for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Tattoos–male or female?


Image by kenjiys via Flickr

A reader recently asked if some tattoo placements were more masculine or feminine.   It’s an interesting question!

There’s no doubt that some tattoo placements seem to be associated more with one gender than the other.   The classic place for a man’s tattoo is on a bicep.   The “tramp stamp” (just above the butt crack) placement seems to be favored mostly by women.   Women seem to like bracelets and anklets while men like arm bands.

But as with everything associated with tattoos, where they go on your body is your choice.   My daughter has a fantastic arm band, an original design incorporating a red-tailed hawk (her great-grandmother’s totem animal).   I have seen men with great designs on their lower backs.   It’s all a matter of personal preference, and if some genders choose one place more than other, that doesn’t mean the other gender is out of luck.

As I’ve said before, one of the most important things you can do before you get a tattoo is to think about where you’d like to put it.   You have to take a lot of things into consideration.   Will the ink need to be covered by clothing most of the time so it won’t put employers off, or do you want it to be visible most of the time?   Do you want the ink on an area of the body that is known to be painful to tattoo?   Is your design so large that it has to go on a larger area of skin?   Those things, far more than any notion of “masculine” or “feminine” placement, are what you should be considering.

If where you want your ink is a place favored by the opposite gender, that’s your choice.   You are, after all, decorating your own body in your own way, so who cares if someone else thinks it’s in the wrong place?   Just get the very best tattoo you can, with personal significance, and then sit back and enjoy your beautiful decorations.

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  1. Pingback: Tattoos masculine | Trelittle

  2. Oh yes! Wow, that’s beautiful!!!

  3. No, apparently the link didn’t come through. Please do try again, I would love to see your beautiful new ink.

  4. Hoping the link works and you are able to see my picture.

  5. Mary, if you can post a picture I would love to see it. It sounds beautiful!

  6. Well, I got it done! I have a gorgeous gerber daisy with smaller blue daisies and purple smoke on the inside of my forearm. I love it, although it is hurting like nothing else I have ever experienced. But I am so happy with it. Thanks for your input!!! I’d love to send a pic, if I could.

  7. Mary, thanks for asking such a good question! And I’d be excited too. There is just nothing like the feeling you get when you make yourself more beautiful, and I’m sure your new artwork will do just that. And of course the placement will mean you can admire it any time you want.

    We do tend to forget the tattoos we can’t see, don’t we? Sometimes when I’m getting out of the shower I catch a glimpse of the dragon on my back, which I tend to forget is there. It’s always a joy to see it again. 🙂

  8. Well, first off, thank you for addressing my question!!! I so appreciate it!

    In just 6 short sleeps (can you tell I worked with kids) I am getting a large piece on the inside of my forearm. I have given it so much thought since I booked my appointment. I am worried about how it may be percieved, as I am not what you may call a dainty gal. But you know what? I am so excited about it!! I know my artist is going to do his best to make it as girly as he can for me, and what I want. I already have a daisy on the inside of my wrist and he is going to extend it for me.

    I know it is going to hurt more than pretty much anything because of the placement AND my artist is heavy handed. I AM going to have to cover it at work. But I am excited. It is going to be a piece of art, on my arm, that I can look at everyday. And hopefully, it will make me smile. It will be the largest piece I will have.

    Infmom, you are right. At the end of the day, it is my body, for me and only me to judge. A tattoo on my forearm does not make me more masculine just like the “tramp stamp” does not instantly make someone sleazy, nor does a rose tattoo make someone more feminine. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as cliche as that sounds, it is true. This tattoo is an extention of myself, an expression of me. If someone cares to ask for the story behind it, great. If they choose to pre-judge based on the location or even the fact that I have a tattoo is not my issue. It is theirs.

    Tattoos, like music or beliefs or even perfume is a personal, individual thing. And I for one am going to embrace that in myself.

    Thank you again.

    p.s….I too have a “tramp stamp”. But I almost always forget I have it!

  9. I feel exactly the same way. I always liked the lower-back tattoos and thought it was a great place for one till I heard (not so very long ago, either) what they were called. And then all of a sudden it seemed sleazy instead of beautiful. Nothing has changed about the location or the appeal of the tattoos, but if that’s the popular perception of them… sigh.

  10. Thought I’d make a quick comment on this one – much like you, I waited until later in life to get a tattoo although I had been planning since I was a teenager. Before the lower back tattoo became popular, that was my location of choice. I thought how unique, and how feminine. It’s such a beautiful part of the female figure, ink would compliment it nicely.

    Until I heard the phrase ‘tramp stamp’. I don’t know what it is about that phrase that completely turned me off; I’m not conservative by any means, but tramp stamp cheapened it for me. Don’t know if it was the fact that it became so main stream that it finally had a nickname, or if I cringe at the thought of falling in the ranks of ‘tramp’. I feel naive allowing mere words to alter my perception of beauty, but in this case, I just can’t shake it.

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