Girls Playing with the Big Bad Boys of Tattoo
Scientists believed that some of the earliest people who used tattoos were the Egyptians. More specifically, the Egyptian women. Some female mummies were discovered to have markings in various parts of their bodies which some believed to be amulets to protect the woman. This evidence would suggest that even back then, tattoos were never just a man’s domain. It’s only natural that women play a big role in the world of tattoos.
These are some of the women who provided color to the tattoo industry.
As earlier mentioned, Egyptian women were some of the first to use tattoos. Amunet, the Priestess of Hathor, was one of the most famous tattooed mummies that scientists have discovered. Her body had markings of dots and dashes on her abdomen and the area directly above her genitals. It was once believed that these markings were reserved for Egyptian women with questionable sexual roles. New evidence and beliefs suggest that these markings were like amulets written on the bodies of these women to protect them during childbirth and illnesses.
Olive Oatman was the first white woman in the US to get a tattoo. Yavapis Indians killed her parents in 1850s and had enslaved her afterward. Fortunately after being a slave for quite some time, she was traded into the Mohave Indians who raised her as one of their own. Because she was regarded as one of their own, she was given a traditional Mohave tattoo on her chin. One of the youngest tattoo girls, she had her tattoo when she was only 14. When she returned to the white society at the age of 19, she was considered famous due to her tattoos.
Maud Wagner, Jessie Knight and all other first female tattoo artist of her country paved the way for tattoo girls to come out from under the shadows of male tattoo artists. Maud was from the US and was so interested in learning how to become a tattoo artist that she married one and learned from him. Jessie Knight is from the UK and her father was a tattoo artist. She became interested in learning how to tattoo because of this. Both women’s curiosity of the tattoo craft opened doors for many more female artists wanting to get into tattooing.
Jacci Gresham also became famous for being the first prominent black tattoo artist. Because the tattoo industry was dominated by men at that time, very few women knew how to do a tattoo. She learned to create tattoos from a boyfriend and opened her own place in New Orleans in 1976.
Famous celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga are some of the tattoo girls whose tattoos have been continuously admired and copied. These women are not afraid to have more than one tattoo. While they could not be held totally responsible for the rise of the number of women getting a tattoo, the cool factor of these tattoo girls could not be denied either. Girls of all ages look up to these celebrities for inspiration and a tattoo just adds to these ladies allure.
Kat Von D is by far the most famous tattoo artist today. She has her own show on TV, numerous endorsements, a solid following and tattoo girls and fans who adore her.
Women of ink are steadily growing in numbers and it’s not surprising. Boys better look out. There are so many up and coming tattoo artists waiting to stake their claim in the world of tattoos.
Featured image: Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images