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Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art

Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art
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The Tattooed Women: How They Get Cool with Unique Tattoos?

April 4th, 2008

“Well behaved women rarely make history.”
– Laurel Thatchel Ulrich

It used to be that the only place you would find a lady with even a single tattoo was in a carnival freak show. Even after such displays were, for the most part, things of the past, the realm of permanent body art remained somewhat of a boys’ club. Today, tattoos are far more popular and socially accepted by the general public than they used to be, and though men still tend to be more heavily tattooed than women, the gap is quickly filling in.

So pervasive is the trend that tattooed women have developed their own sub-subculture, hosting Web sites, clubs and even entire conventions tailored especially to ladies with body art. There are also books and magazines devoted to the subject. If you belong in those ranks, wish you did, or think you might someday; here are some media you may want to check out.

* A Tattooed Women’s Collective – This site has links to resources of interest to ladies with ink, and allows them to have their own personal Webpage to show off their art and blog about anything they want to. –

* The Illustrated Woman – This book by photographer William Demichele showcases pictures of all kinds of ladies and their permanent body art. They range in age from 20s to 60s and have various degrees of ink, from small, discrete tats to full bodysuits.

* Bodies of Subversion 2 Ed
: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo – by Margot Mifflin, is written by a woman, about women and even published by a woman-owned a operated press, Juno Books. It features information about tattooed women of influence and female tattoo artists.

* Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed – by Madame Chinchilla and photographed by Jan Hinson chronicles the author’s 12 years of life as a tattooed woman and comments on the social stigma surrounding the subject.

Of course, tattoos know no gender or social class, but a little celebrity endorsement never fails to boost a trend. Several famous women have gotten inked, probably more than we know. One of the most documented in the last century was Betty Broadbent. She was born in 1909 and got her first tattoo in 1927 at the age of 18. Her tattooist was Charlie Wagner of New York. He was one of the few at the time using the new electric machine. Her body was almost solidly covered with more than 300 tattoos. Broadbent became a tattoo artist herself to supplement the income she had from touring. She retired to Florida in 1967 and passed away in 1983.

Are any woman’s tattoos more famous than Janis Joplin’s? Her ink was an outward manifestation of the free spirit she was. A pioneer in the realm of female rock stars, she inspired many people before she died in 1970 at the age of only 28. The coroner’s report itemizes her body art: a bracelet on her left wrist, a flower on her right heel and a heart just above her left breast. Janice’s tattooist, Lyle Tuttle, told the New York Times in 1971 that he tattooed more than 100 copies of that heart on mourning fans since her death.

Thanks to women like these, ladies everywhere are making a place for themselves in the tattooed community. Women are no longer just the canvas. Now they’re the artist too. Female owned and operated tattoo studios are popping up everywhere, and may be a contributing factor in the rise of tattooed women. Modesty may have prevented some from getting the design and placement they really wanted in the past, but they may feel more at ease in an all girl shop.

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