction or lack thereof to consider. There is a very wide range of attraction, and to set a specific standard of attractive qualities, as Forney did in the aforementioned offensive article, is ludicrous.

Further more, a 2011 study showed that the majority of women in fact dress for other women. Why then would women seek to make themselves physically appealing for men?


3. Women with tattoos are mentally ill.

Following Mr. Forney’s very opinionated post on why he believes women with body modifications are broken, there was (naturally) a fair amount of outcry. This led to another (chauvinist) coming to his defense. They make no attempt to disprove the arguments of the opposition, nor do they address them in any way beyond mockery and sarcasm. They will then of course be able to prove that depression, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders show a preference for tattoos. To this I say tattoos and other body modifications have become therapeutic for sufferers of various disorders, sexual assault victims have found modification to be therapeutic.


At the end of the day, tattoos have become a means of self expression and even healing for many women. Women have had the sites of their mastectomies tattooed to find closure and reconnect with their bodies after winning their fight with cancer, and no woman gets tattooed just because it “looks cool” or because “it makes them more interesting.” Getting tattooed is a deeply personal process, and body modification is much more than people perceive it to be. It is not attention-seeking behavior, and it is not a declaration of being broken. It is my declaration of true self, my road map of my journey and I will never be made to feel ashamed of my body art because of the ignorance of few.

What do you think of body modification? Is it something you have done or will do?

Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.