Sophia O'Keefe / Mustang News

When food science sophomore Fionna Fahey flexes her right bicep, she displays strength in more ways than one. Inked inside of her arm is the image of a woman with roses growing on her bare body where smaller, younger girls are watering them.

Initially, Fahey wanted the tattoo for two main reasons: the drawing was by the artist Valfré, who’s known for creating “badass women,” and she simply thought it was cute.  It wasn’t until after getting the tattoo did Fahey realize that it conveyed a deeper meaning.

“It’s something like women building and helping women,” Fahey said.

Although getting a tattoo resembled a sense of empowerment to Fahey, the symbol of feminism added a stronger, more personal aspect to the art.  Fahey’s tattoo was done by a woman artist at The Hideaway Tattoo, female-owned-and-operated tattoo parlor in San Diego.  Fahey said that she felt more comfortable getting her tattoo done by a woman and their connection made the experience even more special.

“Today, women are allowed to define what it means to them to be their own woman,” Fahey said. “Women embrace their own sexuality, femininity or even lack thereof; women are able to turn away from traditional female roles and redefine feminism by empowering each other.”

The tattoo culture has changed over the years, evolving with social and
political movements.

“Twenty years ago, women weren’t really seen in the tattoo industry because it was so male-dominated,” Traditional Tattoo manager Michelle Perlich said.

The tattoo industry’s female presence has slowly but surely progressed.

“Now, I’d say that about sixty percent of people getting tattoos today are female,” Perlich said. “In the past, women have been looked down upon, so they need to have thick skin when they come up against guys who think they’re so tough. They have to keep their heads up and stay true to what they know.”

English senior Laura Horst got a tattoo depicting a crown on her chest at Traditional Tattoo to honor her inherent right to femininity and her body.

“It reminds me that I have power,” Horst said. “Even though I live with the fear that it could be violated. I have a right to these things, by virtue of being born, being human, and being a woman.”

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