CookiesThis site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Read our privacy policy to learn more

Scars to Your Beautiful: Tattoo Artists for International Women's Day

Scars to Your Beautiful: Tattoo Artists for International Women's Day
Stories6 min Read

For International Women's Day, female tattooists speak about the importance of solidarity and empowerment within the tattoo community.

We grow up with expectations: what to wear, how to look, jobs we can do, when to get married, pressure to have kids, responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and caring...Our bodies are tokenized, judged, used, and de-prioritized. We're still fighting for certain rights over our physical needs, and we're always fighting for our voices to be heard....which is partly what International Women's Day and Women's History Month is all about. The main site for IWD proclaims, "Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality." We have centuries of discrimination to dismantle, and the best way to do that is through communication, education, and pure solidarity. So, to celebrate in our way, we brought together some of our favorite female tattoo artists to speak on what this means to them.

Tattoo by Iris Lys #IrisLys #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Hannah Flowers #HannahFlowers #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Cloditta #Cloditta #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

The roots of International Women's Day can be traced back to several radical demonstrations by the likes of New York City textile workers, Russian feminists, and women's groups of war time during the early 1900's. All of these strikes, campaigns, and protests called for better living, higher wages, and more...women had had enough and were showing their strength in numbers. And although women received the right to vote in 1920, there were still many changes to be made. Perhaps one of the most well-known feminist groups, Guerrilla Girls are dedicated to constantly pointing out the inequalities and injustices that women still face to this day, particularly in the arts sector. And it's worth noting that many people who feel strongly about Women's Liberation do their part as well, which may include simply being an example of strength, support and empowerment for others.

Guerrilla Girls Art #GuerrillaGirls #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Guerrilla Girls Art #GuerrillaGirls #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Guerrilla Girls Art #GuerrillaGirls #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

Of course, the tattoo industry has had its moments of being under scrutiny for not being as inclusive as it should be, whether that be to female artists, people of color, those with queer identities, and more. It goes without saying that everyone has a different experience in this life, and while others may have faced enormous difficulty, some lady tattooists have been fortunate to find a caring and supportive community to take part in. La Dolores said, "The fact of me being a women in the tattoo world has always been super positive for me...When I started tattooing in Spain it was hard to find any other women, especially doing traditional tattoos, so everyone was very curious about my work."

Tattoo by Kate Mackay Gill #KateMackayGill #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Kat Abdy #KatAbdy #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Tamara Santibanez #TamaraSantibanez #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

When I asked Lara Scotton for a quote about what it's like to be a female tattooer, she immediately pointed to a statement by Mildred Hull, the first woman to open a shop in The Bowery of NYC. “No,” Mildred said, “It isn’t a handicap to be a woman in the tattooing business…” And Lynn Akura feels the same, “I think female tattoo artists should be appreciated and judged equally as men, as we are all the same kind. Females have the same inspiration and craziness in their heads as men, same dreams and ambitions. They have the power to succeed at what they do if they really want it!”

Tattoo by Jenna Kerr #JennaKerr #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Jenna Kerr #JennaKerr #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Jenna Kerr #JennaKerr #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Goldy Z #GoldyZ #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Miss Juliet #MissJuliet #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by be.tattoo #betattoo #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

However, it is unfortunate that many people still feel inequality within the industry. Brigid Burke, of Armageddon Ink in Brooklyn, states,  “Although our society and the tattoo industry has come a long way towards equality for women, we still have a ways to go. Even now, in 2019, I encounter clients who assume I’m the receptionist or “shop girl”....There are still a lot of people who believe that women should only exist in the background serving men...[but] we have the same goals, ambitions, and capabilities as men and deserve the same opportunities.” Jen Tonic has had similar experiences, being judged by appearances rather than realities. “I personally think women in the tattoo industry get judged a lot more by their looks than men. Either you’re 'too hot to be good' or 'not pretty enough', or whatever. People really have to stop trying to get an impression of a female artist by paying too much attention on the looks and concentrate on what’s actually important: the bomb-ass tattoos that all those lovely ladies do.”

Flash by Lynn Akura #LynnAkura #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Sion #Sion #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Lorena Morato #LorenaMorato #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Jen Tonic #JenTonic #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Jen Tonic #JenTonic #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Jen Tonic #JenTonic #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

Another important part of the tattoo community and industry, as well as art and life in general, is the beauty of diversity...Lorena Morato agrees, “Diversity is wonderful, since each one of us is a unique being and we express our essence with our art.” As well as Emma Grace who works with Fleur Noire in Williamsburg, “Having a variety of different perspectives is important to attempt at understanding anything, even yourself. We are made up of our perceptions, and our experiences, which are inherently subjective and if we are to ever arrive at an idea close to “truth” about anything at all, we need to examine multiple perspectives to find out what they have in common, as well as what is different.”

Tattoo by Myles Smutney #MylesSmutney #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Brittany aka humblebeetattoo #Brittany #humblebeetattoo #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Holi Barahati #HoliBarahati #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

Brigid agrees, adding on, “I’m excited that we’re seeing so much more diversity represented in art and tattooing now. With different backgrounds, and experiences comes new perspectives and accessibility for artists and clients who have been marginalized. More diversity helps the entire industry grow in so many positive ways.”

Flash by Mick Hee #MickHee #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Print by Wendy Pham #WendyPham #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Vale Lovette #ValeLovette #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Dzo Lama #DzoLama #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Laura Yahna #LauraYahna #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Karolina Skulska #KarolinaSkulska #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

There is also the aspect of tattooing, for all, as a way to heal trauma with acceptance through expression. Many female tattooists really love to help with this important emotional facet to the art form which they tend to resonate with more fully because of their living experience. Emma Grace explains, “Some women specifically request a female artist, either because they feel more comfortable with someone of their same gender touching their bodies, or because they want to empower female artists...There is a certain bond there of the shared experience of being female, and something gratifying in two women sharing a piece of art between their minds and bodies. For many, it creates a safe space." 

Tattoo by Shannon E Perry #ShannonEPerry #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Charline Bataille #CharlineBataille #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Meg Tuey #MegTuey #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Brigid aka bklyn brig #Brigid #BklynBrig #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Brigid aka bklyn brig #Brigid #BklynBrig #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Brigid aka bklyn brig #Brigid #BklynBrig #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

When asked for advice, many of the artists lean in and have extremely positive and supportive words to share. Sion, based in Seoul, says “Never stop following your dreams. Never listen to those who look down on you. You are so powerful. Trust your artistic strength and unlimited capabilities. We are gentle yet strong artists creating eternal works of art.” Queen of glitter and glitz, Jenna Kerr, was sweet enough to add her sentiments as well, “Female artists are standing strong in the world of tattooing. When you are a strong, independent woman full of focus and passion and not deterred by the negativity of others, you can achieve anything!” Zlata, aka Goldy Z, concurs, “Don’t be afraid of the ‘male dominated industry’ label. Do what you love and what you are passionate about and you will succeed no matter what.”

Tattoo by Noelle Longhaul #NoelleLonghaul #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Soto Gang #SotoGang #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Xapiripa #Xapiripa #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Arianna Seth #AriannaSeth #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by Emma Grace #EmmaGrace #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love
Tattoo by La Dolores #LaDolores #InternationalWomensDay #WomensHistoryMonth #femaleartists #femaletattooist #femaletattooartist #empower #support #solidarity #love

Justine Morrow
Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

Related