Tattoos no longer taboo for women

Brittany McMillan, 23, a Sunnybrook Hospital nurse, gets tattoed at Yonge Street Tattoos. Melesa Narain.

Melesa Narain
Life Reporter

Women are becoming confident in revealing their body art as society has become more accepting of tattoos.

Teneke Baptiste, 23, a second-year tourism management student at Humber, has three tattoos.

“People are shocked because I don’t look like the type of person to have tattoos, and where my tattoos are placed, nobody really notices that they’re there,” she said.

One of her pieces is a memorial to her grandmother, another is of a Hawaiian flower with a music note and the third is of a butterfly with the words “Beautiful Dreamer” underneath.

While Baptiste said she’s comfortable with her tattoos, it hasn’t been long since tattoos were still considered taboo for women.

“Back then it was kind of a boys’ club; it was pretty hard to be taken seriously, but I was persistent,” said Pauline Zahalan, Yonge Street Tattoos owner and artist.

The 54-year-old, who has owned Toronto’s first women-owned tattoo shop for 13 years now, said tattoos used to be associated with the navy, prisoners and circus performers.

Allesha Stankoveic, 23, a spa management student, said, “Women have a certain respect level and dignity. They’re mothers, grandmothers and caregivers, so if you have a tattoo, it makes you look like you’re more rough around the edges and women are supposed to be gentle.”

But with tattoos being seen more in the media, North American culture is finally learning to accept them.

Zahalan said television shows like Miami Ink and L.A. Ink are beginning to make tattoos popular and trendy, and with celebrities like Kat Von D and Angelina Jolie having tattoos, it gives women more confidence to go ahead with it.

“As the generations continue, every tattoo comes with a story and it has a piece of your identity, so it’s just a way of showing who you are and it doesn’t look so threatening anymore,” said Stankoveic.

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