Feminism and tattoos have been prevalent throughout history, with feminist movement coming in waves in order to evoke change. The first feminist movement in the United States took place in the early 20th century.

Down With the Patriarchy: Feminist Tattoo Ideas

Feminism has been prevalent throughout history, with feminist movement cropping in waves in order to evoke change. The first feminist movement in the United States took place in the early 20th century to get women the right to vote. The 1960s saw the second wave of feminism which sought women’s liberation and equality. The third wave took place in the early 1990s to gain a focus on individuality and diversity. The current feminist movement, the fourth wave, is dedicated to equal presence and representation in government and industry, equality of power, body autonomy. Tattoos that proclaim support of and participation in these movements are more popular than ever, and there’s a huge number of ideas that can be made into tattoos that fit this ideal. We put together a list of some such ideas, so read on to gain inspiration for a feminist tattoo.

Right to Rebel

Rebellion is a keystone of any feminist movement, and there are many ways in which to do so. Tattoos that encourage this message are design that celebrate female empowerment and often, especially in recent times, act as symbols of the fourth wave feminism movement. Some designs that can get this message across are the symbolic strong raised fist, picket signs, and any number of ideas that have stood for rebellion on behalf of feminism throughout history.

We Run the World

Female Holding up the World Tattoo

A recent Stephen King book called Sleeping Beauties explored what the world might look like if women weren’t in it. Spoiler alert: it isn’t pretty. Women are essential to society, for so much more than just reproductive purposes. There’s a saying that goes “behind every successful man is a strong woman”. We agree to a point; it should read “beside” instead of “behind”. There’s another saying that goes “behind every strong woman is herself”. The point is that women run the world behind the scenes, and it’s time for that to become more visible. If this is something you subscribe to, then tattoos like this one of a female Atlas holding up the world are good ones to get across that message.

Gender Pride

Whether you’re born female or are female identifying, gender pride symbols can be great tattoo design ideas. There are quite a few things that can be used as a tattoo the signifies being proud of your female gender, from the more obvious things like the symbol of Venus, to the slightly less obvious, and more rebellious, ideas like rejection of the “ideal” body type; designs that embrace all shapes and sizes of women. The tattoo doesn’t need to be complex to get your idea across, making this a great possibility for minimalist tattoos. Something as simple as a pair of lips or expressive eyes can be a killer design for a tattoo that celebrates gender pride.

Powerful Words

There’s no limit to the words that can be used for a powerful feminist tattoo. You can come up with your own phrases that are meaningful to you in terms of the feminist movements, or you can use any that have become linked to feminism, like: “No means no”, “not your baby”, “not yours”, “my body, my rules”, “she can”, “nevertheless, she persisted”, “nasty woman”, “girl power”, “females are strong as hell”. Script tattoos can make simple, impactful tattoos if you choose the words that mean the most to you in the framework of feminism.

Death to Gender Roles

You can embrace your gender while rejecting the idea of gender roles in society, and getting a tattoo that signifies this message makes for a kickass feminist tattoo. Things that act as “traditional” symbols of women but used in an ironic way is one approach to designing these kinds of tattoos, as are designs rejecting these ideas completely. Things like make up, bras, or archaic typical housewife stereotypes are a few places you could start when you’re thinking about a tattoo of this nature.

For the Lolz

Humor can be a great way to get a message across, and they make for fun tattoos. Satirical tattoos in the vein of feminism allow for a lot of creativity, and can be an awesome way to show off your viewpoint. No idea is off limits for this kind of tattoo design, so don’t hold back when coming up with an idea. Not only will you proudly proclaim your feminist views, you showcase some of your personality with this kind of ink as well.

Body Autonomy

Minimalistic Tattoo of a Uterus

Body autonomy is the right to govern and decide on one’s own bodies, legally, societally, physically, psychologically. Now, more than ever, tattoos dedicated to this message are not only prevalent, but important. Words like those mentioned above (my body, my rules) can be used for this kind of idea, but imagery can be powerful as well. Designs involving a rebellious uterus, imagery that involves specifics of things that are being politically debated in regards to women’s bodies (birth control methods, for instance), or a woman’s body as a whole are some potential ideas that can be used under this theme.

Strong Female Figures

Rosie the Riveter Simplistic Tattoo

Strong, visible women in society, either real or fictional, are important. Choose whoever it is that you admire and consider getting a tattoo dedicated to them. Anyone like Wonder Woman, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Rosie the Riveter, Beyoncé, Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Ellen Ripley – the list goes on and on. Whoever you admire and see as a strong female figure is a fantasatic idea for a feminist tattoo.

Witch Symbolism

Witches are sometimes seen as the OG feminists, historically. They were strong women who were persecuted for their independence and refusal to adhere to patriarchal rules of society, and so were deemed witches – dangerous and Godless. These women were severely punished for their independence, most often with death. Though it may be slightly more obscure, any imagery that is considered witchy or pays homage to these women can be considered feminist tattoos.

There are a variety of symbols and designs that can be used to make effective and thought-provoking femininst tattoos, it’s up to you to choose which one resonates with you most. Tattoos of this nature are becoming especially common within society, and will likely continue to be a popular theme for tattoos as long as women around the world feel marginalized in their society. If you want to join this worldwide movement, but aren’t sure how, a meaningful feminist tattoo can be a great start.

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