This is a ponder, rather than requiring a definitive answer.
When I was out last Friday I saw a girl, with long sandy wavy hair, tanned, pretty, wearing a maxi dress and sleeveless denim gilet. When she turned around, I was shocked that she had a full sleeve. Not shocked in an “oh my god, that’s disgusting” kind of way. But she didn’t look the type.
I mean, what does “the type” look like anyway?
On the same night, my husband took this photograph of me.
It’s not often I see how many tattoos I actually have (I mean obviously I know how many I have, because I commissioned all of them, but because of their position and me not being able to do an exorcist style headspin I don’t get to see them all). And I wondered how many people had the same thought about me? Were they surprised? Did they do a double take? Did they think that I was purposely trying to show them off with the top I was wearing? (that isn’t why I bought it, by the way, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the effect).
If the girl I mentioned had been a boy, I wouldn’t have taken any notice at all.
I know a lot of it is down to pop culture. David Beckham is heavily tattooed and has made the look very much mainstream. Sure, there are people who are vocal about not liking his look, but in the main he’s classed as a handsome man with a fantastic career behind him, a sporting hero and a real family man (apart from the old Rebecca Loos phase). ASOS use many (in fact, mainly) tattooed models in their male section. Sports (I use that term lightly) like UFC, where men are pretty naked as they fight, showcase tattooed bodies. And, let’s face it, tattoos on blokes are now pretty “trendy”.
Name a heavily tattooed woman? You probably can’t. The first one that comes to my mind (excluding actual tattoo artists) is Jodie Marsh, and she’s not exactly someone to aspire to based on her past (can you say judgemental?!). Yes there are women who have tattoos (Angelina Jolie, for example) but not many of them, and certainly none with much coverage.
Maybe part of it comes down to clothing differences between genders. If a man is going to an event, or to work, where he may not want to show his tattoos for whatever reason, then he can easily cover up in a long sleeved shirt and trousers. If a woman is going to an event then it’s much more difficult. And while I have blogged before about my own appreciation of a glamorous woman with tattoos on show, I can’t say I would dress like that for a work function.
If I had a different life I would look different. I’d certainly like a half sleeve. I’d like finger tattoos. I’d like to look like any one of these cool ladies.
But fear of judgement stops me in my current life. Because, despite equality and feminism and all the other great steps that womankind has supposedly made, I still believe that women with tattoos are judged negatively by many.
And that is why I think more women don’t get a lot of tattoos.
But to those that do? You’re awesome!