9 Feminist Tattoos You’ll Want, And The Inspiring Stories Behind Them
Need a new tatt idea, or love stalking other people’s ink? Here’s nine ways different women have marked their feminism permanently.
Whether you’ve embraced them personally or not, I think we can all agree; tattoos are beautiful. Even more so, when they hold a special meaning to the person who’s gone to the effort of inking their body with one (or seven).
While many women may still be given a hard time by their family, or coworkers, when it comes this form of self-expression—tattooing is more acceptance than ever as a form of body modification and that’s amazing. Tattoos for all! The more, the merrier!
So we quickly grabbed just a handful of women to share the story behind theirs. Hope it inspires you!
My tattoo is a one-line piece of a woman's facade by the artist Quibe (his work is on Society6). I got it as a reminder to be proud in my own body and that there's always beauty to be found, and nothing to be ashamed of. A woman's body can be sensual, but emit a strength that can only exist due to her personal experiences of having to deal with the objectification of the female body.
I have always been shy about showing skin ... because I suffer from eczema and scarring from it, but getting this tattoo has led me to be more confident in my body, because it's perfectly imperfect.
I have a heart on the back of my leg that says "feminist" across it. Pretty self-explanatory, and I got it in Alabama because it seemed suiting. I also have conversation hearts on my arm that say "I complete me," and it's one of my favorites.
I got it because I know I'm whole as I am, and loving yourself is such a radical thing these days. Around those hearts I have a sickle that says "no chill", because I'm very passionate about feminism and I will never be a complicit woman! And I'm not here to chill, I'm here to slay.
I have "the world" tarot card tattooed on my arm. From the classic [Rider Waite Smith] deck. For me, it's a reminder of self-completion—to look back on all that I've done, or all that has happened, and feel whole. Then, to embark on the new.
Because when you have trust in the world and trust in yourself (and always offer love), some pretty miraculous things can happen. Especially self-love and as a feminist, that is a daily practice.
My tattoo says "Talk back." I originally got it as a reminder to talk back to my OCD, but I've since realized that it's applicable in many other situations where I feel I've been silenced.
I've often been told by others that I'm "too shy" or "too much of a pushover" so this is a reminder to remain assertive.
My tattoo is taken from Roy Lichtenstein's painting "Drowning Girl." I had a poster up of the painting in my freshman dorm room, and dreamed about getting the whole thing tattooed on my back (never happened, crisis averted).
Besides this tattoo serving up petty drama, it also makes me feel powerful and independent.
I was a plucky 18 year old when I got it, and i learned a lot about tattoo-getting (do NOT let your tattoo artist talk you into getting it bigger than you’d planned, or adding “shading” or insisting it needs wonky, arbitrary squiggles under words).
“My heart comes undone” is a song lyric from my fist-feminist icon Björk, paid for by my all time hero, my mother, who held my hand through the process.
My first tattoo (and only, for now) was inspired by my time living in South Africa. The Southern Cross (equivalent to the North Star for us in the northern hemisphere) points due south and is a constant reminder that the happiness I felt when I lived in SA is actually achievable. And that it doesn't always have to go in one direction.
I got this tattoo at around 21 years old, because I thought it looked bad ass, but also in tribute to Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. Even though it's a tragic story, I see the mermaid as a feminist figure, because more than a Prince, she sought transcendence and transgressed her social role to find it.
“Copacetic” is such an old school word that I meet a lot of people who haven’t heard it, but it literally just means “everything is OK.” It’s something my grandpa always used to say to me when I was about to do something intimidating, like compete in a gymnastics meet or give a speech.
My grandpa was such a positive force in my life until the very end—he always encouraged me to take risks and be a “spitfire.” Perhaps without realizing it, he helped turn me into the feminist I am today, and I remember that every time I look at my tattoo.
Words: Jerico Mandybur
Photos: Maggie Renshaw