Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, 3rd Ed. [Signed Copy] [paperback]

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by Margot Mifflin

Tattoos / Women's Studies
Paperback
8 x 10 inches
160 pages
200 color photographs
ISBN: 978-1-57687-613-8

Read the New York Times review here.

Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, 3rd Ed. [Signed Copy] [paperback]

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by Margot Mifflin Tattoos / Women's Studies Paperback 8 x 10 inches 160 pages 200 color photographs ISBN: 978-1-57687-613-8 $23.95 | $27.95 CAD

Read the New York Times review here.


Bodies of Subversion was the first history of women's tattoo art when it was first released in 1997, providing a fascinating excursion to a subculture that dates back to the nineteenth-century and including many never-before-seen photos of tattooed women from the last century. This revised and expanded edition remains the only book to chronicle the history of both tattoos on women and female tattooists, and contains all the information and images that made the original edition the primary reference for the history of women and tattoos, including documentation of:
  • Breast cancer survivors of the 90s who tattoo their mastectomy scars as an alternative to reconstructive surgery or prosthetics.
  • The parallel rise of tattooing and cosmetic surgery during the 80s when women tattooists became soul doctors to a nation afflicted with body anxieties.
  • Maud Wagner, the first known woman tattooist, who in 1904 traded a date with her tattooist husband-to-be for an apprenticeship.
  • Victorian society women who wore tattoos as custom couture, including Winston Churchill's mother, who wore a serpent on her wrist.
  • Nineteeth-century sideshow attractions who created fantastic abduction tales in which they claimed to have been forcibly tattooed.
The book contains 50 new photos and FULL COLOR images throughout including newly discovered work by Britain's first female tattooist, Jessie Knight; Janis Joplin's wrist tattoo; and tattooed pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. In addition, the updated 3rd edition boasts an all-new, sleek design; new chapters documenting recent changes to the timeline of female tattooing, including a section on: celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, the most famous tattooist, male or female, in the world; the impact of reality shows on women's tattoo culture; and, therapeutic uses of tattooing for women leaving gangs, prisons, or situations of domestic abuse

"In Bodies of Subversion, Margot Mifflin insightfully chronicles the saga of skin as signage. Through compelling anecdotes and cleverly astute analysis, she shows and tells us new histories about women, tattoos, public pictures, and private parts. It's an indelible account of an indelible piece of cultural history."
—Barbara Kruger, artist



Margot Mifflin writes about women, art, and contemporary culture. She has written for The New York Times, ARTnews, Entertainment Weekly, The Believer, and Salon.com, and she lectures about body modification at colleges, museums, and universities nationally. Mifflin is an associate professor in the English Department of Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and directs the Arts and Culture program at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, where she also teaches. Her book, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman was published by The University of Nebraska in 2009.