A Brief History of Feminist Tattoos

As early as 1858, the United States was introduced to its first tattooed white woman, Olive Oatman, and ever since, tattooed women have become more common, having actually beat out men for the highest percentage of tattoos for the first time in 2012.

According to Margot Mifflin, author of "Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo," "Tattoos appeal to contemporary women both as emblems of empowerment in an era of feminist gains and as badges of self-determination at a time when controversies about abortion rights, date rape, and sexual harassment have made them think hard about who controls their bodies — and why."

At that time four years ago, 33 percent of women had tattoos, while only 19 percent of men didAnd over time, as Mifflin points out, body ink became more than just an art form, but a means of demanding control over one's body, accepting it as it is, and expressing oneself freely.

So, while "ink" may have a seemingly negative reputation, studies show that this art form actually helps individuals heal, cope with trauma, tell a story, and/or be empowered — particularly women.

"What we may be seeing is women translating that awareness [of their bodies] into empowerment," Texas Tech University Sociology professor, Jerome Koch, told reporters. And this empowerment, believe it or not, has continued to evolve over time. Stemming much deeper than just being art.

While having tattoos for this reason is feminist in and of itself, many women actually choose to pay for body art that literally draws out their definition of feminism.

Scroll through the tattoos below to see just a few of the obviously feminist tattoos, which tell the story of the female fight over time.


GRL PWR com a maravilhosa @meritattoon #girlpower #feministtattoo #migas

A photo posted by Emanuele Lazzari (@emanuelelazzari) on


Fight like a girl! Valeu a confiança Mute #tattoo #blackworktattoo #lineworktattoo #oldschool #feminist #feministtattoo

A photo posted by Biscoito Senô (@bolachaseno) on


#feministtattoo #itsmyfuckingbirthday #18 #first

A photo posted by Tania Garibay (@taniagaribay) on

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Photo Credit: Jason Poole via Getty Images