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In Western society tattoos have traditionally been associated with men. If you will, think strong burly sailors flexing their tattooed muscles. In the last few decades, however, seeing girl tattoos has become increasingly more commonplace.
A History of Tattoo Girls
In days gone by a girl with a tattoo used to be considered to be of “ill repute”, but today female tattoos are seen as a form of body art and an expression of individual sensuality and self-expression; a true indicator that equality between the sexes is quickly becoming a fact.
Body art has a long history and tattooed girls and women are portrayed in art and literature as far back as ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as well as the ancient Celtic societies, South American societies and African tribes. While in many cases these tattoo girls were marked as property or chattel, in some societies (particularly African and South American) a tattoo for a man or woman was an indication of their having made a rite of passage (puberty, marriage etc.) and in some societies were seen as a mark of beauty (the more artwork, the prettier the girl).
While tattoos may have been common in many ancient tribes and societies, it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that European sailors brought the art form of the tattoo back to Europe from Asia and the Polynesian Islands and was, for over a century, seen as a ‘male’ form of expression. In fact it wasn’t until the late 20th century that it became acceptable for girls and women to get tattoos of their own.
Tattoo Girls in Today's World
Today however, tattoo girls and women are seen more from the Polynesian viewpoint than from the viewpoint of marked property or chattel, for the Polynesians saw tattoos as the display of their ‘mana’ or ‘life force.’ The more intricate and comprehensive the design, the more powerful the person, and today it is more common to see body art as an expression of individuality and personal sensuality than as a mark of ownership.
While there are some that hold with the idea that tattoos on girls are only a means of drawing a man’s attention to them as a sex object, the complexity and sheer sensuality of some women’s ink brings the form of the tattoo up to the level of a work of art with the body as a living canvass of self-expression.
From the most simplistic ideogram to the most complex multi-colored artwork, you will see tattooed girls everywhere, announcing their presence with authority, and revelling in the fact that they can now have the freedom to express their individuality in any way they like.