restricted access “On the book of my body”: Women, Power, and “Tattoo Culture”


This paper offers a feminist perspective, in theory and practice, of “Stories on the Skin: Tattoo Culture at FAU,” a multidisciplinary research and creative project at a South Florida public university. That project has explored and presented tattoos as a shared cultural experience, rather than as a symptom, or a fad. Considering relevant scholarship in various disciplines, tattoo emerges as a repository of memories and a site of affirmations, but also a significant form of creative, embodied self-expression, beyond temporary fashion. Conversely, the practice invites negative stereotyping and diagnostic models of interpretation, and women are especially targeted by these. Proposing a positive value to connecting mind and body, story and skin, through the creative process, the project offers a model of feminist engagement with body politics, and a site for empowerment in the current “war on women.”