Always happy to see some positive coverage of tattoos in the mainstream media, imagine my delight when I saw this blog post on the Guardian site, about women tattoo artists:
I have used the term ‘women artists’ and not ‘female artists’ because any use of the word ‘female’ in relation to any discussion surrounding the human race and not the animal kingdom makes me cringe.
My first observation was that the blog appeared in the ‘fashion blog’ section, which made me think why not the society section, or art, or culture? I’m not sure if the placement of the blog depends upon the person who writes the post, or who makes the decision – the author or the editor. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting point that the placement happened to be in ‘fashion’. I think, especially as the post is about ARTISTS, I would have preferred it to be placed within the art section, or culture at least.
The sub-heading states that the increase in women artists is “changing the business” but doesn’t really go on to explain why or how within the post. I mean, I would like to know – how exactly are women changing the business? Yes there is a noticeable increase in women artists – and this is indeed, brilliant of course. But, how is this changing the tattoo business?
The article also asks why women artists are so popular. Why wouldn’t they be? This is a valid question, I suppose – the women mentioned in the article are well known within the industry and are the ‘hot names’ at the moment, which is why they have waiting lists years long, but this happens to male artists too. It does pose the question, do people go out to find a woman artist specifically? Or when looking for a tattoo artist, does one look at the art work first, and gender second? Would you choose a woman artist over a man *just* because you want a woman artist?
Do women really make ‘different’ art to men? Is there a feminine aesthetic? Surely we are past the idea that men create ‘masculine’ art and women create ‘feminine’ art….. aren’t we?
One statement in the blog post really caught my attention: “with 20 million of the 62.6 million of us in the UK inking our bodies, the aesthetic of beauty is shifting”. CUE MY PhD! I love the idea of a shifting beauty aesthetic, and the fact that tattoos are a part of this. This, has it happens, is a major focus within my PhD.
So although I began by saying I was pleased when I saw this article, I seemed to have moaned about it a little, and questioned it somewhat, and perhaps I’ve ended up with more questions than answers. But questioning, and critiquing is a good thing, surely.
And, the post does point out that the tattoo industry is a “hugely progressive industry in terms of gender equality”.