Visualize your typical tattoo shop...you’re probably not envisioning lush furniture, brightly painted walls and chic decor. Neither did we, until we came across Nice Tattoo, an all-female artist tattoo parlour in Brooklyn, NY that is trying to change the way women experience the process of being tattooed. An ego and judgement-free tattoo shop, where men and women alike are welcome to enjoy the process of getting tattooed without feeling intimidated by the overwhelming testosterone and dark, dingy shops that we have been used to for many years.
Over the last decades tattoos have gained increasing popularity and according to a 2012 Harris Poll, 1 in 5 Americans has at least one tattoo. Tattoos have made their way into popular culture through our favorite celebrities, TV shows and now they are even hitting the runways as Dior included temporary collar bone tattoos paired with long floor grazing gowns in their recent presentation last month.
Although those tattoos may have been temporary, permanently tattooed women have become more common than men. The same Harris Poll states that 23% of tattooed people in the United States are women. Compared to 19% for men. Although this statistic was discovered in 2012, the industry still remains predominantly dominated by male tattoo artists.
Nice Tattoos mission is to make the tattoo industry a little more inclusive and welcoming, not only for clients but for female artists in the industry as well. Since men make up most of the artists in America (only 1 in 6 tattoo artists is female) women have had a harder time making headway as tattoo artists.
“The industry had been both historically male dominated and continues to be very heteronormative for men,” said Margot Mifflin, author of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo. “Tattoo reality shows have been dominated by men, and commercial magazines are still unabashedly, laughably sexist, often with the pretense of being edgy.”
Female artists are often not taken as seriously as men in the industry, making it harder for them to get ahead. Although it was never their initially intention, Nice Tattoo now operates with an all female staff and now sees the cultural importance of providing an alternative space for female artists.
All-female tattoos shops have become more common in recent years, popping up all over the US and Canada at shops like Beaver Tattoo in Queens, Jackalope Tattoo in Minneapolis and last year saw the opening of Welcome Home Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a shop that employs female, trans, queer and gender-nonconforming artists.
With females making up most of the tattoo community, it’s certain we will see more and more shops like Nice Tattoo popping up all over the nation. Gone are the days that getting tattooed by a jacked-up, fully tattooed dude, who secretly hates the the flower design you picked is the only option. If you don’t have an all female tattoo shop near you, check out this list of some of our favorite female artists across North America. All of these artists use Zensa's tattoo numbing cream to make the process that much easier to handle.
Samantha Smith @Scragpie - Calgary, AB
Helena Darling @helenadarling - Halifax, NS
Ashley Driscoll @shleydriscoll - Toronto, ON
Rebecca O’Quinn @beckyoq - Halifax, NS
Samantha Read @samreadtattoos - Ottawa, ON