Blog Archives

Women’s Tattoos in History – Form of Rebellion, Taking Back Control of the Body & Self Empowerment


This is a cool, short article Dave brought to my attention from TIME Magazine, written by Olivia B. Waxman that I thought was interesting to share on the history of women’s tattoos. Every now and then tattoo info hits the scene and I love how it brings to light more of the energy dynamics that I’ve integrated for myself. I love learning of how things have evolved and in this particular article found an interesting connection with Winston Churchill’s mother Lady Randolph Churchill, who is said to have had a snake tattoo on her wrist (like me!).

The article shares, “Tattoos were an early way that women took control of their bodies.”

Here’s the article link: The Surprising History of Women’s Tattoos

Update:

I was alerted by one of my readers that were unable to access this article link, saying it was only for subscribers. I’m not a subscriber and had been able to open the link myself, but just in case others have the challenge too, I am copying the very short article below:

Circuses and sideshows may not seem like obvious places to look for stories of female empowerment, but experts say the performers who appeared in such acts played a surprising and important role in women’s history–in large part thanks to their tattoos.

The height of sideshow and circus popularity in the mid–19th century came at a time when women had few opportunities for economic independence, and providing for families was largely a man’s job. Not so for the female sideshow performers, many of whom capitalized on the fascination with body art by voluntarily tattooing themselves, enabling them to make their own money. (Though some were forcibly tattooed.)

Ink liberated Victorian-era women outside the circus as well. Wealthy socialites, for example, got tattoos as a form of rebellion. At the time, social mores required these women to keep their whole bodies covered. And so–influenced by tattooed British royals–they started summoning ink artists to their homes to give them designs they could hide. Winston Churchill’s mother Lady Randolph Churchill is said to have had a snake tattoo on her wrist (easily covered by a wineglass or sleeve); by the turn of the 20th century, roughly three-fourths of fashionable New York City ladies had gotten similarly trendy tattoos, including butterflies, flowers and dragons, according to the New York World.

As Cristian Petru Panaite, curator of an exhibit on the 300-year history of tattooing, open now at the New-York Historical Society, puts it, “Tattoos were an early way that women took control of their bodies.”

 

 

%d bloggers like this: