Bodies of Subversion 3: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo

Available at: Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


Published in 1997, Bodies of Subversion was the first history of Western women’s tattoo culture, starting in the 1850s. Subsequent editions in 2000 and 2013 added 100 new photos (including Janis Joplin, Natasha Kai, and Margaret Cho) additional historical information, and a chapter on tattooing trends in the new millennium. Of interest: new applications such as therapeutic tattoos used for women coming out of gangs, prisons, and situations of domestic abuse; the impact of reality shows on the industry; a profile of a heavily tattooed Lutheran pastor, new artists from Virginia Elwood to cover artist Roxx; and Shelley Jackson’s “Skin” project — a short story tattooed word by word on people around the globe.

“Perceptive and moving…insinuating and complex….’Bodies of Subversion’ is delicious social history.”
-Dwight Garner, The New York Times  
“In this provocative work full of intriguing female characters from tattoo history, Margot Mifflin makes a persuasive case for the tattooed woman as an emblem of female self-expression.” –Susan Faludi
“More than just a photographic history of this deep subculture. It is a close study of women during a period of historic limitations and social mobility, beginning to break barriers by exploring alternative ideas of beauty and self expression.”-Feministing
“The book is a real page-turner, not only because of Mifflin’s superb research and writing but the photos she chose for the book are simply jaw-dropping.” –Yahoo News
 “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.”
-Grazia (UK)
“Margot Mifflin’s newest edition of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo pays rightful homage to the foremothers of tattoos and highlights modern goddesses.” Inked
“…Essential reading for anyone interested in the subject.”Ed Hardy
“…Insightfully chronicles the saga of skin as signage…” Barbara Kruger