Once upon a time female tattoos were rare, shocking, remarkable.
Tattoos were for dangerous men only: outlaw bikers and career criminals.
They made tough men look tougher.
Final tattoo quality was wildly varied, and hygiene standards were not even discussed.
Tattoos could turn out looking pretty rough… AND lead to infection or disease.
So for a long time, tattoos on women were hardly ever seen.
But way, way back in the middle of those dark ages, I turned 21.
And I decided I should mark this big birthday by getting a tattoo…
Luckily, the tattoo studio was clean and sterile.
I didn’t end up with Hepatitis C.
But at the time, that little black flower on my shoulder was OUTRAGEOUS.
It drew gasps of shock from my friends.
My dad was APPALLED, and didn’t speak to me for weeks.
Now these days, that kind of reaction would only happen in an Amish community.
Because now tattoos are everywhere.
You see them on everyone from celebrities to housewives to grandmothers.
And female tattoos are a booming industry.
The latest stats say that more women than men have tattoos.
Why is this?
Why are tattoos for women so popular?
Sure, they can be pretty.
But they’re more than just decoration – they can have a highly personal meaning, too.
Let me show you what I mean.
Tattoos for Women: What’s the Big Deal?
I think there are 8 main reasons that women’s tattoos have really taken off.
1. Female tattoos can be super feminine
Far from being rough, tough outlaw badges of honor, tattoos for women can actually get pretty girly.
Who would ever have thought THAT was possible?
Traditionally feminine designs include flowers, leaves, trees, animals, patterns, and a range of softer colors, including lighter pinks, blues and even whites.
This means that female tattoos can be a celebration of femininity.
They’re not just for the hard-as-nails women in Sons of Anarchy.
2. Female tattoos can help fix mistakes of the past
Cover-ups are big business in tattoo studios.
A new, improved design can represent a fresh start, and wipe out bad decisions from the past.
A beautiful new design can erase the name of an ex on your skin forever.
Or it could over-write a tattoo you got when you were 17, and hadn’t quite worked out that 47 beers could lead directly to some terrible choices.
3. Female tattoos can showcase a passion
I love that scene in the movie Wild Hogs, where the computer geek played by William H. Macy shows off his tattoo in a frankly terrifying biker bar.
He loves Apple computers, so he has the Apple trademark tattooed on his arm.
It’s got little stripes of colour in it and is really pretty.
He’s so proud of it.
He got it done at the mall.
Now, the biker gang are all covered in big scary tattoos.
They think the cute little apple is hilarious.
But what a great example of how tattoos have gone mainstream.
These days, you don’t need to be in a biker gang to get one.
You just need a passion (or a design) that you feel really strongly about.
Of course, not everyone wants a company logo tattooed on their arm.
You might have a more visually pleasing passion that will translate well into body art.
For example, if you’re really into birds, then a little flock of your own flying down your arm could be a wonderful thing.
I’ve noticed that dog people and cat people often carry portraits of their beloved animals on their skin, too.
It’s a great way to stay connected to something you really love – 24/7.
4. Female tattoos can work as jewellery
Some tattoos for women are designed purely to be beautiful.
They’re wearable art, and your skin is the canvas.
It’s not so different from putting on a wonderful bracelet or necklace.
And if you have a lot of input into the design process, that piece of jewellery will be uniquely yours.
No-one else will have one the same.
5. Female tattoos can offer words to live by
Many women’s tattoos are not pictures at all, but phrases or sayings – a statement about your values or personal philosophy.
The phrase could be an inspiring quote, your favorite saying, or even a compliment that continues to make your day every time you look at those words on your wrist.
These simple designs work like little bursts of positivity; permanent prompts to re-set your attitude.
6. Female tattoos can actually be professional
Carefully chosen tattoos for women can be a statement of professional pride.
They can artistically declare to the world that you love what you do.
The clients of this hairdresser would be delighted to see a little pair of scissors on her wrist.
This woman must be SERIOUSLY into cutting hair!
To make a commitment like this, she’s probably very good at her job.
I wonder if she got her boss to pay for her little pair of tattooed scissors?
7. Female tattoos can be good for your relationship
Some couples get matching tattoos – that’s a pretty major leap of faith!
Couple tattoos are wildly, recklessly romantic.
After all, you can take a wedding ring off if things don’t work out…
But with couple tattoos, you just might decide to invest in a little counselling if things start getting rocky.
Either that, or find someone new with the exact same tattoo…
8. Female tattoos can be totally private
You don’t have to get a tattoo sleeve that covers your entire arm from wrist to shoulder.
Small, discreet tattoos for women can be easily hidden.
You can reveal them only if you want to.
They can function as a private form of decoration that’s for you to see, not necessarily the world.
It’s like having your own inky little secret.
As you can see, tattoos for women have come a long way.
They can be elaborate works of art, or simple designs that inspire you.
Either way, they usually mean something highly personal to the woman who wears them.
And these days, I bet your dad won’t stop speaking to you if you decide to get one!
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