Women are constantly finding new ways to express their creative sides, from neon clothing, rainbow hairdos, to long nails and tattoos. Tattoos allow self- expression to take place give us insight into an individual’s artistic mind. Over the years, tattoos have become common in the art world, as well as serving a specific purpose culturally. Generally, tattoos are frowned upon and often seen by many as a type of offense towards your body. In some instances, female tattooing is a representation of cultural beliefs and social structure.
This is prevalent in the Indian-Hindu culture; while in western society, tattooos seem to be less cultural and more faddish.
This year, popular R & B singer Fantasia Burino, made a bold statement by tattooing a boyfriend’s name on her shoulder. This sparked lots of controversy, for this was the first time a famous African American celebrity flaunted the name of a significant other as tattoo art.
Which brings us to the question, what does tattooing signify for African American females? While some African American females see tattooing as a way to express individuality, others like Fantasia, use it to make bold statements.
When submitting to needles and ink, some women may view it as being taboo for religious reasons often referring to the biblical method that “your body is a temple.”
Despite their beliefs, many African American women in modern society have often been criticized for not appearing professional and well mannered when it comes to tattoo choices.
Brown Sista, an online magazine, posted an article titled Sistas and Tattoos in 2007 that stressed the point that as African American women, we sometimes push the line of “overdoing it” when it comes to fashion choices. Just like other forms of creativity, many African American females are often stereotyped and given negative representation for their choice fashion.
Tattooing, although different in style, is similar in the area of allowing individuals to express their personal beliefs. Being a tattooed African American woman myself, I take pride in my ink. My tattoos are meaningful to me and represent different aspects of my life, from my birth to some of my deepest passions.
Whether it be through symbols, names, art design or messages, I think it is time that we accept that tattooing is a new form of expression for African American females and it is here to stay.