Women and Tattoos
The Early Days
In the early days of body art it was socially unacceptable for women to have tattoos. It wasn't until the early 1920s that we started seeing women cover their bodies with ink, even then it was somewhat unacceptable, These women were mainly in the circus. They were freaks, put on display for people to come and gawk at.
Nora Hildebrandt was America's first professional tattooed lady. Her place in history is due to the fact that her father Martin Hildebrandt was Americas first professional tattoo artist. Nora stood in as a canvas for her father when he was not tattooing sailors and soldiers.
Jean Furella became a tattooed woman for love. Once a bearded lady in the circus, she met her future husband, but he would not become involved with her because of her beard. So she shaved it off and had her body covered in tattoos to stay in the business.
Betty Broadbent was the most famous tattooed attraction of all time. Nicknamed the Tattooed Venus. She became interested in tattoos when she met a tattooed man being exhibited on the boardwalk in Atlantic city in 1923. During her era, tattoos were not at all popular among women. They were mainly associated with sailors and gangsters.
Originally she wanted to become a tattoo artist, but decided to to become a work of art instead. She rode horses in the rodeo to save up money, once she had enough she ventured to New York City to get her tattoos. Over a two year period, Charlie Wagner and Joe Van Hart labored to pattern her body with 365 tattoos.
Finally in 1927 at the age of 18, she joined the Ringling Brothers and Bailey circus as the youngest tattooed women in the United States. Betty was one of the last working tattooed ladies in the U.S., retiring in 1967 from the Clyde Beatty circus after 40 years in show business.
In 1981 she became the first person honored in the tattoo hall of fame. Sadly, in 1983, she died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 74.
Kat Von D
Kat Von D was born in 1982 and is an American tattoo artist and TV personality. She got her start on TV in the show Miami Ink, But eventually got her own show called L.A. Ink which documents her shop.
When Kat was just 14 years old she dropped out of school and decided to be a tattoo artist. She practiced and worked for 2 years before achieving her dream.
Now at age 27, Kat has been tattooing for more than 11 years profesionally. She holds the world recored for most tattoos given in 24 hours at 400 tattoos.
Suicide Girls is a website that features pin-up style photos of goth, punk and indie styled young women with tattoos.
The website was created in 2001 by Alec Jain and Selena Mooney. The website was based in Portland, Oregon, But with its growing success the website operations moved to Los Angeles California in 2003.
All the models have their own unique names but are all referred to as "Suicide Girls."
I think its absolutely wonderful that there is a site out there where women with tattoos are considered beautiful.
Today tattoos are no longer reserved for soldiers, bikers, tough guys or circus folk.
In fact, tattoos for women are becoming more and more common. Seen on celebrities and stay at home moms alike.
Just in the last decade tattoos have become more a commonplace for women. They are no longer considered ugly, or freakish, no longer socially unacceptable. But rather beautiful works of art.