It's 2023 and yet, somehow, being a woman in the world feels harder than ever...
There's a serious lack of research into women's health, the gender pay gap is still very much a thing, the fact that the right to an abortion feels like it's still up for debate is like something from a dystopian nightmare, not to mention the continued threat of male violence against women. Need we say more?
Because of ALL. OF. THAT. choosing to mark our bodies can feel like a powerful statement of ownership. A big fuck you to traditional notions of femininity and unattainable beauty standards that are constantly in flux. A tattoo on a woman's body can in itself feel like a feminist statement, a transgressive act.
So to mark International Women’s Day this 8 March, here's a round-up of some of the most powerful and inspirational tattoos with feminist themes at their core.
"This tattoo is by Bunny. It's the last line of the poem, To The Woman Crying Uncontrollably In The Next Stall by Kim Addonizio, aka imo the best poem on female solidarity," says journalist and poet, Chloe Laws.
"This tattoo is four years old. The tattoo shop had an International Women’s Day drop-in special, I think they donated some of the revenue to a women’s shelter. I picked it out that day from a flash sheet. I love the design, it’s delicate but tough," says tattoo collector, Maria.
Vulva tattoo by Alyssa Day.
Powerful women vibes by Manni K.
# 5 and 6
"Divine Femme Energy tattooed by Jay Rose Tattoo. I’ve always loved the idea of “Divine Feminine Energy”, but I chose the word “Femme” instead as a nod to my connection to queer culture and the community. My ghostly Victorian lesbian lovers tattoo by Amber Ida is an ode to all the forgotten queer women throughout history," says artist Wee Moody Judy.
"I have a little devil on my arm, it's inspired by Chanel Miller’s memoir Know My Name. In it she talks about a rape case in Scotland in the early 90s where a young girl was raped, and during the trial the defence attorney tried to use the fact that she had a little devil drawn on her underwear as proof of consent. When Miller first went public with her story, she'd draw a little devil on her hand before every interview as a sign of resistance. I got it tattooed on my arm," says writer Marni Rose.
Venus tattoo on writer and editor Dayna McAlpine by Sam Claw. In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility.
A tattoo by Élo of Judith Beheading Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi, painted in 1620.
"This tattoo still stands and is one of my favourites – it’s on another tattoo artist and I think that makes the message even stronger, when related both to general life and the tattoo industry." - Tattoo artist, Lauren Hepple.
Uterus tattoo by ₳islyn.
# 12 and 13
"These tattoos are on the same client who is a mental health nurse. During our tattoo session, she spoke in depth about struggling through her own mental health and actually seeing patients struggling helped her overcome a lot of her own insecurities about her own self worth – especially about self harm. The moth sun, she said, was a beautiful lady face that just reminded her of flying through life," says tattoo artist Sarah Louise.
"I’ve been tattooing for 10 years here in Ireland and have dealt with A LOT of misogyny and inequality - I could tell you a lot of stories! But all of it is why it’s so important to me to celebrate women and feminism and fucking smash the patriarchy when and where ever I can!" - Tattoo artist Dinky Ink.
"Here's mine of Kitty Marion, by Deni Balbino," says tattoo collector Rhiannon.
"Black girl magic" by Witch from the Block 777.
FEMINIST knuckle tattoos by Jenny Kladzyk.
"I got Pussy Riot themed tattoo years ago. The witchcraft bit because when they were arrested for baring their areas in a church in Russia, they were told they were using witchcraft," says illustrator Alice Needham.
From the first female tattooists to circus performers and artists making radical feminist statements, meet Tattooed icons: The Badass Women of Tattooing Who Paved The Way