There was a time when only sailors, bad boys, and ex-military folk would get inked. But now, anyone over the legal age is free to decorate their body with beautiful tattoos. That said, if you're someone who likes to go against the grain, you could get common male tattoo design based on the imagery most often rocked by guys. Maybe you want to celebrate or raise awareness of the fluidity of your gender identity. Maybe you want to eschew nonsensical gender norms. Maybe you just don't believe that anything in this world (tattoos included) should be worn solely by one gender. In any of these cases, such designs might just be for you.
When customizing a stereotypically masculine tattoo, there are many routes you can take: You could add traditionally feminine elements to turn it on its head, introduce comedic themes that are specific to women or feminine people (like menstruation), or base it around your favorite TV show or movie that targets a female demographic. You could even keep it exactly how it is, just to make a strong statement about our society and the boundaries we so often put up against ourselves and others. The possibilities are endless.
Here are 11 tattoo designs often seen on guys, but reclaimed by the ladies. It's time to form your own unique inkspiration.
1. The Boat
Anybody can explore the world these days, no matter their gender. Show off your adventurous spirit with an epic boat tattoo.
2. The Mermaid
Like Sailor Jerry? Like mermaids? This aquatic ink is a match made in heaven for any wannabe sirens.
3. The Koi Carp
If doing things by halves isn't your style, you can opt for a big, bold koi carp like this design to show off your colorful personality.
4. The Big Cat
This lady, who got her first tattoo at age 63, proves that big cat tats can show off a certain feminine fierceness. Especially when they're paired with a beautiful bloom.
5. The Sailor
Ahoy there, sailor! These cutesy sailor and pirate-inspired tattoos feature vintage-esque women, instead of strapping macho men. That makes them perfect for a modern girl who has a passion for all things retro.
6. The Pinup
Who says women can't sport sexy lady tattoos on their bodies? This awesome Velma-inspired ink also makes a pop culture reference.
7. The Sleeve
This beautiful sleeve is the stuff of a Disney fan's wildest dreams.
8. The Dagger
Fancy something a little edgy? Why not choose a stereotypically male sword or dagger design to show that you're a tough cookie?
9. The Dragon
Many fellas who opt for a traditional dragon tattoo choose a majestic, fire-breathing lizard, but there are tons of ways to make this giant reptile design your own. A brood of dragons in flight offers a more magical, fantasy-like style that I'm sure Daenerys would be jealous of.
10. The Knuckle Tattoos
What could be more manly than tattooed knuckles? Instead of rocking the old school "love" and "hate" inked fingers, choose cutesy micro tattoos on your knuckles to give this style a more feminine edge.
11. The Heart Tattoo
Because love knows no boundaries. Especially when it comes to showcasing the fact you're a momma's girl.
Make a traditionally masculine tattoo your own and show it off with pride, smashing the gender binary along the way.
Image: Courtesy dan_m_tattoo/Instagram