Women of colour vs ink: racism, sexism and white feminism in modern British tattoo culture

Masters Thesis

Glendining, R. 2018. Women of colour vs ink: racism, sexism and white feminism in modern British tattoo culture. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Arts and Humanities
AuthorsGlendining, R.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMA

There has been, and continues to be, a rise of feminist subject matter within mainstream media and popular literature. Within, there is an area of literature that explores feminism and women within tattoo culture; the most popular being Margot Mifflin’s ‘Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo’. However, this media is often American–centric, and ignores an intersectional approach or doesn’t acknowledge matters of race and racism, and the experiences of women of colour. LGBTQ+ women of colour are especially ignored, as is the cultural implication of being a tattooed woman of colour, or a woman of colour tattooist, within the United Kingdom.

Using a practice–based, research–through–design approach, the aim of this thesis is to investigate and challenge the idea that women of colour don’t partake in modern tattoo culture, to highlight the experiences of tattooed women of colour within the UK, and to respond to the current UK tattoo culture from the point of view of tattooed women of colour.

Additionally, semi–structured interviews and a literature review are used to contribute to the argument that while there is a rise in visible tattooed women of colour and women of colour tattooists within the United Kingdom, there is a long way to go to reach the same representation and treatment as experienced by white men and women within UK tattoo culture, and that Eurocentric beauty standards, racism and the experiences of being a woman of colour greatly impacts our relationship with tattoos, both positively and negatively.

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Publication process dates
Deposited11 Sep 2019
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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