This story is over 5 years old.


The Future of Tattooing Is Female

How fourth-wave feminism and social media are changing the culture’s gender balance.

According to a Harris Poll, 2012 was the first year that more women in the U.S. had tattoos than men (23% of women compared to 19% of men.) The statistic is less empowering for women working in tattoo shops—according to a 2010 study by Columbia University, just one in six tattooers is female—but it is still a progressive increase. As Sarah Carter, a tattoo artist who creates black-and-gray masterpieces inspired by religious iconography, puts it, "It's not such a goddamn sausage party now."


It started to become less of a sausage fest in the 1960s, when birth control first became available and more women than ever entered the paid workforce. That included the tattoo industry, which captured and amplified the non-conformist and anti-establishment attitudes of the decade.

Two of the women I talked to for this article were inspired by Cindy Ray, who started tattooing in Australia in that era: "When I was looking for a job, I carried her picture around with me," says Sera Helen of Auckland's Two Hands Tattoo. Ukraine-born artist Stanislava Pinchuk, who is also known as Miso and is (sometimes) based in Melbourne, even forged a friendship with Ray. "Cindy is 72 now, and more beautiful than she's ever been," Miso says. "She cooks me these giant waffles with a cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth, and walks a German Shepherd that's twice her size on a metal chain like it's nothing. Her attitude is incredible—she's funny as hell and has no ego [considering] what a huge part of the industry she has been."

Continue reading on i-D.