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From ‘tramp stamps’ to traditional sleeves: A feminist autobiographical account of tattoos


Nash, M, From tramp stamps' to traditional sleeves: A feminist autobiographical account of tattoos, Australian Feminist Studies, 33, (97) pp. 362-383. ISSN 0816-4649 (2018) [Refereed Article]

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© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/08164649.2018.1542591


n this article I use a feminist autobiographical approach to present my ‘tattoo narrative’ as a gendered, embodied account in which I map out key moments in my life over two decades through the images inscribed on my skin. Specifically, I examine how my bodily modifications have magnified the social responses to my body as a woman. For example, as a teenager, I acquired a naval piercing and trendy ‘feminine’, discretely located tattoos to satisfy a heterosexual male gaze. In contrast, as a woman in my late thirties, my tattoos satisfy a different purpose. They are larger, bolder, and more ‘masculine’ in line with the evolution of my feminist politics. However, as an academic, the social responses to my tattoos are more complex. In class defined social spaces such as the university where I work, my tattoos cause trouble because they challenge gendered and classed norms for femininity. I conclude by calling for women to engage in autobiographical writing about bodily modification as a critical feminist political act.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:tattoo, feminism, academia, body modification
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nash, M (Associate Professor Meredith Nash)
ID Code:128129
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-09-04
Last Modified:2021-10-28

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