Female tattoos, ladies tattoos or girly tattoos – in other words tattoos that are feminine in design, and therefore favored by women and girls – are becoming more and more common. For the first fifty or sixty years after tattooing became commonplace and even mainstream in modern society, few women got tattoos – in fact, those that did were the exception and usually a touch eccentric or rebellious.
All that changed about twenty years ago when tattooing became more socially acceptable, largely due to the many celebrities who publicly sported tattoos. Some of these were women, and so, tattoos for women became more common and acceptable. Nowadays most people find female tattoos attractive, they certainly aren't offensive anymore.
That having been said it’s still true that more men than women get tattoos and it’s even true that there is a little element of social rebellion inherent in a woman’s decision to get a tattoo, although this is less and less the case, tattoos are more like a fashion item these days.
Feminine ink is no longer shocking, and we no longer jump to conclusions about a woman’s moral character based on whether or not she has a few tattoos!
Many women are physically smaller and more delicately built than men and in general. Tattoos for women are generally smaller and prettier than male tattoos because we consider smaller, more delicate things more feminine
That doesn't mean that there are no women with large tattoos, but usually feminine tattoos are more likely to be isolated in one or two areas of the body – as accent pieces, so to speak.
Women’s tattoo designs are also less heavy, less aggressive looking compared to men's tattoos. They tend to have thinner lines, though this is a generalization rather than a rule.
Top 10 Tattoo Designs For Women
Here is a top 10 of tattoo designs that are popular amongst women:
- Butterfly tattoos: butterflies are perhaps the most popular subject for a girl tattoo. They are delicate and beautiful, and ideal as a tattoo design.
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- Tribal lower back tattoos: these were very trendy at the beginning of this century, but were usually not very inspired or original.
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- Flower tattoos: flowers have a natural beauty and are very feminine, it's not hard to understand why they are usually considered a girly tattoo design. Popular tattoo flowers are roses, lilies, hibiscus, lotus flowers and cherry blossom. Each flower has a deeply rooted symbolic meaning.
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- Star tattoos: stars are one of the oldest symbols and have a strong symbolic meaning. They are universal, can be simple and small or combined with other designs, that's why they are so popular as a ladies tattoo.
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- Fairy tattoos: fairies look like cute girls, but have a dark side and magical powers. It's not hard to see where the appeal of fairy tattoos comes from.
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- Heart tattoos: hearts are the symbol of love and romance and have been a popular design for tattoos since the early days.
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- Dragonfly tattoos: most women are not very fond of insects, but that's not the case with dragonflies, which are very well-liked as a tattoo design. They live in the same realm as butterflies and fairies.
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- Swallow tattoos: these are typical old-school Sailor Jerry type of designs and became trendy again thanks to the renewed interest in all things retro.
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- Zodiac tattoos: if you believe in astrology, having your zodiac sign tattooed is a good option.
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- Text tattoos: tattoos of quotes, verses or phrases from the Bible are a popular choice for women. Sometimes they are combined with other design elements, but usually it's just the words, written in a nice font.
Women’s Tattoo Locations
Here's the top 10 of popular tattoo spots for women and girls:
- Just above the ankle: the ankles are another popular tattoo place, very feminine. They are easy to cover up if you want to (by wearing socks) and not so problematic as foot tattoos. Ankle tattoos are usually small and can be very cute.
- Lower back: lower back female tattoos are very popular for several reasons. First, it's a very feminine spot to have a tattoo. It doesn't usually show, but can be ‘flashed’ as the woman bends over. Catching a glimpse of a lower back tattoo on a woman, you almost get the feeling that you’re seeing something you shouldn't be – very tantalizing!
Lower back tattoos are also known as "tramp stamps" because so many girls have a tattoo there. Don't let this put you off though, if you think your lower back is the perfect place for your tattoo, then by all means, go ahead. Getting a lower back tattoo because it is fashionable is not a very good idea though.
- The inside of the wrist: this is a good place for a tattoo, it can easily be covered up by wearing a watch or a bracelet.
- Back of the neck: very nice spot to have a tattoo in my opinion and one of the less painful places.
- The feet: foot tattoos are getting more and more popular these days. Keep in mind that tattoos on the feet need more care and don't last as long as tattoos on other places. Learn more about them here: Foot tattoos pros and cons
- The shoulder, back or front: also a popular spot. Shoulder tattoos are a great accent when you’re wearing a tank top or halter top in the summer.
- The hip: only shows when you're in your underwear or wearing a bikini.
- The fingers: a small tattoo on one of your fingers can be very elegant.
- The upper arm: very common place to have a tattoo, for women as well as men.
- The side: a tattoo on the side of the body is very popular and usually of the floral or swirly kind.
I personally think it's a good idea to have a tattoo on a place that you can cover up, especially when your work environment is kind of conservative. Keep in mind when choosing a tattoo spot, that some areas of your body will stretch when you get older. This is especially the case after having children. Places sensitive to stretching are your stomach, your breasts and your bum.
Some Original Tattoo Ideas For Girls and Women
The most original tattoo is one that comes from yourself:
Now that you know the most popular feminine tattoos for women, it might be a good idea to deviate from the norm.
Do you want the same design everybody else has? Be original in your choice of tattoo and take or make a design that has a special meaning to you. It pays to be more creative than just going to the tattoo parlor to buy a tattoo design from a book. It's important to make a statement with your tattoo!
Here are some original tattoo ideas for women:
- The female sign is a very powerful symbol and is very cool as a tattoo design (might also be a good tattoo idea for men). It's also the symbol of the planet Venus.
- An "new" old school tattoo: anchor, swallow and cherry tattoos, the Sailor Jerry style of tattoos, were hot in the early years of tattooing and now they are in vogue again. The old school tattoo designs of today are more refined, brighter and have more colors than the originals, thanks to modern tattoo equipment.
- Chinese or Japanese symbols are not really original anymore, but there are other exotic scripts that are very suitable for tattoo designs, like Sanskrit, Hebrew or Tibetan.
- Tribal tattoos: I can hear you thinking: "what is he saying now, everyone and their uncle has a tribal tat ." True, but the modern tribal tattoos that everyone has are designs in the Polynesian style or in the tattoo style from Borneo. There are many other tribes and all of them have their unique style. Have a look at the tattoo designs from the Haida tribe for example, they are more colorful than other tribals and you don't see them nearly as much.
You can find a lot more pictures of feminine tattoos in our Feminine Tattoo Gallery