2008 June 15 Sunday
Tattoos On Women: What Do They Mean?

Steve Sailer thinks tattoos might signal that a woman is a bad decision maker.

"Whoa!" said the young man next to me, who looked like an unemployed bike messenger. "Check her out!"

"Yes, a beautiful girl."

"And she's got a lot of tattoos!" he exclaimed, with a wild look of excitement in his bloodshot eyes.

That struck me as, by far, the least of her charms. On further reflection, though, I assume that her tattoos signaled to him that, while you might think she wouldn't be interested in any fellow below the movie producer / hedge fund manager level, she was actually a really bad decision-maker. So, he had a chance!

Is she a bad decision maker? Does a tattoo lessen a woman's attractiveness to the most desirable males? Even if she is a bad decision maker what motivates the tattoo?

Half Sigma thinks tattoos are a sign of "prole drift".

If tattoos are becoming more popular, then it’s an example what Paul Fussell calls prole drift. Do tattoos make you more popular with the opposite sex? I don’t know the answer. I did, however, read a piece by a woman who was grossed out when she discovered her new boyfriend had a really ugly tattoo. Perhaps Roissy, who occasionally comments on this blog and who is an expert at knowing what turns on women, will be able to supply us with the definitive answer?

I know what turns me on, and women with tattoos don't do it for me.

I am confused by this. Did tattoos start out with the lower class and move upward? I associate tattoos with carnival freaks and enlisted men in militaries. Drunken sailors get tattooed while in port of some city. I thought tattoos have always been low class. BUt Wikipedia defines prole drift as the migration of upper class practices down into lower class use.

Anyway, I'm also curious what supposedly evil (with an evil retort) Roissy has to say about tattoos. I couldn't find anything relevant he said about tattoos on women. If you find anything please post in the comments. In his Dating Market Value For Women post he doesn't include tattoos in his rating system. In fact, in the comments someone even mentions this fact.

Alyssa Milano and Jessica Alba have tattoos. But they do not need a tattoo to be highly desired. Britney Spears has tattoos. But she also has poor judgment. Angelina Jolie has tattoos. But she also has a reputation for edginess. On the other hand Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Aniston have tattoos. Why? To seem more egalitarian? To show they are just as free to get tattoos as men are? To be rebellious?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 June 15 09:35 PM  Human Nature

Stephen (tattooless) said at June 15, 2008 10:45 PM:

Tattooing cultures (involving both genders) have been widespread on every continent since antiquity. Maybe its those without tattoos who are the odd ones out?

Matt said at June 16, 2008 1:22 AM:

I always thought that tatoos originally were for displaying group affiliation or rank.

thegomezsymbol said at June 16, 2008 6:07 AM:

Wow. This post is way beyond opinionated. It is just dumb. Please, will someone point me to the evidence linking bad decision making with tattoos? And by that I mean, other than your granny or your old man telling you that tattoos can only be bad ideas.

Given the data on divorce (40% to 50% on first marriages, depending on the source), it would seem that marriage would be a far better bad-decision-making marker.

roissy said at June 16, 2008 10:42 AM:

hey, i left this comment over at half sigma's site:

if tattoos are an example of prole drift, then everyone's been infected. here in DC, i'd say 70-80% of the in-demand women have a tattoo somewhere on their bodies. the higher class and the prettier girls tend to have smaller ones in unexpected locations, probably because they innately understand the eroticism of a tattoo on a hot female body is better administered with a subtle touch than a hammer blow.

something about slightly concealed tattoos that are tasteful enough not to be unpleasant to look at, hidden piercings, and tiny ornaments like nose studs that are discovered upon closer inspection makes a girl even hotter. anything that suggests a girl is wild and uninhibited can be alluring because it leads guys to fantasize about what other crazy things she'd be into.

of course, some tattoos and piercings are completely repulsive, intentionally so or otherwise, but the majority of tats sported by girls in their peak attractiveness years leave a neutral to slutty impression with most men (sluttiness in a woman being a synonym for negative only if the man making the judgement is considering her for a long-term partner). unlike universal signals of female attractiveness -- hourglass figure, symmetry, big eyes, clear skin, youth, nice breastesses -- i don't see any male consensus on the impact of modest tattoos on a woman's sexual attractiveness. i certainly have never been dissuaded from bedding a woman just because she had a tramp stamp.

there is also the "trial by fire" aspect of getting inked. i was watching a girl get an elaborate tattoo along the side of her belly (a very sensitive area) and she was in tears, clutching her boyfriend's hand and biting down on a piece of cloth. for many people who bore easily by the daily buzz of living, the pain of the tattoo needle helps them feel alive. these types tend to get new tattoos every couple months. when pain is a source of stimulation it becomes addictive like a drug. moreso when you can advertise your pain to the world like a moral exemplar of stoic suffering.

examples of sexy tattoos:
small butterfly or similar just to the side of the pubic bone.
band around a finger or toe.
on the ass, one cheek.
back of neck, only seen when hair is lifted out of the way.
small one on upper thigh.

examples of slutty tattoos:
huge tramp stamp pointing future penises in the direction of her womanhood.
anywhere on the boobs.
upper arms.
belly, especially around the bellybutton.
side of neck (eww).
directly on the pubic area.
shins or calves.
large wingspan tattoos across the back.

as for the attractiveness of tattoos on men, there is a female consensus in my observation: chicks of all stripes generally dig them as badboy status markers and indicators of a good lay (at the very least) as long as the tats aren't a) gay looking, b) blatantly redneck or conformist (confederate flag, barbed wire or tribal, naked woman) or c) the name of an ex or artistic rendering of a contemporary male role model.

chicks dig jerks, now more than ever before, and the tattoo is a quick and cheap way to gain some badboy street cred. the tat is especially effective on the man when he reveals it "by accident" -- let's say by rolling up the sleeve of his hugo boss shirt on a hot day to expose an inner forearm tattoo -- much like a wealthy man can turn on a woman much more powerfully by not mentioning his wealth and letting her discover it for herself.

Jay said at June 16, 2008 11:15 AM:

Tattoos on women (and for men for that matter) repulse me. They are as ugly as sin. I constantly long for the pre-tattoo era when the women were pretty and feminine and the men were nice and sensitive. I hate tattoos so much that I don't even like to leave the house anymore, I just don't want to see them.

tommy shanks said at June 16, 2008 5:11 PM:

>>Please, will someone point me to the evidence linking bad decision making with tattoos?

I think I read on Sailer's site, a couple of years back, that a tattoo tells the world: "I sometimes do stupid and impetuous things, with little regard for the future." Why is a tattoo a bad decision? Look at a tattoo on a 50-year old, or even a 40-year old. It's a horrible thing, as the skin sags. And it only gets worse as the years go by.

I'll bet the tattooed population is more guilty of other lapses in future time orientation, like running up a credit card; getting married impulsively; cashing out of an IRA when changing jobs and incurring the penalty and taxes; etc.

thegomezsymbol said at June 16, 2008 5:48 PM:

I hate to play devil's advocate here, but there I go.

tommy shanks,

Non-sequitor. I have two tattoos. It took me 1 month to prepare and decide for the first one, including meaning, theme, location, size and color. The second one, the best part of 6 months. Impetuous people get tattoos in an impetuous way. Cautious people get tattoos cautiously.

Let me give you another fallacious comparison: "people without tattoos have a fear of commitment".

>Saggy Skin
Think about it for a second. Saggy skin does not look good on anyone. With, or without a tattoo.

You bet I would ask for evidence of this. I can give you evidence of the contrary. I went to college and there were plenty of aerospace engineers and airplane pilots that had tattoos as well. I myself have two advanced engineering degrees, property, and a continuous career since I finished with school.

>pre-tattoo era
"Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times." -Wikipedia

>I hate tattoos so much that I don't even like to leave the house anymore, I just don't want to see them.
I totally understand, I feel the same way about sneakers and elastic-waist pants...

Brent Lane said at June 16, 2008 10:31 PM:

" Wikipedia defines prole drift as the migration of upper class practices down into lower class use."

So maybe tattoos are an example of bourgeois drift?

Please, will someone point me to the evidence linking bad decision making with tattoos?


[Edit: ParaPundit fixed the link]

Anecdotal, perhaps, but still. . .

tommy said at June 16, 2008 10:45 PM:
"Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times." -Wikipedia

Back to the Stone Age...

Anonymous said at June 16, 2008 11:17 PM:

You'd be surprised at how many "normal" high-status women of the MTV generation have tattoos. I've never been a big fan of the whole idea myself but that is probably because I'm a total prude (I'm also the kid that didn't smoke pot either). One thing that sucks about tattoos is that most of them don't look very good after 15 years. They usually become blurry and the color starts to become less vivid, or even worse, the color changes. So the beauty of even a well done one is usually only fleeting. There are some serious limits to what a YAG laser can do to clean them up. It's also not the best thing you want your kids to see. It probably suggest to them that you did the kind of stuff that you tell them not to ever do when you were their age. Although I'm sure there's many good mothers with nasty tattoos, such tatoos don't exude "good mother". I've never pursued a woman for sex that (at least as far as I could tell at the time) that I didn't think could someday be an acceptable mother of my children.

Tattoos I can handle (my wife has a small one on her ankle) and piercings are gross but I guess I could possibly look past it. But the one thing that really turned me off in my dating years was smoking. I have no idea why this became so popular among women my age. I recall once being very excited about a very beautiful woman being very interested in me (perhaps I was such a loser back then for being so impressed by an "alpha" woman's romantic attention). However, it didn't take long to figure out the full meaning of what it meant to be dating a smoker. I dumped her for smoking only and purposely avoided smoking women ever since.

I guess some would say it would be good to "toughen" up my good-guy image with a tattoo or something (I've long been off the market so this is all hypothetical). Perhaps the idea to the socio-biology crowd is that it would show that I have high testosterone or something. However, I think unless I looked like a Vin Diesel type, it would be "off code" and probably turn any decent woman off. I think the adage that women are attracted to "bad boys" is just that "good boys" often are just plain boring. The only women I've ever met that seemed to actually be more attracted to "bad boys" than "good boy doctor types" were just plain skanks. I think of them when I see the Valtrex commercials on TV.

I know that this is unfair and harsh, but it is the truth.

thegomezsymbol said at June 17, 2008 7:14 AM:

>>Back to the Stone Age...

A time they also spent doing other horrible things such as starting to write, continuing to make pottery and fully developing farming. But hey, it would take a few thousand years more until they started mutilating their children (female and male) genitalia in the name of an invisible big-brother-in-the-sky. Now that is what I call good parenting!

kurt9 said at June 17, 2008 8:44 AM:

I agree with Roissy about tattoos on women. Small ones in certain places can be quite sexy. Even the "trampstamp" can be sexy, if it is small.
Large tattoos, especially those on the breasts, arms, or legs, are simply obnoxious. I fail to see the attractiveness of these kinds of tattoos and I do not understand why women go for these. And I am definitely not a prude. I simply dislike poor taste.

Do tattoos indicate one as a "real" man. It seems to me that a real man should go about his life and business without regard for what pop-culture defines as a real man. A manly man knows what he wants in life and goes about getting it regardless of the vagrancies of pop-culture trends. A real man is secure enough with who he is that he simply does not give a s**t if people consider him a real man or not, because he know that he is and if other people don't notice it, its their problem and not his. At least this is my definition of a real man.

I do not have any tattoos and will never have them. I consider the idea of marking up my skin, permanently, to be quite repulsive.

Dragon Horse said at June 19, 2008 7:39 AM:

My wife has no tattoos, in Japan they are still seen by many as the simple of the mafia, and she is afraid he parents will beat her (she is a grown woman but still...). Her sister got a belly button ring in college, when she came to visit us in New York and her mother saw it and started hitting her with broom. My sister-in-law was 21 at the time. :-)

I have four tattoos, but most people don't know, because they are on my upper arms/shoulders and back. So unless I take off my shirt you can't see them. I agree with Roissy that women can get excited by them when they don't expect them.

I like "conservative" tats on women, I agree with Kurt about "obnoxious tats"...they turn me off and I consider them ghetto/trashy etc.

I do have a Russian Ex who is now married with children who has a tat on her forearm...she is still hot, but she was also Eurotrashy...so...not really the marrying kind (as her track record proves).

Roberto said at June 22, 2008 6:34 PM:

You are a foolish person.

So Very Bitter said at June 24, 2008 8:37 PM:

I have always had too much Wanderlust and too little money even to consider a tattoo: travelling is so much more fun. When I see them on someone else I wonder why they would not spend the dough on something more enjoyable, or give it to the poor.

When I see them on a fat woman, I wonder what she was thinking ("Hmmm, how can I make myself even less attractive and less of a catch than I already am???").

One of the refreshing delights of my time in China was the paucity of tattoos on the ladies, at least visibly so.

Charliemack said at July 1, 2008 6:18 AM:

I would like to read interviews with people who have had tattoos for more than 40 years.
The above posts are interesting but seem to reflect the thinking of only those that are in the age group who would even think about a tattoo.

Lady Dragon said at July 30, 2008 8:23 PM:

Quit judging and hating on people with tattoos...I dont give a F *ck what you think or say but piercings and tattoos is the new trend in style.Sad for you but true...so you can take your snobbish oh i think i'm better than everyone attitude outta here because ink is in. Sure old fashion people people think its trashy but this is 2008 goin on 2009 who knows the future can hold tattoos as a sign of beauty if it is done professionally.It also shouldn't be by how a woman looks outside with tattoos or piercings it should be how the personality is too and how she thinks...and if she has piercings and tattoos consider that a bonus...So f*ck you people who think tattoos and piercings are nasty...your snobbiness towards it already is stupid and useless so why keep going on bitchin about it like its a disease??Because ITS A FORM OF BODY ART!! well you know what people without tattoos and piercings are boring and probably didn't have the fun they need in life, while you type of people are always like "eww look at that person..or "omg i can never do that to myself" That is just scraming out "I'M BETTER THAN EVERYONE AND WHAT I THINK IS THE BEST FOR EVERYONE ELSE TO THINK" Well pfffft take that shit outta here bcuz you are WRONG AND NEGATIVE TOWARDS THIS TOPIC.And people that have piercings and tattoos always think "i dont give a F*uck what people think of my tattoos and piercings what matters is that i like them and i know in my own mind what is right and what is wrong piercings and tattoos are just taboo in life and i will die with them proudly so F*ck people who are so judgeful and grossed out by them and think they are better than everyone attitude thats why we got them"..Even people with piercings and tattoos have jobs and careers so don't make me start on that.

Robert Wayne said at September 13, 2008 11:01 PM:

Lady Dragon....I can see where you get the Dragon part of your name from. You sound like a spoiled brat teenager with a chip on your shoulder. Personally, my opinion is that tattoos are a turnoff on women. But even more of a turnoff is when a woman rants on the way you did in your post. I feel sorry for whoever ends up marrying you. I just thank the Lord it won't be me.

laura said at November 19, 2008 12:42 AM:

Well, I suppose I can consider myself one of the lucky few at this point in my life, because I am 1. Very well educated. 2. Pretty darn attractive and in good shape 3. Have raised 4 children already 4. Am enlightened enough to reject stereotypes and 5. have a large and beautiful tattoo that follows the curves of my body-and I'm not finished by a long shot! and 6. don't care about my 'fuckability' rating. I know exactly who I am. This is my body art, and I like it. As with anything in this life, people are going to judge you on one thing or another-so why worry about it? What other people think of you is none of your business as they say. But my dont we expend alot of energy doing just that? Having been in the medical field for 30 years I can tell you this-we're all going to get old, wrinkly, sick, die, and rot in a box or wind up in an urn somewhere. And when you get to any of those points, who the heck cares what you're skin looks like? ha! seriously. What IS going to matter is how kind you've been to others in this life. period.

Shasta said at January 3, 2009 9:55 AM:

So.. I im don't hate tattoos.. what I do hate is stupid spur of the moment tattoos... okay I dont even hate those.. if its one or two but he has 3 already and has another 3 he is planning to get in a months time! its starting to upset me! I don't think tattoos are trashy.. I just don't believe a body should be covered in them! keep them were the shirt will cover them I'm fine but once you start putting them on your arms and legs it makes me mad! Me and my Guy over seas just got in a fight over a new one he has drawn up... and actually made me cry... How in the world do I show him that I really dont want him to get anymore tattoo's right now? that for some reason they really do upset me an awful lot.. I love everything about him.. everything.. except his tattoos and its very sad and shallow but could be the deciding factor of our relationship... I feel that strongly about it.

Alien said at February 6, 2009 10:46 AM:

It doesn't matter if you have a tattoo or not. What matters is what kind of person the individual is. I've met attractive women with tats and I have met ugly women with tats. I've met men who look like a tattoo fits him and I have met men who think they look tougher with tattoos. The man or woman makes the tattoo not the other way around. It might make some trend following people feel more accepted and a little braver but all in all people make bad decisions based on their upbringing.

Frank Mitchell said at February 12, 2009 1:26 PM:

Regarding tattoos on women, specifically, I think the phenomenon is directly related to such things as birth-control; toplessness and abortion. I was a teenager in the nineteen sixties and well remember when birth control pills were launched on the market at the beginning of that decade. Then toplessness came along soon afterwards, in the mid nineteen sixties. Coincidence? I don't think so! The fear of getting pregnant was sufficiently diminished so that women gradually lost their fear of the consequences of flashing their breasts at strangers. But, for good measure, women's "liberation" movements added abortion-on-demand to their list of "rights". (It's the "my body" syndrome, as if the whole question of abortion were not based on the fact that it's the babies' bodies that are being killed!)

I think that tattoos are simply another way in which a "liberated" woman tells the world that "this is my body and I can do whatever I like with it."

So we have the following chain: sex drive > general availability of birth control (pills or abortion) > the "it's my body so I can use it for my personal pleasure" syndrome > toplessness in public > sex without love or commitment > tattoos, which signal that "this is my body and I can do whatever I wish with it".

I realize that different women get tattoos for different reasons, but one has to admit that they are all using the same language, which is the language of self-defacement.

As for the aesthetical aspect, how much do you think the "Mona Lisa" is worth? Over a hundred million dollars? Now, if someone were to paint an indelible moustache on Mona Lisa, how much would she be worth then? I wouldn't give five bucks for her! And the same goes for any beautiful woman with flawless skin. If she gets a tattoo she's got herself a blemish. As far as I am concerned, this will have the effect of drawing a person's gaze away from her beautiful profile, and away from her lovely eyes, and away from the curve of her cheek, so that one will be looking mainly at that stupid messy tattoo. Tattoos simply get in the way!

Jim Carswell said at March 13, 2009 7:35 PM:

My wife recently got a tattoo, essentially without even giving me a chance to comment. I would have commented about the great social stigma, the possibilities of complications both in the present and the future, possible allergy reactions now and in the future, the introduction of poisonous and carcinogenic dyes into the body, and some other areas. Not to mention likely problems if she ever needs an MRI exam.

Not to mention that I personally HATE tatoos.

Are we all free and independent beings or do we possibly need to rely on full and complete information before we make a possible relationship shattering decision?

I may now hate people that get them, including my now possible ex-wife.

Lady Dragon said at April 4, 2009 11:06 PM:

tattoos are so sexy and men get turned on my looking at mine.They would say "hey nice tattoo".That is very awesome work.

Frank Mitchell said at April 5, 2009 6:09 PM:

A woman can look like a billion dollars. But give her a 200 dollar tattoo and she'll look like 200 dollars.

EL said at May 19, 2009 4:30 PM:

Yeah, tattoos on women pretty much suck and they cheapen them. Just imagine her in her 40's? She'll look like a silly middle-aged woman. Then years later she'll look like a silly old woman.

A Corner in my mind said at July 1, 2009 11:04 AM:

Wow, I'm a bit late commenting. But anywho...

I have several body modifications myself. I'm young. Some of you may say that I'm stupid for doing them. Some may not. But in any case I feel that if you're so put off by a tattoo on someone, wouldn't that make you a very superficial person? I thought we all learned as kids to, "not judge a book by its cover." By many of the responses on here, many of you are. I find it hilarious that one person would get divorced over a tattoo; you never loved them in the first place. There's worse reasons to get divorced: they cheat on you, are leading a double life, and so on.

And for the person who said that women gaining more independence in the early 20th century, wow... what a pig!

And I do agree with some of you that there are plenty of people who get a tattoo for a "thrill"; that being a BAD idea. If I want a cheap thrill, I go get an ice cream flavour I don't get. That's a cheap thrill.
All of the modifications I made were well-thought out. I had waited for the better part of a year to get my first one. I wasn't sure if I could go through it or not. But I finally picked out a design, the Eye of Horus. It was a symbol I truly thought was beautiful and represented some of my ethnic background. If you don't know what it stands for you can look it up. The experience wasn't too bad. But I did get the "itch" for more. I had always wanted tattoos. Not too many people in my family have them, but I always was drawn to them. As a kid I wanted to ask those with them, "Why did you pick that?" I even used to draw on my arms and hands with markers becuase I thought they were beautiful.

I have more work in mind for the future. And none of them are spur of the moment, not thought about decisions.

Descrimination(sp?) for tattoos in my mind is justas bad as racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Why don't we ask ourselves about others things wrong in the world: poverty, homelessness, hunger, war... Lets get past the surface and dig a bit deeper.

Frank Mitchell said at July 2, 2009 9:52 AM:

I think “A Corner in my mind” has made a very good point: We should, indeed, worry about other things wrong in the world: poverty, homelessness, hunger, war... But I can also worry about people who are defacing themselves. I worry about people because I like them. I agree that one should not judge a book by its cover. It might be a very good book, which makes it all the sadder if it has a dirty looking cover…

andy mack said at July 23, 2009 8:03 PM:

Lady dragon, You said it all. here are some direct quotes from your post: "tattoos is the new trend in style", "ink is in". Trend, Style, In. Exactly what and why I would never mark myself up with some dumb drawings that you would never even hang on your wall at home let alone my body. look at what is on your arms and legs and wherever would you have that exact thing framed on your wall at home probably not because no matter how good it is it is really not that good. Tattoos are boring and predictable. and are the new uniform of conformity, a man with a "sleeve" is the status-quo around here, wow you tattooed people are so one of a kind and special. below are a couple of things I posted to our local news blog when there was a tattoo topic.
I just wanted to thank in advance all of you tattooed and pierced up people because on paper I may not be as smart as many of you but I will NEVER have to compete for a job with any of you. I may really like dolphins or roses or stars or whatever. and if so I could get a t-shirt or a painting of that stuff and when years later I don't feel so strongly I can take it down or take it off no harm done, you will end up years later with an unintelligible blurry blobby mark on you that WILL look stupider than when you put it on. and with a regret rate of over 50% . chances are you will regret it. in retrospect If I knew then what I know now, I would have went into tattoo removal because it's already big business and it will only be getting bigger and bigger. I can only hope that all this tattoo garbage is over when my kids are 18 and I can instill in them enough individuality so they don't think they need to be like everyone else and have a boring and predictable tattoo.
I saw an interview with a tattoo artist a while back on tv and he himself was talking about how trendy tattoos are and if you got a tribal piece he could probably accurately estimate around the time you had it done, or if you got a tramp stamp he could give you within a couple of years when it was done. (if only we could come up with more derogatory terms for placement on other parts of the body maybe it would deter some people, I'm guessing that since the word "tramp-stamp" came into prominince that that placement location has dwindled). that is the definition of trendy right there. I also saw an interview with rob zombie who is a very extensively tattooed musician and he was lamenting about how when he first started getting tattooed he did it to be rebellious and unique and now how, since it seems like EVERYONE has a tattoo, the only people who are truly diffenent and unique now are the ones who do not have any ink. (I'm unique:)).it's funny how it seems like I find myself looking at womens ankles all the time now and as I'm glancing around I'm just thinking to myself "where is it? where is it?......." and 9 times out of 10 I find it, another boring and predictable go along with the herd tattoo to make yourself look ugly and stupid. I don't care what it is or what the meaning behind it is there is never a good enough reason to mutilate yourself. "it's the chinese symbol for..........." well if it means that much to you why didd'nt you just get it done in english? and what's so great about chinese culture anyways? "it's my kids name(s)" what, you can't remember your kids names? a guy at my work recently mutilated his forearms to the tune of several  several hundred dollars with portrait tattoos of his kids and my only thought is they probably would have appreciated much more if you took that money and invested it for them rather than blew it on some permanant garbage that will turn into unintelligible blobs by the time they are older anyways. MOST of you are just ridiculous with this stuff but again I thank more and more of you for messing yourselves up, I just keep getting more special and I like that. one thing I have'nt noticed is if all you tattoo people are wearing crocs too, I'll be keeping an eye out!

E. Martin said at August 26, 2009 7:42 PM:

Frank Mitchell put it best: Take a "perfect 10" of a woman, put a tattoo anywhere on her bod, and that tattoo will be nothing more than an unfortunate distraction, no matter how small, "cute," and/or innocuous and/or well-done it may be.

Think of it this way: Would the Taj Mahal look better with "well done" graffiti on it? When I drool over a Lambo Murcielago or a Ferrari F430, the last think I want to see is an Elmer Fudd sticker on its fender. Same thing with a beautiful woman.

To those tattoo'd women who say that men find their tats sexy or whatever: Don't delude yourselves! Guys will say anything if they want to get in your pants bad enough... Or they'll simply withhold the truth so as not to upset you.

And to all the young women out there thinking of getting a tattoo in order to be/look sexy and "original," I say: You want to be sexy and original? *DON'T* get a tattoo.

So yeah, add me to the list of men who HATE tats on a woman... And I'll bet anything that a lot more men share this viewpoint than are willing to admit.

Reggie1971 said at September 13, 2009 10:46 PM:

Count me among those guys who absolutely despise tattoos on women. Why on earth is it surprising to women that a man would find their beautiful skin more attractive than INK. Even if they are small they are an eyesore and distract from the natural beauty of a woman.

Please spare me the "it's my body" line. Sure it is. You can gain three hundred pounds, shave your head, and stop shaving your legs if that is your wish. I can also find it revolting if I wish.

And the "I'm expressing myself" line is utterly pathetic. There is nothing individualistic about following a fad (fads don't last by the way, tattoos do). The cheesey "artwork" permanently affixed to your body likely wasn't designed by you anyway. Try poetry, advocacy, painting, sculpture, musical composition, or a number of other things if you want to express yourself in a remotely intelligent way.

M said at February 20, 2010 11:21 PM:

I think Robin Williams said it best when he said, "This country was settled by people so uptight, the English kicked them out." As someone with tribal blood on both sides of their family who were here before the uptight one's showed up, I rest my case.

Lady Dragon said at June 11, 2010 12:10 PM:

Lol women with tattoos are attracted to men with tattoos so therefore there are men that do think tattoos are sexy on women. Some people are as worse on discriminating on this topic than people who discriminate against gay people.

Frank Mitchell said at June 19, 2010 7:43 AM:

A tattooed woman has turned herself into an “art object”, but I prefer women to objects. A woman with one tattooed breast has one “art object” and only one breast. A woman with two tattooed breasts is a Titless Wonder!

Cole said at September 13, 2010 2:06 PM:

Yeah, Frank, I know what you mean. Things were so much better when women didn't have the option of not having children and lacked independence. After all, women knew how to submit back then because they are the weaker vessel and a means to a legitimate heir for a man. Who wants a woman who can choose the way she wants to live her life the same exact way a man can?

Relax, guys. I'm just kidding ;^) I'm a faithful, loyal woman with a wonderful man...but things like birth control are very good things...he and I won't have kids until we're financially stable. He has a tattoo that looks wonderful on him and is an outward symbol of how much he loves his people (he's Jewish), and if I get a tattoo, it would be an outward symbol of something just as precious to me, I'm sure. Thanks to things like Dermablend, most tattoos are simple and cheap to cover if you need to do so.

E. Martin said at September 29, 2010 3:57 PM:

Lady Dragon: "Some people are as worse on discriminating on this topic than people who discriminate against gay people."

Well excuse us lowly, anti-tatt men for expressing our preference for a more natural look, unspoiled by those ungodly eyesores.

And BTW, gays are BORN gay... and last I checked, babies aren't born with tatts. Gay/straight/bi is what a person fundamentally is, inside. Tatts are what people chose to deface themselves with. That said, you're free to deface your body to your heart's content: tatts, body "jewelry"/piercings, implants, whatever... Just don't expect everyone to like it.

(It's funny: Women keep bitching on us men to be honest/truthful, but the moment we say something not to their liking, they bitch on use twice as much. Obviously, for a woman, "be honest with me" means "you better say what I want to hear.")

Frank Mitchell said at December 22, 2010 12:49 PM:

For a woman to use her beautiful skin as a canvas for a tattoo is like using a rare manuscript for toilet paper.

TheTruthMan said at September 23, 2011 12:09 PM:

The increased incidence of tattoos during currently is nothing more than a fad in a culture looking for instant gratification. In fact, in my opinion, having a tattoo doesn't make a person unique. So many people have them now days and are so blatant about "showing off" their tattoos (especially in a bar..and women are now just as guilty of this as men) that it does not even have shock value anymore, regardless of how crazy the design or how much ink you have. A decade ago, you hardly could find a woman with a tattoo...if you did, she typically was labeled as some sort of social misfit. As for men, tattoos were very common with military as well as prison inmates. Now, every guy who wants to look like he is a bad-ass decides to get inked up. Most of the dudes I know who get them do not get them for any deep-seated meaning. It is usually to try to look like they are a UFC fighter(which most of them don't know how to fight anyway)and to get female attention. And, as my defendants would say, "well, a lot of successful people get tattoos, so your analysis doesn't mean anything." Sure...on the surface they may appear successful. But just because you have a successful occupation does not say much about your personal life or your emotional issues. And, just from personal experience, most of the people with tattoos that I have really gotten to know have some sort of emotional issue. If they didn't, then they wouldn't feel the need to permanently "express themselves" or "in remembrance of X, Y, or Z." I've been through some really bad times, and personally, I'd rather not remember any of it...especially with something that I would have to stare at in the mirror for the rest of my life. Concerning tattoos being "sexy" on women, the definition of "sexy" for females in terms of style changes each number of years. Ladies...what would you do if in 5 years tattoos weren't "sexy" anymore? My guess is that the tattoo removal business would jump 400%. And why get a tattoo that you have to cover it up? What the hell is the point if nobody sees the damn thing anyway, unless you are at the beach or are in the sack? And girls, if you do decide you are going to get one to "express yourself," have some balls and get one that people can see. Don't make it some sort of surprise. I mean, if I took a chick home to bed and found a butterfly on her pantyline, I could really care less. To me, it would just say that she just wanted to be rebellious, but not rebellious enough for mommy or daddy to find out. That isn't sexy at all. So, if you are in the military, are a REAL UFC fighter, a prison gang-member, or a tattoo artist yourself...you are immune from this rant. But the other 95% of these preppies, young white girls from upper-middle class homes, and moms with mid-life crises who thinks it's cool...ya'll are just a bunch of sheep that do whatever MTV tells you to do...stop being a poser.

Old Before My Time said at September 24, 2011 8:25 PM:

I HATE tattoos on women. I guess I'm just old school, but to me it is low class and superfluous. I believe women ARE the art...the female form is the most beautiful art form out there and to crap it up with hideous tattoos is downright criminal! Further, I can't understand how women fail to recognize that fashion and tastes evolve over the years...clothing, jewelry, hair styles and so on come in and out of vogue. Clearly, a permanent body marking is a bad idea on this basis alone. I hope the trends dies a quick death and we can have beautiful, unblemished young woman to admire once again.

guitar guy said at October 25, 2011 8:31 AM:

Why I left my girl friend:

There you were, beautiful as God made you, beautiful as I loved you, and then you decided to have some loser stencil a butterfly all over your foot. It is “art” in much the same way we refer to the commercial logos on cereal boxes as “art.” It actually looks more like a blemish or disfigurement. And there it is, unavoidable, always there, defacing your appearance.

What I don’t understand is why a recovering alcoholic would want to adopt the look of a scooter tramp in a biker bar. What else might we associate the multiple tattoo look with? Perhaps the dumpy gal in the trailer park, a can of beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other, maybe a bag of chips and a baby under either arm.

Why one so pretty would intentionally make herself look so trashy is simply beyond me. My feelings were not considered, so I’ll vote with my feet.

Wiccan said at November 20, 2011 9:04 PM:

Tattoos on women. What do they mean? Well lets see. They're personal and so can mean an infinate number of things.
Tattoos on any gender are their own choice for their own personal reasons. (Unless it's a drunken spur of the moment idea which can be silly, but still represents the person at that time of their life).

They are NOTHING to do with anyone but the person wearing the ink.

How other people interpret it reflects only on them.

I personally wouldn't get a tattoo on my face. But thats my preference. I will not judge someone that has a tattoo on their face, same as I won't judge someone that is in a wheelchair or has a deformity.

If you don't like tattoos. Fair enough, express that respectfully and move on. There is no need to rant about it and try to make others feel bad for their own life choices which neither involve nor affect you. Same as if you like tattoos. Express yourself respectfully and move on.

A lot of time is wasted on negativity and judgments on others with no basis. Even leading to wars!. Race, sex, religion, age, disability.... The list is a long one.

Try to be happy with who you are WITHOUT hurting others and maybe prejudice will become extinct.... I can live in hope.

yo said at April 11, 2012 11:17 PM:

Not a fan. It's not a deal-breaker if it's small or meaningful or something like that, but chicks who get bows on the backs of their legs, a huge thing across their breastbone, or completely covered arms, yuck. I see a lot of cute girls that do this to themselves, and meh. I'm big on the 'it'll look terrible after 40' argument. A grandma that's all tatted up, would -- c'mon you can't disagree (and if you do you either are trying too hard or are just being obtuse in order to support your argument) -- look hideous with tats all up and down her arms. Even if they were bright and colorful and arty in her 20's, they would look downright disgusting at 50+. Ugh. Imagine in their 70's. Uggggh....

middle-class white girl said at September 21, 2012 1:24 AM:

Seriously, what has happened to us as a nation? As a whole, have we really become this ignorant? Honestly people, educate yourselves a bit before lashing out at others. I'm a young, Caucasian female brought up in a modest, middle-class family in the suburbs. Yet unlike so many men who have commented, I know that body modification has been around for thousands of years in cultures worldwide. This isn't some recent pop culture phenomenon. Look, just because I disagree with the notion that women are meant to only keep a home, barefoot, with a baby on each hip and one on the way, it doesn't mean that I'm going to tear you a new one and go on some holier-than-thou rant about what's wrong with gender roles nowadays. You say tons of tattoos even on men is repulsive? The concept of body art has been a part of many warrior cultures. Sleeves and suits from Japan, Polynesian faces, Aboriginal and Native American body art. Even women of status, like priestesses and oracles likely had some form of body art. Body modification, be it tattooing/piercings/other forms of mods, even today is considered a mark of beauty in certain cultures.

Somebody made a comment about Chinese symbols and said, and I quote, "what's so great about chinese culture anyways?" Just THINK for a moment how many things we wouldn't have today if not for China in the past? The fireworks you look forward to during 4th of July celebrations and other times of the year? Guess what? If not for them inventing the stuff, we wouldn't have it. So many things we take for granted wouldn't exist if not for other cultures. Have we really become that egocentric? Just because it hasn't been a prevailing part of "American"culture since Europeans first arrived here doesn't make it something disgusting and repulsive. We're so caught up in the next big thing, the newest and biggest and shiniest. You walk into a bookstore today and do you see a bunch of books with the same solid-color cover? No. Because it's the glitz that gets people anymore. Now, judging a person as if judging a book by its cover. Yes, some of the books with the flashiest covers aren't even worth the read. But on the other hand, what's old is also new again and classics are being revamped with flashy new covers. Take the hardcover book sleeve off and you might think the piece of crap is of the same quality literature as the classic. In fact, illustrations have been used since prehistoric times to tell stories. Whether it's done on a rock face, stretched animal hide (the canvas of antiquity), or the human body, it tells a story all the same.

Just because somebody, male or female, has tattoos it doesn't mean they're a bad person. Anything and everything can be used for good or evil. Fire can both save a life and destroy it. While gunpowder wasn't invented for use in firearms, look what happened. Nuclear fission was discovered only to be turned into a weapon of mass destruction. While tattoos are associated with gang affiliation and prison, Hitler had Jews in concentration camps identified by tattooed numbers and slaves were branded with their owner's mark. Some people are lemmings and just follows trends, like the ridiculous tribal arm band fad or the tramp stamp (which guys get too by the way). But that is far from being the gold standard. Tattoos have also been used to signify a marriage union in some cultures, finally becoming a man or a woman, even high status. They can tell a story or they can be a part of somebody's life that they always want to be reminded of, whether it's the birth of a child or a reminder of one's past struggle, of what they overcame to still be alive today.

So all in all, yes, I agree, you have every right to not like tattoos on women. Just like some men don't like women who are tall or are supermodel thin. For women, a guy can look like a total slimeball regardless of whether or not he's inked. The original question was "what do they mean?" Just think about what you're actually saying before you post and even if you don't agree with somebody's opinion, at least be respectful about it. Tattooing has been around a lot longer than all of us voicing our opinions and will continue long after we've returned to the earth. Unless of course you're cremated and stuffed inside a vessel, mummified, or frozen lol. =)

garfield said at October 4, 2012 12:14 AM:

Tattoos are all about the body and that say volumes about you. And what is says is not good.

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