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


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.”



About Tania Marie's Blog

Creating life as a work of art with a magick rabbit by my side. I remember my song. Do you? Artist, Author and Reiki Master Teacher with over 30 years' experience in creative healing arts and metaphysical studies. Tania inspires people globally to return to natural harmony, draw forth imagination to manifest dreams, embody creative empowerment, and live more magickally and abundantly from their most natural frequency – in essence, Tania helps you to remember your song.

Posted on March 13, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Sadly, the article is only available to subscribers

    • that’s very odd, as i’m not subscribed to them and am able to read the article online. dave had the magazine where i read it first and tried to find a link online. one was for subscribers and this one i found opened and allowed me to read. so that’s strange. i will copy and paste it in then. thank you for letting me know

  2. Reblogged this on Deer Heart Reiki Blog and commented:
    I felt very strongly about sharing this post from Tania Marie. I had found her tattoos so fascinating andportions of her book Spiritual skin that she would share in her posts I eventually felt really inspired to have her create a spiritual tattoo for me. Side note. She is not doing that as of now if you were interested in a tatto creation. She created that tatto 3-4 years ago. It was rather large and fit on my back. I held onto it and would pull it out knowing one day it would be in my body. Well towards the end of 2916 I beban my spiritual skin tattoos. First two very small ruins in the inside of each forearm. Then I did slightly larger ones oneach front firearm. Now I’ve been in the process of one on each upper arms much kager than the last set. My intention is to work up to the back piece which I have a feeling will finally begin this year. Than you my sweet friend. I used to hold such negative images if tattoos as a young person. Thinking that drunken sailers on shore leave got a tattoo or members of infamous motorcycle ride gangs. Boy has my thought transformed 360 degrees. Each of my tattoos means something very significant to me spiritually. They hold space and their attributes on my body and with in. They are a key that activates(thanks Annette for that thought). Enjoy

    • thank you dawn for adding your personal experience around all of this. i love how you honored your journey with this and i’ve so been enjoying watching you blossom in big ways with your sacred tattoos….well, with everything!!! 😉 you’re so welcome. i just love all of what you are creating inside and out. it’s amazing how much we have both shifted with all of this! i use that same way of expressing it, as annette does…a key to activate…and did end up as one of my last tattoos getting an actual “key” tattoo! lots of love and creative magick to you!

      • Oh my gosh!!! That’s right you did get a key. So much syncs. I think I remember in your posts you mentioning something similar about how you transformed old held beliefs regarding tattoos as well.
        That touched me so much when I read that. And you have been a big inspiration to me. Love you dear T

      • lol! uh huh! definitely i did share about that. more so it came up with my serpent tattoo on my wrist. the ideas weren’t mine, but other’s working through me, as i’m sure you discovered too, that i/we then find ourselves living out without just “because” until we start to be curious about them and question them and their origins. and these then carried a stigma. i remember finding myself pulling my sleeve down too to cover the snake around certain people. then i realized i wasn’t doing anyone a favor and once i’d integrated its energy and the understanding of this all, i was good to go. i now don’t think of my tattoos at all, as they are just me and my skin. interesting the things we go through, but so powerful. love you much!

  3. Oh tania,
    This magazine this link is only for time subscribers!

    Sent from my iPhone

    • someone else said that too, however i’m not a subscriber myself and it worked…so when they told me that i copied and pasted the article into the blog post as an update…if you click on the link to see the blog post online, rather than in the email, you’ll be able to read the article now. thanks for letting me know

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