God. I have been wanting and meaning to write about this forever but as I have blabbered before about my life- I am tattooing, running a business, rearing a little one, painting for fun in my studio at home after work- which was after dinner that I made for my family- so, you get it. But I often say, I only have one life and I hate being lazy! I am compelled to do what I do and this topic for an article has been on my mind since I have indulged in this blog...I am not even sure where to start on this one...
When I first started tattooing there was definitely only a small handful of women in tattooing. Few women got tattooed as well. I think I adjusted to being the only girl in the shops I have worked at because since a young age I always hung out with boys and was interested in what the boys were doing. I grew up as a tom boy. So when I was introduced to tattooing I was comfortable enough. It was not until a few years later that I found out that there is a weird rivalry between women and men that tattooed.
Honestly, I do not even know where to begin on this one...
From what I know about tattoo history, tattooing has always been competitive between tattooers. Tattooers in the past have been known to safe guard secrets of the trade. A lot of women that tattooed in the old timey days where instructed by their husbands and that is how they became a tattooer.
Sometime later more women started tattooing on their own without the association of a male. (I am wondering where the feminist art movement in the 70's fits in with all this...)So anyway as I started tattooing in the late 90's there were some women in tattooing on the map. Very inspirational! However, the big names in the business was and is still men. Men owned tattooing.
When I started tattooing in SF in the 2003 I worked with other gals for the first time. All of a sudden I go from dudes everywhere to women tattooing! Everywhere! There was and is no shortage of women tattooing in the SF bay area. And they are good! Really good. They hold their own and the seem to be respected. However there is still this weird immaturity-air-around boys are better than girls thing. I was really feeling it among the traditional style guys. Like they are keeping it so traditional that they even believe women don't have a place in tattooing. But even still you know how inferiority complexes go- If boys (someone, any sex) is insecure about their position being competitive with another in their field, their attitude is just plain, well, stupid.
I have totally experienced working with guys at a shop where they thought I sucked just because I was a girl. It used to get to me then. Now I couldn't give two shits. I guess after awhile you just build confidence and believe in what you are doing, so what others say don't phase you so much.
I think tattooing has come a long way. I don't mind that it has become commercial. There is public things that maybe are not best for the industry but everyone looks at things different. What is most important is that the people that are in the industry love tattooing and care for it and do the best to represent tattooing in a positive way. If you have no love for the tattoo world, man or woman you don't deserve to be here. That's how I see it. XOXO ~J