The Surprising History of Women’s Tattoos

Circuses and sideshows may not seem like obvious places to look for stories of female empowerment, but experts say the performers who appeared in such acts played a surprising and important role in women’s history – in large part thanks to their tattoos.

The height of sideshow and circus popularity in the mid–19th century came at a time when women had few opportunities for economic independence, and providing for families was largely a man’s job. Not so for the female sideshow performers, many of whom capitalized on the fascination with body art by voluntarily tattooing themselves, enabling them to make their own money… read more >

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