The Meaning of Women’s Tattoos


Women with meaningful tattoos navigated their bodies in dialogue and tension with religious traditions yet did so with some autonomy. Yet despite this autonomy, participants believed that corporate environments remained hostile towards female bodies adorned with meaningful tattoos.


Women have been tattooing themselves for millennia. One of the first known depictions is from Iraqi explorer Ahmad ibn Fadlan’s observations during a 900s expedition. Tattoos have long been used as a signifier of pagan belief and affiliation in women, later used as social markers. More recently, women have used tattoos to express spiritual commitments and inner lives.


Women’s Tattoos typically carry deep and personal meaning, often representing inner strength, specific locations or events in life, family relationships, or loved ones. Popular themes among tattooed women include animals symbolizing loyalty and love and mermaids representing femininity and beauty.


Women can choose from various tattoo designs, from flowers and animals to more intricate pieces. Minimalist tattoos featuring geometric shapes and straight lines have become increasingly popular. Women also opt for temporary henna tattoos, which fade over time.


Tattoos can express one’s identity or response to significant life events. Women often choose meaningful tattoos following a breakup or major milestone. The placement of a tattoo also holds significance, with different symbols representing various meanings. Fine-line cursive script Tattoos and lace tattoo concepts have gained popularity among women.

Social Perceptions

Studies have shown that men often perceive tattooed women as sexually receptive and promiscuous. However, this does not justify treating or perceiving these women in such a manner. The findings suggest that women with Tattoos can effectively manage social perceptions and resist societal expectations imposed on their bodies.