To Ink, or Not To Ink? Don’t Let a Man Answer the Question

by Katharine Ernst


I resent the fact that people make assumptions about women based on their tattoos. It’s a part of their body, yet it’s still socially acceptable to criticize and judge. Being a woman with tattoos (on the arm, hip, and foot), I find it most frustrating when men find the need to comment on my ink – just as I would find it equally frustrating if they were to make a comment about my legs or something else attached to my body.

Apparently a lot of men think tattoos equate a woman with being easy. A recent study shows that French men thought less of, and demonstrated less respect to, women with lower back tattoos. That’s just not okay.

I’m sure there are loads of French men out there that could care less if a woman has a tattoo or not, but these judgments are still bothersome. Tattooing dates back for centuries and across cultures, gracing the skin of everyone from Winston Churchill’s mother to Megan Fox and millions in between. We’re so different from each other that any judgments about us as a group just can’t be fair.



The lady on the left is an anonymous tattooed circus performer, circa 1908.

What bothers me most about these judgments is that they have the power to change a woman’s view about herself because of her tattoos. Speaking from personal experience, there have been times that I’ve considered covering up the pinup fairy on my arm, or vowed never to get any more visible tattoos. That tat has inspired comments from “is that you?” to “I bet you’d look good in that position,” and more. A male customer at my job once actually drew a naked picture that he said was supposed to be me in another pinup style position.

I’ve become so infuriated by these actions and remarks that I’ve considered physically changing something about myself because of harassment. I’ve realized that it’s wrong to let another person affect something so personal. I have confidence, strength, and intentions to get more tattoos in the future. I don’t care if they’re visible – maybe I’ll even get more pinups – but I won’t stand for sexual harassment because of what’s on my arms and no woman should.

These judgments do nothing but promote sexism and harm women’s self-esteem.  If you feel the desire to get inked, then do it. I mean, plan it out and make sure you like what you get so there are no big regrets, but don’t let sexism determine your self-expression.

I’m curious to see what other BUSTies think about the harassment towards women with tattoos. Has your tattoo gotten you hassled? Here’s the place to get it off your chest!


Or check out these other BUST articles on the subject:

The History of Tattooed Ladies Gets Expanded

New Pathetic Attempt at Slut Shaming: the “…



Source: Tattoo Culture Magazine

Photographs via Wikipedia, Zimbio and The Huffington Post.


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