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The Girl With The First Tattoo: New Book Shows Tattooed Women Are On The Up

30 January 2013

The first conclusive study of women and tattoos Bodies Of Subversion: A Secret History Of Women And Tattoos by Margot Mifflin has been released, and it shows that love 'em or hate 'em tattoos are on the up. New statistics released last week show that for the first time ever, the number of tattooed women in the US overtook the number of tattooed men, with 23 per cent of women and 19 per cent of men getting inked.

From Chinese good luck symbols to roses on shoulder blades, tattoos are now everywhere you look. But where did the love of body art start? The book reveals that the first white woman to ever get inked was Olive Oatman back in 1958. ‘She was raised by Mohave Indians after her family was killed on a trip from West Illinois,’ Margot Mifflin exclusively tells us in the new issue of Grazia (out now). ‘The tribe tattooed lines on to her chin, because they believed it would ensure her passage to the afterlife.’ She kick-started a trend and women started being tattooed. Read on for more fascinating facts about the history of tattoos and pick up the latest issue for more from Margot.

5 facts about women and tattoos


1. In the last decade, the number of tattoo parlours in Britain has doubled; it’s thought more than 20 million people in the UK now have one.

2. In the 19th century, society women were secretly getting tattooed and Queen Victoria was rumoured to have a tattoo of a Bengal tiger fighting with a python

3. Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie, had a snake tattooed around her wrist

4. The first female British tattooist Justine Knight opened for business in 1921

5. Tattoos received a revival in the 70s with the feminist movement

Read the full feature 'The Girl With The First Tattoo' in this week's issue of Grazia by Zoe Beaty

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