I was gifted with Margot Mifflin's excellent book Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo on my birthday last week, and I tore through it yesterday + today. A really compelling read. From the description:
The first history of women's tattoo art, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo is a fascinating excursion into a subculture that dates back to the 19th century. It includes many never-before-seen photos of tattooed women from the last hundred years. Miflin notes that women's interest in tattoo surged in the suffragist '20s and the feminist '70s.Mifflin also recently wrote The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman, which I want to read next... after I get through my current stack of books!
"In this provocative work full of intriguing female characters from tattoo history, Margot Mifflin makes a persuasive case for the tattooed woman as an emblem of female self-expression. A woman getting a tattoo is the opposite of a woman undergoing cosmetic surgery: one carves into her skin her own idiosyncratic identity, the other erases all signs of the self in submission to a commercial 'identity.'" - Susan Faludi