Tattoos are no longer reserved for bikers, soldiers and other tough guys; in fact, tattoos for women are becoming just as much the norm as tattoos on men. They don't just grace the bodies of celebrities, either; today many everyday women, from professionals to stay-at-home moms, are getting tattoos.
History of Women and Tattoos
One of the first famous tattooed women was Betty Broadbent. Starting in around 1927, she began an illustrious career with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. Betty was one of the first women ever to have a full body tattoo, and also one of the first to be tattooed by the "new" electric tattoo machine. Her full body tattoo was done by a New York artist named Charlie Wagner, and after getting tats all over her body, she displayed them in the circus side shows, earning quite a bit of money (and reputation). Eventually, Betty became a tattoo artist herself and worked at the job until her retirement in 1967.
Many other tattooed ladies helped make tattoos for women more popular. While most females who had a lot of body art stayed in the circus arenas, others broke out into modeling and other entertainment avenues.
Heart Tattoos for Women
The types of tattoos that women choose to get are as diverse as women themselves. One famous tattoo that has been reproduced many times on the bodies of women is a small heart tattoo that was first inked on Janis Joplin. Just before her death, Joplin got this heart inked over her left breast, completed by famous tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle. In the year after her death in 1970, Tuttle estimated that he completed over 100 copies of this famous heart.
Hearts make a great statement for many women, who want to have something permanent to remind them of a person they love. Some choose to get these tattoos with a name inked in a banner across them, in order to memorialize or pay tribute to an important love. Others just like the beauty of a heart tattoo. Of course, there are many other images that are seen as "women's tattoos" besides a heart.
Many tattoo enthusiasts also see flowers as tattoos for women, although the first floral tattoos were inked on men. Butterflies, fairies, dragonflies and other delicate images are also primarily tattooed on women. Other women eschew the idea of a female tat, and decide to get tattoos that would usually be seen on men. These include tats of skulls, snakes, dragons, daggers and various other images that are usually seen as male.
Another type of tattoo that is often seen on a woman is a male-oriented tattoo that has been given a bit of a female flare. Some women may choose to get a dragon tattoo, for example, but have it colored in such a way that it is unmistakably female. Other examples are flames (colored purple and pink instead of the traditional red and yellow) and skulls that have flowers intertwined in the design.
Female Tattoo Placement
While women have been tattooed all over their bodies, there is no denying that there are a few areas that tend to be more popular and frequently inked than others. These include:
- The lower back: This uniquely female tattoo site is perfect for showing off in a pair of low rise jeans, because this area of the back rarely stretches as you age. Keep in mind that it is a frequently inked spot with a less-than-appealing nickname; sometimes it is referred to as a "tramp stamp."
- The ankle: Getting an anklet tattooed just above the foot is a delicate way to add some sensuality to the tattoo spot. Men rarely get tattoos that are confined solely to this area, making it a distinctly female spot.
- The back of the neck: Women with longer hair may find the back of the neck to be an attractive place to get inked. The tattoo is easily hidden when your hair is down, and shown off in seconds when the hair is pulled up. Keep in mind that if you get inked here and decide to sport shorter hair, you will miss the ability to cover the tat easily.
- Upper back and shoulders: The upper back gives a lot of easily concealed canvas for women who want a larger tattoo that doesn't come with the "tramp stamp" label. Using both shoulders also adds some symmetry to the design.
Finding Womanly Tats
There is a wealth of information and examples on the Internet of women's tats. Places to get more ideas include the following:
- If you are leaning towards a floral design, check out BMEzine's floral tattoo section.If you are more interested in something large and intricate, a fairy might be just the image you are looking for.
- This gallery at Get Tattoos Ideas has a number of examples.
- Finally, if you'd like to get that ubiquitous heart tattoo, check out some great heart tattoos at Tattoo Design.
Remember, the tattoo you choose should mean something to you - and not just be what society dictates as a "woman's" tattoo. Pick an image that's important to your life.