Tattoo Etiquette: Male Tattoo Artists

Hello my darlings!!

In todays tattoo etiquette video I deep dive into a rising problem of male tattoo artists focusing more on a woman’s body when taking videos and photos of their tattoos than the actual tattoos themselves.
I also touch upon the boys club issue within tattooing, history of tattooed women and the on going reputation they have.

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  1. I had a really close friend in hs and she was absolutely drop dead gorgeous. She was no more than 5’ and very tiny frame. We lost touch but I found her again and she got in a relationship shortly after hs with a man easily 2-3x her age. Turns out she got her first tattoo from him. I find it very suspicious and the fact she stoped contact with our friend groups and even her family makes it even more uncomfortable. We’ve tried to help but think there is way more involved than we can even imagine. It’s so sad because she was so smart and so pretty

  2. Yeah that massaging is just weird. Like he is grabbing the ass. What a weirdo. I get the wiping thing artists do and kind of reveal the tattoo. That looks nice. Just randomly grabbing a person's skin is just weird. No matter what body part

  3. When I booked my first tattoo, I requested a female and the tattoo shop messaged me back and recommended I get tattooed by someone in particular who was a male (based on what I was getting, he specialises in that) and I was like ok I guess, but I didnt want a male because of the reputation male tattoo artists have. I went in and it started about 15-20 minutes late because he was finishing up with another client who was female, he was tattooing the side of her thigh and he was completely normal acting and her mum walked in at one point and tbh I felt bad because even when he was with me, he was really nice and professional and I felt bad that I had judged him in my mind instantly just because he was a male tattoo artist.

  4. i am so grateful for my tattoo artists (they are all male) and i only came across very professional and very nice artists but i have heard a lot of stories of male artists being creepy, going so far as to ask for sexual favors instead of money for the payment of a tattoo…

  5. not five minutes ago I saw a short where a guy was working on a girl and she told him he was talented and he said "don't say that it'll go to my head."

    super wholesome, right? well…

    he waits about 30 seconds then feels the need to add "I won't even say which head" and it was such a fucking incel vibe. it was so freaking unprofessional to say that to a half naked woman he has in a compromising position. it went on a bit with him implying things about his dick before she shut him down. she was not amused.

    the stupidest part? I'm pretty sure it was advertising his business.

  6. I got a tattoo at a studio that had undercurrents of sexism. There was loud misogynistic music playing that I had to lay there and listen to for the duration and I sensed that women were objectified and sexualized. I couldn't ask them to change the music without being labeled a "karen" or whatever. The artist was good, but I would never go there again, nor recommend that place to other women. It was uncomfortable.

  7. I have a friend who got a giant thigh piece going down her leg from a male artist one time. She's plus size and so when she went in to get it done the tattoo artists made a comment along the lines of like "you're bigger than I expected," because he made the stencil for someone who was like a size small. While yes, she should have mentioned she had thicker thighs the fact that he had the nerve to even say that to her face was disgusting. The worse thing is that at that time she was new to tattoos, and went to a guy who did black and grey American traditional when she wanted a fine line floral piece, and instead of turning her down he accepted the request. I don't know how she feels about it now but I remember her calling me crying because it didn't look like all the references she sent at all (the tattoo wasn't done bad but def not the right style).

  8. I contacted a local artist a few years ago about a piece he had available on his Instagram. It was quite a big piece and I really liked his work but after a few messages back and forth he ghosted me. I was disappointed at the time but a few months later lots of girls started coming out to say he touched them inappropriately while he was tattooing them and got really pushy with some of them, if you know what I mean. Other tattoo artists in the area who worked with him/knew him were posting about it too, condemning him and apologising if they'd had him in their shop etc. It was a big thing. I don't think there were ever any charges brought against him or anything but he was basically "cancelled" in the local tattoo scene. I feel so bad for the girls who went through that, it's disgusting and totally unacceptable. I hope they're all ok and they don't have lasting trauma from it. It feels a bit inappropriate to say under the circumstances, but I never felt so lucky in my whole life to have been ghosted by a man!

  9. I was once on an international trip alone, and the artist I saw was great during my appointment, but propositioned me over IG a few days later. I called him out on having a girlfriend (who is now/currently his wife) and asked if he treats his male clients this way. He got all butthurt and basically tried to gaslight me like he was being innocent. Whatever, dude, I know what you were doing. Later I was looking at the IG stories for the shop itself, and another tattooer was tattooing the area around a woman's anus (ouch). Whoever was filming came around the partition and literally filmed this woman's butthole and put it on the shops IG stories, when she was bent over in such a way that she couldn't see them coming or give any kind of consent…not that they should have ever put that in their stories anyway.

  10. I have read a lot of tattoo horror stories and the amount of creepy and weird male artists is astounding. Not that the stories of creepy or too touchy-feely female artists are any better.
    Actually, I have a friend who is much more heavily tattooed than me and he has experience/stories about both creepy male and female tattoo artists. He told me that once he got his pecs/chest groped by a female artist because they looked nice and they would fit a cool tattoo, and no he was not getting a chest tattoo. He has also been groped by a male artist, and he told how some male artists talk shit about their other clients.
    Countless stories like these do make me nervous when looking up possible new artists to get tattoos from.

  11. During my first tattoo my tattoo artist commented about how he loved my butt. I won't go into detail on what he said but it was gross, I was half his age and he had a needle in my shoulder blade at the time so I just chuckled along with it. I've never been back since and now have a female artist who I feel much more comfortable with.

  12. You were not overthinking anything. There's a massive power imbalance that makes it more difficult as the client to say no to a tattoo artist. It's their responsibility to understand that they are in a position of control and that many people, with anxiety or without, will not be able to advocate for themselves if something makes them uncomfortable.

  13. I was actually getting work done in a female owned shop a few years ago and she showed me the difference in engagement on photos. A close up shot of the thigh tattoo got 4 likes or something, and the full shot with the rest of her leg and body sitting there got thousands of likes. It was a detailed line and dot work mandala, you needed the close up to see any real part of the tattoo, but it's not what "people" were liking. It was the canvas, not the art. It's disgusting.

    That full body shot of the Eagle leg tattoo is cringe to the max… I wonder if the client even consented to that video being taken or if she agreed to have it posted online. Like yes, you sign a photograph waiver in some shops, but it's still YOUR BODY and you still have final say in what is posted of your body online.

  14. As a apprentice in Canada I've actually experienced the complete opposite. My boss is constantly hit on and 1 woman even took off her top for a wrist tattoo. Idk personally I'd say some female clients are pretty disgusting but that's just my experience in my area

  15. I consider myself very lucky in their sense. I usually see the female artist at the studio I go to since I've always gone to her but sometimes I see one of the guys there and he is always great too.
    Intact in the last session I was there 3 of the artists were tattooing and one of the guys didn't have a client that day so he was looking up weird world records and getting is to all guess what they were.
    One of the funnest sessions I've ever had honestly.

  16. I’m so grateful that I’ve never had anything but good tattoo experiences. I’m fairly tattooed and have been seeing the same artist for almost 10 years. He’s been so awesome the whole time—I’ve gained and lost weight in the years I’ve been seeing him and never once has he commented on my body in any kind of way.

    I acknowledge how lucky I am because there has been a scandal in my area about certain local artists regarding inappropriate comments/activities regarding female clients.

  17. SO thankful my boyfriend isn't one of these kind of tattoo artists – he's so far from the usual "sexualized" trend; he's there for the ART, not the canvas he's tattooing.
    The tattoos that tend to be "risqué" (butt, breasts, sternum, etc.) he's always aware of being respectful towards when sharing images of them… The behavior of these men are just tacky and creepy and uncalled for… Who are they sharing these "sexy" videos for?? Certainly not the clients, lol.

  18. I also wish there was a licencing register thing, there's been a couple tattooist who have been charged in my home city for groping their clients but one has moved city and back tattooing, shame they can't be taken off the list and no longer able to practice tattooing.

  19. I used to work the bar scene and people get gross remarks in that industry as it is but as a tattooed female I would constantly get asked if I was into bdsm and if I was dirty and all sorts of things of those matters which my non tattooed colleagues didn't get asked.

  20. I started getting tattooed in the mid 90s when tattoo shops were all rough dudes and you were expected to be able to take the jokes and comments or you were considered "not cool" or whatever. They also treated their female clients with such open contempt and derision and you felt like you just had to take it. Let me just say that from those experiences I now actively seek out female tattoo artists over male artists because I feel much more comfortable around them. I've never felt that sort of judgment from a female tattoo artist as of yet.

  21. I've met multiple women with half-finished tattoos because the tattoo artist made her uncomfortable or tried to negotiate sex as payment for the work. It's honestly so predatory

  22. And there is a distinct difference between objectifying a woman’s body and empowering a woman’s body through tattooing. There are countless posts on Instagram that are flagged for being “inappropriate” when it shows tattoos on women’s breasts that were meant to be something that was empowering for that person. Not to mention the countless posts that are flagged and taken down that show tattoos that were done over mastectomy scars. Tattoos are meant to be something empowering and uplifting, not objectifying and harmful.

  23. Yesss! I’ve also run into issues of male tattoo artists being very forward and flirty and offering discounts and free tattoos.. seems so sketchy and wrong. If you’re a good artist why are you offering free work? Absurd.

  24. Oh my goodness I am so happy I watched this video To just be aware about these type of situations and if I feel uncomfortable I will let them know because I am very vocal of how I feel!

  25. It is exactly this stuff that makes me refuse to get tattooed by cisgendered men. As a survivor of abuse from several men, the idea of enduring even more abuse while being tattooed by a man that decides that he has some right to my body in absolutely any way makes me so anxious that I want to throw up. I do so much research into the artist and studio before I even consider booking because it is so important for me to feel safe as a disabled and queer person with C-PTSD. I wish it wasn't this way but sadly the industry has these issues, so I will do what I need to do to ensure that I have the absolute best experiences because I adore tattoos so much.

  26. I was having a tattoo done and the conversation turned to tattoo conventions and I said I'd never been to one. The tattooist (who had tattooed me many times) said "I'll take you, we'll have a dirty weekend away!"

  27. So you make a video about shitty behaviour just from men, but insist that no one can comment that they wouldn’t ever act like it? Basically you start off by saying no man can defend themselves or even try to separate themselves from the bad ones. No one is trying to get points by doing the right thing, you are the one on the offense. That’s a shitty take. You can address these issues without immediately discrediting the good ones as people who are just seeking validation or social points.

  28. Especially when going to a new shop or artist, don't go alone. You don't need an entourage but one good friend to watch your back. Just having a friend there can make you safer.

  29. I do not feel comfortable going to a cis straight male tattoo artist, I feel way more comfortable with women. I'm very glad there's a lot more women in the industry lately!

  30. Yes, tattoos can be sexy, and the point of getting them can be to feel sexier but sexualizing your clients is gross not related to the transaction of getting tattooed. It challenges the professionalism aspect of tattooing. Even as an advertisement for your tattoo, Laurens example was perfect, where it's unnecessary to make them nude if it doesn't highlight the tattoo. It may attract eyes away from the tattoo to the client. even if we go into the nitty-gritty of more eyes equating to more clients and etc. It also pushes a culture to objectify women specifically (this can also apply to men being objectified, BUT is less of an epidemic than male-on-female harassment) (again women can be predatory to men, I've been a victim and I have seen it happen to other men but it's not as constant as the harassment I see my female friend go through). And among the tattoo artist community at least the bigger pros frown on that behavior. Not that it stops creepy tattoo artists from being creeps.

  31. Thank you for bringing this up. I just had something similar happen and actually filed a police report because it was such a horrible experience (the guy basically fingered me on the table, sorry if thats tmi). The guy said he had 20+ years experience (lie) and I paid 1600 for a thigh tattoo. I couldn't dispute it, couldn't leave a review because they were taken down, so the only other thing I could do was file a report…. I dont think anything we'll happen but well see, but to pay for SA was an experience i would wish on no one.

    I also didnt feel like I could say no as I didnt know how he had to place his hands and I felt he might sabotage it, and it wasn't until I went to a different artist and they said my tattoo required no inappropriate touching…. dear God.

    Looking back tho, he also has the weird photos…

  32. Even if the woman is consenting to the content, posting it on your professional Instagram profile makes you seem like a creepy person and lest trustworthy to prospective clients

  33. I got tattooed back in the 90s when it was mainly blokes in this profession; when a colleague told me about a new tattooist in town in the early 2000s, I went to book my appointment with her.

    The only reservation I had is I couldn’t see any visible ink on her at time, but she was the better than guy I going to previously and since then, I’ve been tattooed by more women artists than fellas.
    This wasn’t me trying to be a male feminist or ally, I just went to the most suitable artists, who just happened to be women.

    I know this video and comment
    section is for women, so I didn’t know if I’m allowed to comment, but I’m definitely not trying to be a “not all men” guy, just giving a male perspective.

  34. I’m a tattoo artist and I couldn’t agree more with this video. It’s absolutely not okay at any point. It’s an honour and a privilege to tattoo a person. If you lose sight of this at any point then the artist loses any respect they ever had and should be removed from the industry. Thank you again.

  35. What frustrates me about this conversation is the argument over whether sexualizing women's bodies is "appreciating" their beauty (in the artistic sense), or just straight up sexually objectifying and degrading women. If I had a dollar for every time someone confuses objectification as simply admiring a woman's beauty…If it was about the photography and the art (tattoos), why are the poses so overly sexual and lewd? Especially the one where it's a POV like the woman's face could be in someone's lap, and the camera/viewer is looking down on her. Wink, wink… It's just disgusting how casually men sexually exploit and degrade women. And saying "not all men" doesn't solve the problem, you're 100% right and it's frustrating how people try and shut down the conversation with that unhelpful nonsense.

  36. There’s a local artist who’s tattooed my boyfriend a few times, he seems like a nice guy and I’ve considered getting something from him before but his concept images for women are just really unnecessarily sexualised and it’s completely put me off 😬